Distinguished legal scholars Erwin Chemerinsky and Frederick Lawrence discuss the big rulings of the Supreme Court’s 2013-2014 term, in a talk with the Anti-Defamation League’s Civil Rights Director, Deborah Lauter.
Chemerinsky and Lawrence spoke at length about clashes between the First Amendment and reproductive rights, prayer before legislative meetings, and state bans on affirmative action.
Chemerinsky noted that while Justice Anthony Kennedy was again the most influential Justice in the Court’s majority decisions, more than 60 percent of the cases ended in unanimous decisions. He argued that the large number of unanimous decisions was an “anomaly” and the Justices still has their ideological differences.
Lawrence also remarked that the ideological split was “troublesome,” particularly in the Town of Greece v. Galloway public prayer decision.
The Hobby Lobby decision also drew criticism from Chemerinsky, who saw the Court’s decision as “opening the doors to a tremendous amount of litigation.”
Lawrence argued that the Court’s Hobby Lobby decision “gives rise to a whole set of cases with unintended consequences” that could ultimate limit some religious liberties.
And Chemerinsky also pointed out the historical significance of the Court’s decisions in the cellphone privacy cases.
They also analyzed the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that desegregated public schools.
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