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The 1960s marked a period of civil rights that were expanded in the 1970s. However, in the late 1980s, these efforts seemed to take a different direction, with a more conservative Supreme Court.
Given the current composition of the Supreme Court:
Do you think civil rights continue to be reversed or expanded for certain groups? Support your claim with evidence from the scholarly or research literature.
Which groups may benefit from the current Supreme Court, and which groups may suffer? You may have to review current events to answer this part of the question.
Identify two different groups whose civil rights are suffering current infringement but may not be receiving public attention.
How does the NASW Policy Statement on Civil Liberties and Social Justice address these discrimination and equity issues?
Respond to at least two of your peers and comment on any similarities or differences of analysis you may have.
Be sure to find current scholarly literature to support your discussions this week.
Regarding “suffering current infringement,” if you sense an infringement feel free to discuss it, if you do not, there is no pressure to mention one.
Have a great week!
Please Answer to Peer #1 Lilian
The Supreme Court plays a very important role in our constitutional system of government. First, as the highest court in the land, it is the court of last resort for those looking for justice (United States Court, (n.d.)). Second, due to its power of judicial review, it plays an essential role in ensuring that each branch of government recognizes the limits of its own power (United States Court, (n.d.)). Third, it protects civil rights and liberties by striking down laws that violate the Constitution (United States Court, (n.d.)). Finally, it sets appropriate limits on democratic government by ensuring that popular majorities cannot pass laws that harm and/or take undue advantage of unpopular minorities (United States Court, (n.d.)). In essence, it serves to ensure that the changing views of a majority do not undermine the fundamental values common to all Americans, i.e., freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and due process of law (United States Court, (n.d.)).
Jesse, S., Malhotra,. N, & Sen, M. (2022), discussed their results of a long-view examination of the questions “Does this mean that the court is now out of step with public opinion? If so, by how much?” after reviewing over the significant changes the Supreme Court and its ruling has undergone over the last decade. They do this by leveraging a unique set of three surveys taken over 12 y (in 2010, 2020, and 2021) that ask respondents their opinions on the actual policy questions before the court (Jessee, S., Malhotra, N., & Sen, M., 2022). According to their findings, the empirical fact that the court’s rulings were once like the preferences of the average American but are now more conservative than the preferences of the majority of Americans (Jessee, S., Malhotra, N., & Sen, M., 2022). They also found that beliefs and expectations about the legitimacy of the court and its role in American democracy and how the court will rule fluctuate remarkably. In summary, there was no meaningful change in the court’s ideological position relative to that of the general public, and relative to those of Republicans and Democrats, between 2010 and 2020, despite Roberts replacing Kennedy as the court’s median voter (Jessee, S., Malhotra, N., & Sen, M., 2022). There was, however, a sharp shift when Kavanaugh replaced Roberts as the court’s median in 2021, with the court moving away from the general public to correspond almost exactly to the ideological position of the average Republican voter (Jessee, S., Malhotra, N., & Sen, M., 2022).
Based on the above paragraphs I would say that civil rights will always fluctuate between reversal & expansion depending on who sits in the seat of the Justices on the Supreme Court. I would also say that based off a recent article I found on voting rights – the people groups that may benefit/suffer by the decisions made by the current Supreme Court are still the minority people groups – African Americans, Hispanic/ Latino, Asian, American Indian (Fritze, J., 2023).
As I stated in our first prompt of the week according to the NASW has 5 set social justice priorities to address which are voting rights, criminal justice reforms, juvenile justice, immigration reform and economic justice and equity (NASW, (n.d.). In this set of social justice priorities there are four sub-priorities – health and behavioral health equity, racial and population-based discrimination, matters involving courts such as U.S. Supreme Court and federal judge nominations and environmental justice (NASW, (n.d.). They make sure that we as – soon-to-be, current, or previously social workers are in the know in order to serve our clients the best way possible while alerting us to any discriminatory or equity issues our clients in minority groups might be up against in 2023.
I will say that I am not well versed in politics because it is not how my brain is wired to think about things, so this course is challenging me to learn more!
Fritze, J. (2023, June 28). The Supreme Court is unexpectedly siding with voting rights groups. Is that the new norm? USA Today. Retrieved August 29, 2023, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/06/28/supreme-court-voting-elections-independent-state-legislature-alabama-redistricting/70361884007/
Jessee, S., Malhotra, N., & Sen, M. (2022). A decade-long longitudinal survey shows that the Supreme Court is now much more conservative than the public. PNAS, 119(24). https://doi.org/e2120284119
NASW (n.d.). Social Justice Brief. Retrieved August 29, 2023, from https://www.socialworkers.org/advocacy/social-justice/social-justice-issue-briefs
United States Courts (n.d.). About the Supreme Court. Retrieved August 29, 2023, from https://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/about.