Case Study US supreme court in ‘crisis of legitimacy

 2023 criticism of the Supreme Court prompted the court to adopt its first code of ethics, but it lacks any form of enforcement. Meanwhile, public confidence in the court has plummeted to near-historic lows. “The highest court in the land today has the lowest ethical standards,” said Jamie Raskin, a Democratic congressman from Maryland, and the ranking member of the House oversight committee 

Democrats have introduced  bills such as one to establish an independent ethics office and internal investigations counsel within the supreme court. Other ideas include limiting the justices to 18 year-terms rather than lifetime appointments and expanding the seats on the court. But reforms are unlikely to happen without Republicans, who have spent decades building the court’s conservative majority. South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, the top-ranking Republican on the Senate judiciary committee, said that he will block Democrats’ attempts to pass an ethics bill to rein in the US Supreme Court.

Graham told NBC News that he “will object” to the bill on Wednesday, meaning it will not move forward on its legislative journey.

The Supreme Court released a batch of far-reaching rulings striking down affirmative action in colleges, LBGTQ+ rights and Joe Biden’s student loan relief program. 

The Supreme Court ruled against the Biden administration’s $430bn student debt forgiveness plan in a blow to up to 40 million borrowers in the US. In a 6-3 decision, the conservative-leaning supermajority of justices ruled that the 2003 Heroes Act, passed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the US, does not authorize Biden’s debt forgiveness plan. The law gave the secretary of education authority to make changes to any provision of applicable student aid program laws in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the US. The decision strikes down a major tenet of the Biden administration’s program, with the 2024 election quickly approaching.

 In  a 6 to 3 ruling, they slashed to the ground anti-discrimination protections to allow a devout Christian web designer to turn away same-sex couples. In 303 Creative LLC v Elenis, which deals with a challenge to a Colorado law prohibiting public-serving businesses from discriminating against gay people as well as any statements announcing such a policy. 

Following their historic overturning of Roe v Wade the six rightwing justices – three appointed by Trump – 6 to 3 ruling barring affirmative action at Harvard and the University of North Carolina will affect virtually every selective higher education institution in the US, with potential ramifications far beyond. 

“They are expanding their role into acting as though they are Congress itself. And that, I believe, is an expansion of power that we really must be focusing on, the danger of this court and the abuse of power.” Elena Kagan

Lobbying the Court: 

10th June 2024 The Supreme Court issued a report in response to a petition from fossil fuel companies  The high court receives thousands of petitions each year, giving each one only a small chance of being reviewed. But in recent weeks, rightwing fossil fuel allies have pushed the justices to take up oil companies’ request using a variety of media sources to mount a campaign to thwart litigation that could cost them billions of dollars. Some of the groups behind the pressure campaign – which experts say is unprecedented – are connected to far-right supreme court architect Leonard Leo, who co-chairs the ultraconservative legal advocacy group the Federalist Society. 

The one-line order will delay the litigation from advancing to trial. 

“Big oil companies are fighting desperately to avoid trial in lawsuits like Honolulu’s, which would expose the evidence of the fossil fuel industry’s climate lies for the entire world to see,” said Richard Wiles, president of the non-profit Center for Climate Integrity, which supports climate accountability litigation.

Honolulu is one of dozens of cities and states to sue oil majors for allegedly hiding the dangers of their products from the public. In October, Hawaii’s supreme court ruled that the suit can go to trial.