The most important Supreme Court decisions handed down in 2022


The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade and eliminating the nation’s right to abortion dominated one of the court’s most prominent terms. The emboldened Conservative 6-3 majority, with three President Donald Trump nominees, wasted no time in expanding the rights of gun owners to carry guns in public, reinforcing the role of religion in public life and drastically reduce the power of the Biden administration to fight climate change. .


How often each judge was

in the majority compared to

the previous term

The most important Supreme Court decisions handed down in 2022

How often did each judge have a majority over

the previous term

The unprecedented leak of a draft majority opinion to be reversed deer in May rocked a court already grappling with highly controversial cases and facing intense public pressure. Protesters demonstrate outside the homes of judges, while the courthouse is closed to the public and surrounded by a high-security fence. A California man has been accused of planning to kill Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh and the House committee investigating the January 6 attack on the Capitol is seeking to interview Judge Clarence Thomas’ wife.

Abortion

June 24, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (6-3)

6-3 | June 24

dissident

joined the majority

The justices voted 6 to 3 to enforce a restrictive Mississippi abortion law. In the most consequential part of the decision, John G. Roberts Jr. did not join the majority opinion in eliminating the fundamental right to abortion established nearly 50 years ago in deer. The outcome was telegraphed in the leaked draft, but the final decision immediately reshaped the political landscape and paved the way for states to ban or severely limit access to abortion.

Second Amendment

June 23, New York State Rifles and Pistols Association. vs. Brun. (6-3)

6-3 | June 23

In the first major Second Amendment ruling in more than a decade, the court said law-abiding Americans have the right to carry handguns outside the home for self-defense. The majority opinion, authored by Thomas, struck down a longstanding New York law requiring a special need to carry a weapon and jeopardizes similar laws in Maryland, California, New Jersey, Hawaii and Massachusetts.

Climate change

June 30th, West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (6-3)

6-3 | June 30th

The court struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to cut carbon output from existing power plans, dealing a blow to the Biden administration’s plans to tackle climate change. The move risks pushing the United States even further away from the president’s goal of running the national electric grid on clean energy by 2035.

Immigration

June 30th, Biden vs. Texas (5-4)

5-4 | June 30th

The Biden administration has the power to reverse a Trump-era policy that requires asylum seekers to stay in Mexico while their cases are heard in US courts, the majority said. Roberts and Kavanaugh joined the three liberal justices on the court in saying that federal immigration law gives the executive discretion.

Covid mandates and vaccines

January 13, National Federation of Independent Businesses c. Department of Labor (6-3)

6-3 | January 13

The court blocked the Biden administration’s vaccination or testing requirement for the nation’s largest employers, a blow to the president’s signature initiative to curb the coronavirus and boost the nation’s vaccination rate. The court generally supported states’ pandemic initiatives, but said the federal government lacked the authority to impose sweeping requirements on workplaces nationwide.

Biden vs. Missouri

January 13, Biden vs. Missouri (5-4)

5-4 | January 13

In a separate case, the court authorized a different policy requiring covid vaccinations for most healthcare workers at facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funds. Federal law, the court said, gives the secretary of health and human services responsibility for protecting patient safety and controlling the spread of infectious diseases.

Separation of Church and State

June 23, Carson v. Makin (6-3)

6-3 | June 23

The court’s conservative majority struck down a Maine tuition program, ruling that the state cannot bar religious schools from receiving public grants given to other private schools. Roberts, writing for the Majority, said the tuition program “promotes a stricter separation of church and state” than the constitution requires.

prayer at school

June 27, Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (6-3)

6-3 | June 27

The court sided with a former high school football coach who was fired after leading postgame prayers at the 50-yard line. Neil M. Gorsuch, writing for the Conservative Majority, said the coach’s prayers at the public school event were protected by the Constitution’s guarantees of free speech and religious exercise and not did not violate the government’s ban on religious endorsement.

Guantánamo Bay and State Secrets

3rd of March, United States vs. Zubaydah (7-2)

7-2 | 3rd of March

Court rules ‘state secrets’ doctrine prevents Guantánamo Bay detainee from questioning two former CIA contractors about abusive treatment he suffered at ‘black site’ facility in Poland . Stephen G. Breyer, writing for a busted tribunal, said that just because many of the details of Abu Zubaida’s detention and treatment are public does not mean the government should be forced to release them.

Death penalty and religion

March 24, Ramirez v. Collier (8-1)

8-1 | March 24

A death row inmate has the right to be touched by his pastor and pray aloud at the time of his execution, the court has heard. Roberts said the inmate’s religious rights were protected by federal law and that state officials should be able to accommodate his requests for “laying on of hands” by his pastor without interfering with the lethal injection process.

Public display of religion

May 2nd, Shurtleff v. Boston (9-0)

9-0 | May 2nd

In a unanimous decision, the court said it was unconstitutional for the City of Boston to deny a ceremonial mayoral flag-raising request from a Christian group when it had never refused any other organization. The court rejected the city’s argument that its flag-raising program in a plaza outside Boston City Hall was a form of government speech and said the rejection of the Christian flag violated the First Amendment protection of free speech.

Indian law

June 29, Oklahoma vs. Castro-Huerta (5-4)

5-4 | June 29

The majority sided with Oklahoma, saying state officials have the power to prosecute non-Indians for crimes against Native Americans on a tribal reservation. The ruling, criticized by tribal leaders, limits the scope of a 2020 ruling that reclassified about 40% of Oklahoma, including the city of Tulsa, as Indian land and transferred some criminal prosecutions to tribal courts and federal.

About this story

Frequency in majority SCOTUSblog data. The order of judges in the charts was determined by a measure of voting records called Martin-Quinn scores. The scores place Supreme Court justices on a left-right scale based on how often they vote with each other.

Robert Barnes contributed to this report.

Illustrated by Shelly Tan.


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