April 29, 2022 | OPINION | By Crosby Williams | Illustration by Iris Guo

The Roberts Court is dead. Chief Justice John Roberts has long been able to control the Court and its rulings, but with six conservative justices, Roberts’s vote will no longer be the deciding factor. The new Court will start its reign when it takes the first step to overturning Roe v. Wade by upholding the Mississippi abortion law, which it is expected to do.

The conservative majority is moving the country towards an understanding of the Constitution where abortion is not a protected right. Additionally, another case involving the separation of church and state seeks to set a new precedent.

There are cases concerning both of the mentioned issues being decided before the Court right now. The abortion case concerns whether Mississippi’s law outlawing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy is constitutional. Conservatives have been waiting for a long time to overturn Roe v. Wade, and this is a first step towards making that a reality.

In ruling with Mississippi, the Court would disregard the precedent that was set by Roe v. Wade which was reaffirmed in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. This indifference to overturning a precedent that has been set and reaffirmed shows how politically motivated the court can be in today’s age.

The case concerning the separation of church and state asks whether it is Constitutional for the football coach of a public high school to pray on the 50-yard line of a football field. The decision could dramatically change (and potentially lower) the barrier between church and state. While this relationship is not mentioned explicitly in the Constitution, the Establishment Clause in the 1st Amendment does state “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” The decision of this case could take a step towards decreasing the separation between church and state.

The Supreme Court is set to make major decisions in the coming months that will affect the entire country. These decisions will be controversial and will more than likely be conservative. The American people need to push their representatives towards enacting Supreme Court reform. It is time for life tenure to come to an end and for term limits to be imposed on the Justices. They need to be held accountable for the decisions that they make and cannot be allowed to sit on the Court for life.

The Court needs to move into the modern age, or it will continue to lose credibility. The death of the Roberts Court makes this change only more necessary. Chief Justice Roberts understood the Court and kept it from making rash decisions such as overturning Roe v. Wade. However, now that he has lost control, the Legislative Branch must step in and once again balance the scales through legislative reform. If the Court shows that it will disregard precedent that has been set and reaffirmed, then it is another reason to hold Justices accountable by altering the Court in some way.

The time for change is now and it must be enacted. The likely overturning of Roe v. Wade needs to be a wake-up call. The Court must be reformed.

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