US Supreme Court passes series of controversial laws
The US Supreme Court has take on a conservative tangent, passing a list of controversial laws that drew the ire of millions of Americans, from race, to finance, to LGBT.
The US Supreme Court kicked off the weekend with some bad news for many Americans, going on a Conservative tangent by canceling many liberal and "progressive" policies that the country had fought tooth and nail to pass before, including on minorities, LGBTQ, and student loan forgiveness.
The court banned universities from giving minorities priority in admissions, said business owners could refuse to serve gay couples due to religion, and also halted the plans to cancel hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt.
The decisions were the court's last for the 2022-2023 term, with its six conservatives reigning supreme over the remaining three liberals, drawing criticism from the American left and causing celebrations among the right.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Friday he has "never been prouder of Roberts Court. The Supreme Court is truly standing up for individual constitutional rights and limited government."
Biden, however, was quick to condemn the decisions, saying the bod was "not a normal court" and highlighting that the decisions caused millions to "feel disappointed and discouraged."
Moreover, the leader accused the court of misinterpreting the Constitution after it claimed that the decisions were backed by the Constitution's provision of guarantees about free speech, particularly in the case of one Colorado graphic designer, who refused to design a website for a same-sex couple.
The court argued in favor of the web designer, saying it was within her right to refuse to design a website for a same-sex couple over her Christian beliefs, underlining that she could not be forced to create products effectively forcing her to say things she did not agree with.
Reportedly, the decision focused on a limited category of commercial activities, such as content creation, though it added to a series of pro-conservative decisions taken by the court as the remainder of Americans remain unable to do much.
The affair was dubbed a "major victory for free speech and religious liberty" by Republican Senator Josh Hawley.
Critics, meanwhile, dubbed it "a shocking erosion of anti-discrimination laws, opening the door for business owners generally to discriminate against customers who don't fit their moral or social belief set."
"Today, the Court, for the first time in its history, grants a business open to the public a constitutional right to refuse to serve members of a protected class," Sonia Sotomayor, one of the court's liberal justices, wrote.
The court is one "that is out of touch with the supermajority of Americans," she added.
No debt relief
Moreover, the court went against Joe Bidens's plans for student debt relief, which would have manifested in a program to cancel more than $400 billion worth of student debt.
The body argued that the large sum meant Biden was well above his powers.
Republicans see the bid as politically-motivated, therefore they struck it down and said there was no justification for such plans.
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell called it the "student loan socialism plan" which he said would "pad the pockets" of Biden's rich supporters.
"Republican officials just couldn't bear the thought of providing relief for working-class, middle-class Americans," Biden hit back. "The court's decision to strike down my student debt relief program was a mistake, was wrong."
The President vowed to repackage his student loan relief program, underlining that he would use "every tool at our disposal" to implement the plan.
He underlined that the affair was good for both the economy and the country.
A federal judge in Texas ruled in 2022 that the plan exceeded the authority of Biden in the case brought by borrowers like Alexander Taylor and Myra Brown; the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which has its headquarters in New Orleans, declined to stay the decision pending an appeal.
As a rebuttal, Biden's administration claimed that the program was permitted by a 2003 Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act, or HEROES Act, which gives the US education secretary the authority to "waive or modify" student financial assistance in times of war or other national emergencies.
In order to regularly delay student loan payments and stop interest from piling during the Covid-19 pandemic, both Democratic Vice President Joe Biden and his Republican predecessor Donald Trump used the HEROES Act beginning in 2020.
Meanwhile, a federal judge in Missouri determined in October 2022 that the states lacked the legal standing to sue in response to their legal challenge. At least one of the states, Missouri, had the right standing, according to the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which has its headquarters in St. Louis.
According to a March Reuters/Ipsos poll, 53% of Americans support Biden's debt relief plan, while 45% oppose it. Respondents were starkly divided along partisan lines, with Democrats mainly in favor and Republicans generally against.
The proposal would have seen the government cancel up to $10,000 in federal student debt for those earning less than $125,000 who took out loans to pay for college or other post-secondary education, as well as $20,000 for Pell Grant awardees who come from lower-income families and attended post-secondary institutions.
Race-based admissions out the window
Finally, the Supreme Court overturned years of precedent to rule that universities and colleges could no longer consider race or ethnicity as factors when they select their students.
The conservative majority said the practice of affirmative action is discriminatory instead of it being a tool for ensuring diversity and enhancing educational opportunities for Blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities.
Ruling against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, Roberts wrote in the majority opinion, "The student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual - not on the basis of race."
"The Supreme Court ruling has put a giant roadblock in our country's march toward racial justice. The consequences of this decision will be felt immediately and across the country, as students of color will face an admission cycle next year with fewer opportunities to attend the same colleges and universities than their parents and older siblings," said Democratic Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer.
"There is no place for discrimination based on race in the United States, and I am pleased that the Supreme Court has put an end to this egregious violation of civil and constitutional rights in admissions processes, which only served to perpetuate racism," said Republican presidential candidate Mike Pence, largely in favor of the ruling.
Biden said he strongly disagreed with the ruling, underlining that it "rolls back decades of precedent."
Before ranting against legacy admissions practices that favor typically rich applicants whose family members had previously attended a school, he attempted to dispel the claim that race was permitting unworthy individuals to get admittance to colleges.
Legacy policies, "expand privilege rather than opportunity," he said. "Remember that diversity is our strength [...] we cannot let this decision be the last word."