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High Court Curves In Conservative Direction

Publication Date: 
June 30, 2009
USA Today
Joan Biskupic

Professor Pamela Karlan is quoted in USA Today about the end of this year's Supreme Court Term and the direction the Court is moving. Joan Biskupic reports:

In the term that ended Monday, the Supreme Court shifted more to the right, making it harder for people to bring civil rights claims, rejecting challenges by environmentalists and raising the standard for older workers alleging bias on the job.

One of its more consequential decisions came on the last day of the term, when the justices imposed a new hurdle for employers trying to scrap tests and other seemingly neutral practices that favor whites at the expense of racial minorities, or men at the expense of women.

Even in the cases where the Roberts Court did not rule as conservatively as expected, it trimmed legal remedies. Although a recent ruling said school officials' strip search of an eighth-grade girl violated her rights, the majority nonetheless decided she could not obtain money damages because the officials made a good-faith mistake about the law. Though the court spurned a constitutional challenge to the landmark Voting Rights Act, it created an opportunity for counties and other political entities to get out from under federal scrutiny of their election laws.


"The Roberts Court (has shown) a desire to close the courthouse door," said Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan, who noted that the court boosted the requirements in early litigation stages for people alleging a range of civil rights violations.