Turley: 2022 poised to be blockbuster year at US Supreme Court

The new year is barely underway, but serious Supreme Court watchers such as George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley suggest that 2022 already has the makings of a truly blockbuster stretch when it comes to the significance of the cases to be heard.

Writing in The Hill, Turley lists gun rights, abortion, vaccine mandates, and separation of powers concerns as some of the issues on which potentially seismic rulings may be handed down, despite the fact that the high court has historically erred on the side of caution when choosing the cases it will hear in election years.

One of the most hotly anticipated decisions expected from the justices this year is that in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a controversy in which the panel will decide whether to uphold a Mississippi ban on abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation, or perhaps even overturn the landmark case of Roe v. Wade in its entirety.

In the realm of racial preferences in higher education, the court is poised to rule in the case of Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, perhaps finally untangling the long threat of inconsistent problematic jurisprudence that has saddled the college admissions process for decades.

Joining the marquee matters to be decided by the court this year is the recently-accepted matter of whether the federal government has the authority to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for vast swaths of the population.

Oral arguments on the mandate applicable to private enterprises employing 100 or more individuals as well as the one requiring jabs for workers at healthcare facilities receiving Medicare and Medicaid funds will be heard on Jan. 7.

The court will weigh in on these and other hot-button issues amid threats of “consequences” against justices who do not fall in line with progressive priorities as well as increased calls from the left to pack the court with jurists they believe are ideologically pure, as Turley notes.

In the professor’s estimation, however, the justices themselves have gone to great lengths in recent months to counter allegations that they sit on a biased or unduly conservative-leaning court and that the popularity of Chief Justice John Roberts could cause those complaints to fall on deaf ears.

Regardless of where the justices ultimately come down on any of these high-profile cases, there can be little doubt that this really will be a Supreme Court term for the history books and one that will be closely scrutinized for years to come.