October 4, 2021

ACS’s Statement on First Day of Historic & Consequential New SCOTUS Term


Contact: Pablo Willis, pwillis@acslaw.org   

Washington, DC Today, the Supreme Court starts its new Term, in which the high court will hear a slate of cases that could have a major impact on all Americans.  

“Today, the Justices return to the bench for what will surely be a consequential and potentially perilous Supreme Court Term. On the line this Term are reproductive rights, the ability of states to enact meaningful gun safety measures, workers’ rights, and the separation of church and state,” said Russ Feingold, President of the American Constitution Society (ACS).  

Among the many critical cases ACS will be following are:    

  • Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “This Term, the Court will revisit the central holding of Roe v. Wade, and with it nearly 50 years of precedent protecting reproductive rights,” said ACS Director of Policy & Program Lindsay Langholz. “For over a month, Texans have been denied their right to abortion care because of a calculated decision by the Supreme Court to stand aside while bounty hunters enforce a blatantly unconstitutional law. Now, millions more may lose access to essential healthcare.”   


  • NYSRPA v. Bruen. “The outcome in Bruen will determine whether cities and states will continue to have the tools available to effectively combat gun violence,” said ACS Senior Director of Policy & Program Christopher Wright Durocher. “At a time when the United States is already experiencing a surge in gun violence, it’s inconceivable that the Court is being asked to find common, longstanding gun violence prevention regulations unconstitutional based on a radically ahistorical application of the Second Amendment and a misreading of its own recent precedent in Heller.”   


  • US v. Zubaydah will be the first time the Court directly considers the doctrine of state secrets in over a decade. The case concerns a Guantanamo Bay detainee who was tortured at the hands of the CIA.  Although the facts of his torture are known and the European Court on Human Rights has already determined that Zubaydah was detained and tortured at a CIA black site in Poland, the Court will nonetheless decide whether these facts are “state secrets” and therefore cannot be officially disclosed.. “This is the first time in a decade that the Supreme Court will hear one case, let alone two cases, on the state secrets privilege,” said ACS Director of Policy & Program Debra Perlin. “How the Court approaches these cases, and how much deference it gives to the U.S. government to determine on its own what if anything it should disclosure, will tell us a lot about the Court’s willingness to protect fundamental liberties in the face of executive power.”    


Throughout the Term, ACS experts will provide analyses and commentary on a number of critical cases.  

“The Court’s decisions in the coming months are likely to have lasting implications for constitutional rights in this country for generations to come. Additionally, the Court’s own legitimacy is on the line,” said Feingold. “In recent months, the Court has shown a callous disregard for constitutional rights and judicial norms, underscoring the need for Supreme Court reform. ACS will be vigilant and engaged during this consequential term as we see if this Court, and its conservative supermajority, serve its proper role in our constitutional scheme  or continues to choose an activist political agenda over constitutional rights and democratic principles.”      



ACS believes that the Constitution is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” We interpret the Constitution based on its text and against the backdrop of history and lived experience. Through a diverse nationwide network of progressive lawyers, law students, judges, scholars, and many others, we work to uphold the Constitution in the 21st Century by ensuring that law is a force for protecting our democracy and the public interest and for improving people’s lives. For more information, visit us at www.acslaw.org or on Twitter @acslaw.