US obsessions in the United States Supreme Court

Before December, judges will have debated the rights of the LGBT community, the carrying of arms, abortion, religious freedom and immigration before giving an opinion in June, in the heart of the presidential campaign.

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Demonstration to defend the rights of the LGBT community before the Supreme Court in Washington, October 8. TASOS KATOPODIS / AFP


A typical sounding board for the evolutions of American society, the Supreme Court of the United States posts for its autumn session a particularly political program, chaining the most divisive subjects in public opinion.

Rights of homosexuals and transsexuals, regulation on arms, religious freedom, abortion, immigration: all the obsessions of the country will be swept by the nine judges in the coming weeks.

The opinions will all be delivered in June 2020, in the heart of the campaign for the November presidential election, which is playing for many, including Republican side, on issues of identity and culture.

This calendar will not fail to exacerbate future debates, even if the Court does not advocate any politicization. The stakes are unprecedented since Donald Trump's appointment of two Conservative judges, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh; last year, the Court had to rule only on less sensitive cases.

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Dreamers, targets of Trump

The first topic discussed in early October was the recognition of discrimination against the LGBT community in the workplace. The question was raised by a man who became a woman and was fired by his employer, a funeral home, at the announcement of his transition. She was joined by two homosexuals – a legal adviser for children in difficulty and a skydiving instructor – who they say thanked for their assertion of their sexual orientation.

Judges will have to decide whether the federal civil rights law of 1964, which made discrimination based on "Race, color, religion, sex, or national origin", can apply to homosexuals and transgender people. The interpretation of this text, which is more than 50 years old, will have to determine whether the notion of "sex" understood as the definition of a man and a woman should be extended to sexual identity and sexual orientation. About twenty states have already adopted this extensive reading of the law. But some conservative judges have expressed fears about what they think will be "A huge social upheaval".

Read also US Supreme Court to address discrimination against gay and transgender people

In November, the fate of the 800,000 "Dreamers", these young people who arrived illegally in the United States as children, will be discussed. Protected by a special status preventing their expulsion from the territory under the Obama administration, they have been the target of Donald Trump since his arrival at the White House. All parties combined, public opinion is largely overwhelmingly favorable to these young people can accede to US citizenship.


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