Reasonable minds can differ about the most regressive opinions of the Roberts Court. But here are the decisions that should make any court-watcher’s list.

Crawford v. Marion County (2008): Paving the way for other voter suppression techniques, the court upheld an Indiana law requiring all in-person voters to present a photo ID issued either by the state or the federal government. 

District of Columbia v. Heller (2008): Declaring for the first time that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to bear arms.

Citizens United v. FEC (2010): Overturning a century of campaign finance law and sparking the growth of super PACs, the court held that corporations, unions and other groups could spend unlimited money on elections.

AT&T Mobility v. Conception (2011): Holding that federal law preempts California’s limits on forced arbitration, making it much harder for consumers to file class action lawsuits against corporations. 

Arizona Free Enterprise Club v. Bennett (2011): The court struck down an Arizona law that provided matching funds to candidates based on the money raised by their opponents.

Shelby County v. Holder (2013): The court gutted the “preclearance provisions” of the Voting Rights Act, which required advance federal approval of changes to election procedures in jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination. 

Clapper v. Amnesty International (2013): U.S. human rights activists had no standing to challenge government surveillance of their communications with persons located abroad.

McCutchen v. FEC (2014): In a follow-up to the Citizens United case, the court invalidated limits placed on the aggregate amount of money individuals can donate directly to political candidates during any two-year election cycle. 

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores (2014): Exempting “closely held” corporations with religious objections from the Affordable Care Act’s provisions requiring employers to provide workers with health care insurance coverage of contraceptives.

Glossip v. Gross (2015): In a disheartening decision for opponents of the death penalty, the court held that the Eighth Amendment does not require that a method of execution be pain free. 

Trump v. Hawaii (2018): Yielding to the Trump administration’s bigotry, the court upheld the former president’s Muslim travel ban as a proper exercise of executive branch authority. 

Janus v. AFSCME (2018): Breaking with over 40 years of labor-law precedent, the court held that public-employee unions may not collect “fair-share” fees from non-union members to help pay for the costs of collective bargaining. 

Rucho v. Common Cause (2019): Dealing a crippling to democracy, the court held that issues of partisan gerrymandering are outside the jurisdiction of the federal courts. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrisey-Berru (2020): Catholic elementary school teachers are “ministers,” and cannot sue for employment discrimination.  

Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee (2021) Upholding two Arizona voter-suppression laws that prevent out-of-precinct voting and so-called “ballot harvesting,” the practice of gathering and submitting mail-in ballots by third parties.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022): Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are overruled.

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen (2022): New York’s permit system for obtaining an unrestricted license to carry a concealed firearm violates the Second and 14th amendments. 

Carson v. Makin (2022): The free exercise rights of parents who live in districts without public secondary schools are violated by a state statute that denies them tuition assistance payments to send their children to religious schools. 

Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (2022): The Clean Air Act does not give the EPA broad authority to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (2022): The Clean Air Act does not give the EPA broad authority to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

Vega v. Tekoh (2022): A violation of the Miranda rule does not provide a basis for a civil rights lawsuit for police abuse. The decision portends the possible demise of the Miranda rule in criminal cases.

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