The nine Supreme Court justices will return to the relative quiet of their marble-lined corridors and majestic chamber Monday to face an explosive docket of cases on issues such as abortion, immigration, the Second Amendment and LGBT rights.
All this will play out against the backdrop of the 2020 presidential campaign and as political warfare has broken out across the street in the Capitol building with the launch of an impeachment investigation against President Donald Trump.
Last term, the justices — five appointed by Republican presidents and four by Democrats — tip-toed at times around controversial issues, they formed odd bedfellow alliances and largely avoided the bitter vitriol of the other two branches.
This term, in contrast, will test even the most civil branch of government as the justices take on issues that often produce sharp divides as the justices break down along familiar ideological lines.
Irving Gorstein, the executive cirector of the Supreme Court Institute at Georgetown University Law Center, described the term as “probably not the revolution that some seek and others fear, but we will likely see the court moving further and faster in a rightward direction. The docket almost guarantees it.”