Allen v. Milligan is a Surprise Win for Voting Rights

Supreme Court Decisions Continue Disturbing Trend of Protecting Interests of the Powerful Over People and the Planet

For Immediate Release: July 1, 2024 

WASHINGTON—Two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions reflect a disturbing and ongoing trend of protecting the interests of the powerful over the rights of people and the protection of the planet, said the top policy advocate of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. 

Laura Peralta-Schulte, Senior Director of Public Policy & Government Relations for NETWORK, said of the June 28 Supreme Court decision:

“We have watched with concern as the Court majority has moved to protect the interests of the powerful while casting aside the legal rights and needs of ordinary people and the protection of our planet.  In the case of Grants Pass v. Johnson, the Court majority decided that local and state governments can effectively make homelessness a crime.  The Court refused to apply the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment to the arrest, fining, and jailing of the most vulnerable members of our society, even when no shelters or other options are available. We decry this decision. As Justice Sotomayor eloquently stated in her dissent, the Court today utterly abdicated its role in “faithfully enforcing the constitution to prohibit punishing the very existence of those without shelter” and “safeguarding the constitutional liberties for the most vulnerable among us. 

“The second devastating decision, Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, swept away 40 years of precedent to remove the authority of federal agency civil servants to interpret and enforce laws.  The majority used a narrow dispute over the cost of commercial overfishing monitoring to discard, across the entire federal government, the longstanding Chevron doctrine that has provided civil servants with expertise in complex health, safety, environmental, employment, and other matters the authority to make ‘reasonable’ interpretations of general statutes. They handed that authority instead to federal judges with no specialized knowledge and no accountability other than the Supreme Court itself. Individual judges with no specialized knowledge will likely make ill-advised and inconsistent decisions that will disrupt badly needed environmental protections, efforts to reduce health care costs, safeguards for workers, food and housing assistance programs, and other federal rules that have long advanced the public good. 

“These decisions contradict the promise of our democracy. We call on Congress to do all they can to protect the rights of all people, especially those most vulnerable among us, and further contribute to the protection of our fragile planet.”

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Founded by Catholic Sisters in 1972, in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council, NETWORK is an inclusive, national, Catholic advocacy organization open to all who share our values, working to achieve equity and justice for everyone. Grounded in Gospel values and the Catholic social justice tradition, NETWORK transforms our society by shaping federal policies that achieve racial, economic, and social justice; serve the common good; and honor the dignity of all.

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