This article picked by a teacher with suggested questions is part of the Financial Times free schools access programme. Details/registration here.

Specification:

  • AQA Component 3.2.1.4: The judicial branch of government

  • Edexcel Component 3A: Section 4: US Supreme Court and civil rights

Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:

Abortion ruling shows growing might of US Supreme Court’s conservatives

Another useful article reviewing the record of the Court over the past year, including rulings on climate change and immigration as well as abortion and guns:

US Supreme Court’s blockbuster term reverberates through America

Background: what you need to know

In a controversial decision, the US Supreme Court has decided by a 6-3 majority to uphold a law passed in the state of Mississippi banning abortions after fifteen weeks. The Court has also overturned the 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling, which guaranteed abortion rights. This opens the way for conservative states, mainly in the south, to ban or restrict abortion.

The strength of the Court’s conservative majority was earlier underlined by its ruling on a case involving a different issue, the right to bear arms. It struck down a New York state law that restricted the right of individuals to carry concealed firearms in public. Liberals, both on the Court and beyond, fear that other rights — such as those to contraception and same-sex marriage — may now be challenged. They argue that the conservative justices risk being viewed as unduly biased in their outlook. In a highly polarised political environment, the Court’s actions have become a cause of conflict between Republicans and Democrats.

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3A

  • Evaluate the view that the composition and conduct of the US Supreme Court have become excessively politicised.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three ways in which the US Supreme Court has had an impact on US politics in recent years. [9 marks]

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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