Here’s How The Supreme Court’s Latest Term Reshaped America

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Will Kessler Contributor
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The Supreme Court’s most recent term has brought on huge changes to American law, with the court delivering many wins to conservatives.

The 2022-2023 term for the Supreme Court included many high-stakes issues, including race-based admissions by colleges, individual rights of religious expression, the applicability of Native American treaties and more. The court’s conservative majority particularly hit hard on the Biden administration, striking down his student loan forgiveness plan and limiting his regulatory power with the EPA. (RELATED: ‘Expand The Court’: ‘Squad’ Democrats React To SCOTUS Striking Down Biden’s Loan Giveaway)

On Friday, in Biden v. Nebraska, the court struck down the Biden administration’s plan to grant student loan forgiveness to nearly 40 million Americans, saying that the Biden administration cannot unilaterally cancel student debt using the 2003 HEROES Act. The plan would have canceled $10,000 in student loan debt for non-Pell Grant recipients and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

The case 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis ruled in favor of religious rights Friday, with the court finding in a 6-3 ruling that a Christian graphic designer cannot be compelled to create a website for same-sex couples that has messages that violate her religious beliefs. This case comes after the 2018 ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which provided limited protections for a bakery owner who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding.

Colleges and universities will no longer be allowed to use race as a determining factor in admissions after a ruling in two separate cases involving Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard and the University of North Carolina, blocking colleges from using affirmative action policies in both public and private universities. The decision overturned a previous case, Grutter v. Bollinger, in 2003 that held that race could be a factor in the admissions process.

Congressional districting was also considered by the court, which found in a 5-4 decision on June 8 that an Alabama congressional district map violated the Voting Rights Act as it did not give enough influence to black voters. The previous map only had one majority-black district out of seven.

A case involving Native American treaties was examined in Arizona v. Navajo Nation, where the court ruled that the federal government has no obligation to meet the Navajo Nation’s water needs under the 1968 treaty that established the reservation.

In another loss for the Biden administration, the court ruled in May that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) overstepped its regulatory authority when telling a couple they could not build on their own property due to the EPA’s ability to regulate “navigable waters.” Sackett v. EPA found that the EPA lacked the power to prevent the couple from building a home on their own land near Priest Lake, Idaho, because it contained wetlands.

The court faced heavy criticism this term, with complaints of ethics violations around paid gifts to justices. A ProPublica report called for Justice Clarence Thomas to resign after it was unveiled that he took paid-for vacations with long-time friend and billionaire Harlon Crow. Conservatives fired back, pointing out trips like those taken by Justice Stephen Breyer that were funded by a Democratic donor.

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