Commentary

U.S. Supreme Court is protecting democracy and explicit individual constitutional rights

July 12, 2022 3:00 am

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy of The Nevada Current).

Some are saying that several of this year’s U.S. Supreme Court decisions are threatening or destroying democracy. In fact, it is just the opposite. The court’s opinions leave decisions of utmost importance to the people’s elected representatives and enforce the Constitution’s explicit protections of personal liberty.

Consider, for example, five of the court’s most controversial decisions this year.

On abortion, the court did not outlaw abortion. The court’s decision leaves regulation of abortions to the people’s elected representatives — the very essence of democracy.

Likewise, on the issue of regulating electric generation to deal with climate change, the court said that this is an issue that must be decided by the people’s elected representatives in Congress, not the bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency. Here again, the court is protecting the democratic process.

The court also protected important explicit constitutional rights which the Constitution places beyond the reach of government. For example, the court ruled that the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” could not be denied by the state of New York to everyone except those who could “demonstrate a special need for self-protection.”

The court also protected the First Amendment right to “free exercise” of religion by ruling that a school district could not punish a coach for praying on the football field after a game.

In another case this year, the court again protected religious freedom by ruling that the State of Maine could not exclude students attending parochial schools from the state’s tuition assistance program.

These five decisions demonstrate that the court is protecting both democracy and the explicit constitutional rights of individuals. It leaves the important questions of abortion and management of climate change to the people’s elected representatives.

At the same time, the court protected individuals’ First and Second Amendment constitutional rights from government interference – just as the nation’s founders intended.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site.

Don Stenberg
Don Stenberg

Don Stenberg is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School. He served for 12 years as Nebraska’s attorney general and has argued several constitutional law questions in the Supreme Court of the United States, including the partial-birth abortion case Stenberg v. Carhart. He is also the author of a Christian book entitled, “Eavesdropping on Lucifer.” He and his wife, Sue, reside in Gretna, Nebraska.

MORE FROM AUTHOR