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Supreme Court to issue opinions on race, student loans and more soon

May and June are when justices typically issue some of the most consequential rulings in the U.S.
Supreme Court to issue opinions on race, student loans and more soon
Posted at 5:38 AM, May 18, 2023

The end of spring and beginning of summer usually means one thing — the issuing of consequential opinions by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Typically, the most consequential opinions are reserved until this time of year. 

Last May is when the Dobbs draft opinion related to abortion was leaked. 

In June, the court officially issued its opinion. 

This year,  the high court is expected to announce significant opinions too, impacting everything from your family's finances to the internet. Justices do not reveal in advance which opinions will be announced on what days. 

Student loan forgiveness

It's been a few months since President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan was argued in front of the Supreme Court. 

As a reminder, the President wants $10,000 forgiven for individuals making less than $125,000 a year.

$20,000 dollars could be forgiven if the individual received Pell Grants while in college.

When the high court rules, not only will it impact student loan balances, but it also starts the clock for when federal student loan payments begin again.

Studentaid.gov says payments will begin 60 days after the conclusion of litigation.

Future of the internet

Two cases address whether social media apps like YouTube and Twitter are liable for the content that gets posted on their platforms.

If justices rule that social media companies are accountable, it could mean new restrictions on what gets posted online, since companies will want to limit litigation.

If social media companies win, the internet will likely stay the same. The case gets to the heart of what is known as the "Section 230" debate in the United States, and whether or not social media sites should continue to be immune to most litigation related to content that is posted. 

Issues regarding race

There are a couple of cases related to this topic. 

First, the Supreme Court will decide the future of college admissions and whether applications should include questions about race.

Already, nine states outlaw the practice of affirmative action. 

The Supreme Court's opinion could ban it everywhere, deeming race-related inquiries to violate the equal protection guaranteed by the constitution.

Then there is the question before the court about race's role when it comes to drawing congressional districts.

Justices will rule whether Alabama has properly drawn its congressional districts or not.

Currently, one of the seven congressional districts in the state is a majority-Black district even though Black voters make up around a quarter of the electorate.

If the Supreme Court allows the current map to stand, it could make it easier for lawmakers to draw maps as they wish without the worry of lawsuits involving race.

Religious liberty

This case involves a web designer from Colorado named Lorie Smith. 

Smith wants to start designing wedding websites, but says her faith won't allow her to create ones for same-sex couples. 

She would like the Supreme Court to say it's okay even though the state has already told her she needs to serve everyone if she wants to operate.

In recent years, justices have sided with bakers and coaches in cases where religious liberty was allegedly threatened.

Critics fear the opinion could open the door for more denials of constitutional rights for LGBTQ Americans.

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