In a series of rulings last month, the Supreme Court strengthened Constitutional protections on important American values, including religious liberty, the rule of law, and equality. These decisions reinforced important principles like separation of powers, personal responsibility, and individual conscience. They reversed disturbing left-leaning trends and restored key components of our Founders’ vision.
Strengthening Freedom of Speech and Religion
In one of the most-watched cases of the term, the Court decided that business owners could not be forced to create messages that violate their religious beliefs. Six of the nine justices sided with the owner of 303 Creative, a designer who could not in good faith build a website for a same-sex wedding. The Court got it right on religious liberty and freedom of speech. As Justice Gorsuch wrote for the majority, “The First Amendment prohibits [the government] from forcing a website designer to create expressive designs speaking messages with which the designer disagrees.” In other words: All Americans should be free to pursue their careers without sacrificing conscience.
Blocking Biden’s Overreach
A second case dealt with President Biden’s unfair and expensive student loan forgiveness scheme. The Court recognized that the plan, which would have cost the taxpayers over $400 billon, had no legal footing.
If the president had prevailed, he would have transferred the financial burden from student loan borrowers, who willingly took out loans, to the general public, including many lower-paid workers who never had the opportunity to attend college. The Court rightly ruled that President Biden simply did not have the authority to do this. Our Constitution gives Congress, not the Executive, the power of the purse. The separation of powers is a central principle in our republic, and I am relieved to see it reinforced. The result also promotes personal responsibility by holding people to their obligations.
Merit, Not Race, Matters Most
Perhaps the most divisive case of the term dealt with the use of affirmative action in college admissions. In a 6-3 decision, the Court barred colleges from using race in their evaluation of student applications. Chief Justice Roberts authored the majority’s opinion, saying every “student must be treated based on his or her experiences as an individual—not on the basis of race.” The Court thus moved us closer to a colorblind society that prioritizes individual achievement, not ethnic group membership.
Continuing the Work
These cases signal three steps in the right direction for the Court. They follow last year’s major decisions on religious liberty and the sanctity of life. Such safeguards are essential, especially as liberal activists continue their attack on American values.
During the term, I signed legal briefs on behalf of the website designer and against President Biden’s executive overreach. Now that those issues have been decided, conservatives should seize the opportunities the Court is making possible. In my work as the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am advancing legislation like the Merit Act. That bill would require Pentagon leadership to focus on the skills – not the race – of those seeking military promotions. In this and other legislation, Republicans should continue building on victories achieved at the Supreme Court.