Inside the US Supreme Court’s war on science

A new ultraconservative supermajority on the United States’ top court is undermining science’s role in informing public policy. Scholars fear the results could be disastrous for public health, justice and democracy itself.

Jeff Tollefson

Nature | September 14, 2022

Illustration by Sébastien Thibault

In late June, the US Supreme Court issued a trio of landmark decisions that repealed the right to abortion, loosened gun restrictions and curtailed climate regulations. Although the decisions differed in rationale, they share a distinct trait: all three dismissed substantial evidence about how the court’s rulings would affect public health and safety. It is a troubling trend that many scientists fear could undermine the role of scientific evidence in shaping public policy. Now, as the court prepares to consider a landmark case on electoral policies, many worry about the future of American democracy itself.
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U.S.: ‘Whether You’re on the Supreme Court Shouldn’t Depend on How Many People You Give Your Phone Number to’

CounterSpin interview with Adele Stan and Elliot Mincberg on John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court

Janine Jackson revisited CounterSpin‘s July 2005 interview with Adele Stan and Elliot Mincberg about John Roberts’ nomination to the Supreme Court for the July 8, 2022, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

Janine Jackson

FAIR | July 14, 2022

Janine Jackson: “The Lonely Chief: How John Roberts Lost Control of the Court.” That was the plaintive headline of Politico’s June 25 report explaining that Roberts, along with his “middle of the road” approach on abortion, would likely be a casualty of the court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health ruling.

In July of 2005, on the occasion of Roberts’ nomination to the court, CounterSpin host Steve Rendall and I spoke with journalist Adele Stan and with People for the American Way’s Elliot Mincberg about what was known then about Roberts’ record and what he might mean for the court. We’re going to start with my introduction.

JJ: Many in the news media seemed to breathe a sigh of relief at the news that George Bush was nominating conservative Washington insider John Roberts to the Supreme Court. And not just the folks you’d expect, like Brit Hume at Fox News, who shared a chuckle with congressional correspondent Brian Wilson and White House reporter Carl Cameron when he noted that Bush had named a white male “just like all of us.”

Well, even while admitting that Roberts’ record is sketchy on some issues, many mainstream reporters seem to emphasize the reassurance that he is not a right wing trench dweller like some others who were thought to be on Bush’s short list of prospective nominees.

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Crisis in civility and lack of access to justice for many U.S. citizens: Decries U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch

A Journal of People report

Neil Gorsuch, U.S. Supreme Court’s youngest associate justice, made criticisms in a USA TODAY interview and in his new book — A Republic, If You Can Keep It.

The comments included:

Lawyers cost too much. Getting to trial takes too long. Juries promised by the Constitution are rarely used. And just try counting all the criminal laws on the books.

The comments and observations, and incidents surrounding Gorsuch show U.S. judiciary.Read More »

US: Rigged democracy: Supreme Court tackles gerrymandering


People’s World | October 05, 2017

Rigged democracy: Supreme Court tackles gerrymandering

Shirley Connuck, right, of Falls Church, Va., holds up a sign representing a district in Texas, as the Supreme Court hears a case on possible partisan gerrymandering by state legislatures on October 3. | Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call via AP

WASHINGTON—Ever since the early 1800s, U.S. politicians have practiced gerrymandering, the long and dishonorable practice of lawmakers drawing legislative districts to entrench themselves and their party in power. And ever since the mid-1900s, the Supreme Court has ducked the issue of throwing out such crazy puzzles, unless the gerrymander was racially motivated.Read More »

Venezuela’s Maduro Condemns Helicopter Attack on Supreme Court, Justice Ministry

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Venezuelan Supreme Court Blocks Parliamentary Motion to Remove Justices

by LUCAS KOERNER | 20 July, 2016

Philadelphia, July 20, 2016 ( – Venezuela’s Supreme Court (TSJ) struck down Tuesday a parliamentary commission seeking to unseat the high court’s 13 justices over alleged constitutional violations.

Last week, a special commission created by opposition-led National Assembly (AN) released a report alleging that the 13 justices of the TSJ were named in an unconstitutional manner, concluding that three members of the court were unfit for their positions.

In its decision, the TSJ fired back that the December 23, 2015 session of the outgoing socialist-majority parliament appointing the 13 justices is “totally valid”, dismissing the AN commission as “illegitimate and constitutionally non-existent”. Read More »

Venezuela’s National Assembly Declares Supreme Court Unconstitutional

by RYAN MALLETT-OUTTRIM | 15 July, 2016

Puebla, Mexico, July 15, 2016 ( – Venezuelan legislators demanded Thursday that three members of the country’s Supreme Court step down.

In a vote widely backed by the opposition, the National Assembly (AN) endorsed a controversial report claiming the current Supreme Court (TSJ) is unconstitutional. The report was produced by a special AN committee tasked with investigating the conduct of the high court.

Presented to legislators earlier Thursday, the report alleged 13 of the TSJ’s justices had been appointed in an unconstitutional manner. It also named three justices the committee had concluded were unfit for their positions, including Calixto Ortega, Lourdes Suarez and Cristian Zerpa.Read More »