The Supreme Court handed liberals two victories on Wednesday that saw Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch siding with the liberal bloc for the second time this week. Decisions about regulatory power and mandatory minimum sentences came as the court session is winding down.
One unanimous decision upheld a precedent that judges should defer to federal agency experts when making rulings, which conservatives have said gives too much power to federal bureaucrats. The other was a 5-4 decision that mandatory minimum sentences can’t be given when supervised release is revoked because of a new crime for which the defendant has not been tried.
It was some consolation that a 5-4 vote on Thursday said that the federal government had no power to stop states from gerrymandering voting districts. A final blow came when the court struck down the citizenship question from the 2020 Census, but that ruling left the door open to further changes if the Trump administration could give a better reason for why they wanted the question.
It is unclear whether the Court will have time to render another opinion before the census has to be distributed, leaving the administration considering a request to delay the census.
While this session’s decisions have seemed like a mixed bag on a court that should generally be 6-3 in favor of conservatives, it may be a positive sign that opinions are being considered fairly and not only along partisan lines.
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