For Court watchers, this was expected to be a big day.

As it wrapped up its session for summer break and released its final decisions, the Court made news early on, especially with its ruling on handguns.

The Supreme Court reversed a ruling upholding Chicago’s ban today and extended the reach of the 2nd Amendment as a nationwide protection against laws that infringe the “right to keep and bear arms.”

The 5-4 decision appears to void the 1982 ordinance, one of the nation’s strictest that barred city residents from having handguns for their own use, even at home.

More directly said

The Supreme Court held Monday that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live…

The court was split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and four liberals opposed. Chief Justice Roberts voted with the majority.

This is interesting, seeing the AP use this language for a change (from usual big media terminology). Five ‘conservataive-moderate’ justices are just barely – but still decisively – tipping the balance in court decisions these days, with four liberal justices predictably coming down on the ideological left nearly every time.

Which they did on Monday’s “anti-bias”ruling.

The Supreme Court ruled today, 5-to-4, that public colleges and universities may require religious organizations seeking recognition or funds as campus groups to comply with anti-bias rules.

The ruling came in a lawsuit by the Christian Legal Society, which challenged the anti-bias rules of the Hastings College of Law of the University of California. The Hastings policy bars discrimination based on sexual orientation and the Christian Legal Society bars gay people from becoming members. Hastings has argued – with backing from many in public higher education – that state universities have an obligation to adhere to strict anti-bias rules. But the Christian Legal Society – with backing from many religious groups – has argued that forcing it to comply with anti-bias rules amounts to infringing on its First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

And that was ensured by the high court ruling.

The opinion explicitly rejects the argument of the Christian Legal Society that a public university has no business limiting its ability to be recognized and to apply its own rules to membership.

Which means a Christian group or any other identity group cannot expect members to believe in the validity or merit of their core mission statement or purpose or identity. Which prompted this…

A dissent, by Justice Samuel Alito, blasted the decision, saying that it set a principle of “no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning.”

And just after these decisions came down, the Senate opened its confirmation hearings on the nomination of Elena Kagan to the high court. In his opening statement, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy said ‘judges should not be politicians.’

But the lines are blurring…

In that statement, Leahy blasted the Supreme Court for certain rulings he found personally and politically offensive.

It is essential that judicial nominees understand that, as judges, they are not members of an administration. The courts are not subsidiaries of any political party or interest group, and our judges should not be partisans. That is why the Supreme Court’s intervention in the 2000 presidential election in Bush v. Gore was so jarring and wrong. That is why the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United, in which five conservative Justices rejected the Court’s own precedent, the bipartisan law enacted by Congress, and 100 years of legal developments in order to open the door for massive corporate spending on elections, was such a jolt to the system.

Everthing is politics. This is going to be an interesting prelude to the mid-term elections.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....