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  • AQA Component The judicial branch of government

  • Edexcel Component 3A: Section 4: US Supreme Court and civil rights

Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:

US Supreme Court set to upend abortion rights, leaked document suggests

Background: what you need to know

The article reports on the highly unusual leak of a draft judgment by the US Supreme Court. It appears that the Court’s conservative majority may be about to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe vs Wade ruling, which guarantees abortion rights. This has come about in response to a case involving the state of Mississippi, which has introduced a law banning abortions after fifteen weeks.

It should be stressed that this is not a final verdict. But it has aroused strong opposition among Democrats and women’s groups. For them, this is a potential threat to what was considered to be a secure civil right. The case is a good example of how the polarisation of modern US politics affects conflicting interpretations of the constitution.

it is also worth following this link: The US Supreme Court’s slow right turn which provides background on how the Court has become more conservative following three appointments by Donald Trump. The Supreme Court justice who wrote the draft judgment, Samuel Alito, is profiled here: Samuel Alito, the US conservative justice who drafted the leaked abortion ruling.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three ways in which the US Supreme Court has had an effect on civil rights in recent years. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3A

  • Evaluate the view that the US Supreme Court has been ineffective in upholding civil rights in recent decades

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. (30)

    TIP: It is worth following this unfolding story over the coming months. The Court’s definitive judgment is not expected to be handed down until June or July.

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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