In my time as Supreme Court Justice, I’ve influenced many cases about the relationship between the federal government and state governments. For example, during United States v. Lopez, I wrote the majority opinion about the government’s Gun-Free School Zone Act, saying it was unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. Possessing a gun isn’t in any way related to economics, meaning the government couldn’t have such oversight on a state matter. In United States v. Morrison, I also delivered the final opinion on the matter, stating that the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 could not be applied from a federal level to a state level through either the Commerce Clause or the Fourteenth Amendment. When Congress tried to regulate the labor market of state employees in 1974, I ruled in National League of Cities v. Usery that Congress couldn’t do that, again, through the Commerce Clause.
I’ve also worked on cases involving the Establishment Clause, such as Mueller v. Allen. A law passed in Minnesota allowed people to deduct any expenses related to their children’s elementary and secondary schooling – including parochial schools – from their taxes. The majority opinion, which I wrote, stated that since the law affected all schools and not just religious ones, it did not violate the Establishment Clause. Another case, Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, related to the Ohio government providing scholarships in the form of vouchers to students in the Cleveland area, and these vouchers could go to students at both public and private institutions, including religious-affiliated ones. The majority opinion I wrote stated that it did not violate the Establishment Clause since it is up to the individual if it applies to religious institutions, not the government.
We’re about to hear United States v. Associated Press, and the ramifications of the decision the court makes would set a new precedent on the meaning of privacy weighed against national security. If we decide in favor of the United States, it would broaden the umbrella of situations that could be justified by a need for national security. Privacy of individual citizens would be deemed less important across the board, especially with how pervasive of a topic privacy is with the creation of the Internet and smartphones. If we decide in favor of the Associated Press, the privacy of citizens would be reinforced, even in the face of national security. This would also call for an investigation in the National Security Agency’s practices, especially regarding PRISM.
• Your legal opinion of the ramifications of the case, depending on which way it is decided