Historically, U.S. Supreme Court decisions have had little impact on national elections. America, however, has become increasingly polarized in the last decade. Church Militant's Trey Blanton opens the history books and charts the progress towards an anticipated explosive 2022.
The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments Wednesday in the landmark Mississippi abortion case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. But the high court won't release its decision until June, in the midst of the campaign season.
Lauren Enriquez, media strategist, Students for Life of America: "The Supreme Court ruling on the Dobbs case is likely to bode well for Republicans simply because they are more in line with public opinion and popular opinion when it comes to the issue of abortion."
The high court's presumptive impact on election cycles represents a massive shift from historical precedent. The American Bar Association charts landmark cases. But each of these produced no major shifts in the following election cycle, with one exception.
In 1954, Republicans controlled the White House and both chambers of Congress, a feat not duplicated until 2003 under the second George Bush.
In '54, the Warren Court held that, per the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, schools could not be racially segregated.
This was not acceptable to the then–Democrat-controlled South and, combined with Republican senator Joseph McCarthy's aggressive hunt for communists, factored into Congress flipping from red to blue.
However, in Roe v. Wade, the foundational high court abortion case, the justices permitted the nationwide murder of the preborn, and nothing changed in the next election cycle. But in 2016, 65% of the electorate considered Supreme Court appointees an important factor in their decisions.
Enriquez: "President Trump put pro-life justices on the Supreme Court. That is having a trickle-down effect, and I believe that that will have an effect on the election, allowing Republicans to further champion life."
Furthermore, Democrat threats to either pack the court or codify Roe at the federal level will be met with electoral consequences.
Enriquez: "These are all ways to work around the existing rules, because Democrats are realizing their ideas are so unpopular, especially when it comes to abortion, that they can't win playing by those rules."
The Supreme Court decision will reverberate through the midterms and beyond.
Conservatives and liberals alike increasingly consider abortion an important issue, with almost half the members of each faction viewing abortion as critical in their decision to vote.