How the Religious Right Has Transformed the Supreme Court

Lee Epstein, the Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor


The religious right has made no secret of its expectation that President Trump will choose a socially conservative successor to the seat held by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And the president will likely deliver, further confirming the power of the religious right.

The conservative legal movement, which at one time was libertarian in spirit, has been hijacked by the religious right. This religious version has left a deep mark on the Supreme Court under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts.

Mr. Trump’s recent 2020 edition of potential Supreme Court nominees included many lawyers and politicians known for their religious commitments and affiliations.

One is Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who complained last spring that religious conservatives had not actually played an adequate role in Mr. Trump’s selection process. He was incensed that Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote an opinion, in the Bostock v. Clayton County case, protecting gay and transgender employees from workplace discrimination.

And yet if Bostock was a defeat for religious conservatives, it was an unusual one — at least nowadays.

Read the full piece in The New York Times.