In the last few years, Republicans have seen a surge in state supreme court wins. This has had a significant impact on state policies and who runs Congress. Here’s a look at how these wins have changed the political landscape.
In 2017, Republicans gained control of the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time in history. The following year, Republicans gained control of 26 state supreme courts—the most in history. This shift has had a profound impact on American politics, shifting the balance of power in favor of conservatives.
State supreme courts have the final say on the interpretation of state laws. That means that if there’s a dispute over a law’s meaning, it’s up to the state supreme court to settle it. And with more conservative justices on the bench, that often spells trouble for progressive causes. For example, abortion rights and same-sex marriage are both likely to be challenged in state supreme courts in the coming years.
What’s more, these wins have also had an impact on who runs Congress. Because state supreme court justices are often nominated by the party in power, these wins give Republicans an edge when it comes to nominating federal judges—including Supreme Court justices. In fact, many of President Trump’s nominees to the federal judiciary have come from states where Republicans have won control of the state supreme court.
Republicans’ recent string of victories in state supreme court races has had a major impact on U.S. politics—and not just at the federal level. These wins have given conservatives an edge when it comes to interpreting state laws and appointing judges to federal positions—positions that could shape policy for years to come. So if you’re concerned about the direction of American politics, pay close attention to who controls your state supreme court—it just might be more important than you think.