An interactive guide to rights the Supreme Court has established — and could take away.
Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion established 50 years ago in Roe v. Wade, raising concerns about the future of other rights rooted in Supreme Court rulings. Although most rights are secured by statutes and regulations, others are guarantees extrapolated by the court from the often abstract language of the Constitution. Some of these are recent rights, like the right to carry a handgun in public. But many are longstanding, like the right to be read a Miranda warning by police before being interrogated, and trace their origins to the liberal majorities that presided on the court from the 1950s through the 1970s, an era often called the “rights revolution.” Because these rights were established by the court, the court alone gets to decide whether to preserve, shrink or unmake them.
To get a better sense of which rights may be at risk — in whole or in part — ProPublica scoured judicial opinions, academic articles, and public remarks by sitting justices. Some justices, like Clarence Thomas, have had decades-long careers and lengthy paper trails. By contrast, Ketanji Brown Jackson, the newest justice, has almost no prior record. We found dozens of rights that at least one sitting justice has questioned: