This webinar is a joint program offering of the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement in cooperation with the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

Is Judicial Independence Under Siege?

Understanding the Roberts Court in the 2021-2022 Term

In American society, judges are expected to make impartial decisions based solely on fact and law and not political climate. However, recent comments by sitting Supreme Court justices, and the leaked decision indicating that Roe v. Wade may be overturned, causes many to believe that the Roberts Court is under siege both internally and externally.

This two-part webinar series will examine the major cases remaining on the Supreme Court docket in 2022, the anticipated, and then ultimate ruling in each, and the factors that may have affected these decisions.

Front steps of Supreme Court with words Judicial Independence

Session 1:

June 29th @ 12:30pm (Eastern)

Examines the cases, considers the position argued by each side, and discusses the direction in which the Court might be leaning for its decision.

Session 2:

August 10th @ 12:30pm (Eastern)

Considers the decision of the Court in each case and the precedent it may set for the future. In addition, we’ll discuss some of the cases the Court has accepted for review next term and examine how the addition of Associate Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson might impact the decisions in those cases.

Participants can expect to develop both content knowledge and skills as we examine the need for and current state of judicial independence in the United States.

Webinar participants will:

  • Engage in in-depth study of Constitutional and Supreme Court case law.
  • Explore how the shifting voting alliances and decision-making approaches of the current Court are affecting the behavior of the justices and the case voting decisions.
  • Gain a better understanding of judicial independence, the relationship between the Supreme Court and the other political branches of government, the overall shifting legal and political trends in the United States as compared to previous historical eras, and the direction in which the Supreme Court may be headed in future decisions and actions.


Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – Are all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions unconstitutional? A draft of the Court’s decision on this case was leaked to an online news organization.

Carson v. Makin – Does state law, which prohibits students from using a generally available student-aid program at private schools offering religious teaching, violate the First Amendment’s Religion and Equal Protection Clauses?

Kennedy v. Bremerton School District – Can a public school violate the First Amendment rights of a football coach – Joseph A. Kennedy – who prayed with students after a game on a public football field. Coach Kennedy was not re-hired by the school after the prayer controversy.

New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen – Does a New York State law denying a concealed-carry license of a firearm for self-defense violate one’s Second Amendment rights? Do individuals have the right to carry concealed firearms outside of the home for self-defense?

West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) – Does the EPA have the statutory authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as it considers cost, energy requirements, etc., or are those powers limited by the Clean Air Act?