Long Beach State students were taught Monday night about the issues of constitutional law that the Supreme Court would have to decide on this year: LGBTQ+ rights, gun rights, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, immigration, religious freedom and abortion at the Supreme Court preview.
Political science department professors Lewis Ringel, Jason Whitehead and Kathryn Perkins, were panelists commemorating the beginning of the Supreme Court’s term for 2019-20.
The panelists dove into many of the possible outcomes of this year’s cases.
“Being able to understand how the judicial process really works, it gives me more power,” said women’s gender and sexuality studies major Jay Chagolla.
The Supreme Court generally follows the previous legal decisions in the outcomes of past cases and the judges who sit on the bench are meant to be lifetime appointments separate from politics.
However, in recent years presidents have nominated justices that fit their political agendas, most notably Brett Kavanaugh, appointed by President Trump.
For Whitehead, this event was also an event that allowed more “intellectual engagement with students” outside of a classroom.
Much of what the court has to decide on, like DACA, may impact CSULB students. Around 9,500 of the entire California State University student population are undocumented and receive aid, according to CSULB’s library database.
“It gave me an idea of how [the Supreme Court] works and also to learn about the cases that are going to affect immigration reform,” said Associated Students Inc. Senator at Large Citlalli Ortiz. “I’m now able to follow up on [cases] and see how it affects us.”
Perkins, who teaches Queer Law at CSULB, said she was encouraged by attendance during the event and thinks there could have been more if not for the campus shutdown.
“[We’re] hoping to make this event…part of the regular campus culture,” Perkins said. “[The Supreme Court’s] business affects all of us, it’s really something we should all be interested in.”