Public health on the docket at the Supreme Court

In just seven days last June, the U.S. Supreme Court set back public health by 50 years. The court’s conservative majority rolled back efforts to address the pressing threat of climate change, expanded access to deadly firearms, and eliminated the right to abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade. Earlier, it had eviscerated public health powers to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

I fear this is just the start.

Larry Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown, and I explain in a piece published in STAT that the justices could do additional damage to public health this term. The cases we’re most concerned about do not explicitly deal with our health or medical systems. They’re about voting access, affirmative action, LGBTQ rights, and environmental protection. Yet they could have a significant impact on our efforts as a field to create a world in which every individual can thrive.