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The Rule of Six: A newly radicalized Supreme Court is poised to reshape the nation

Do not mistake today’s lineup for a 3-3-3 court — three conservatives, three moderates, three liberals. There are three extremely conservative, extremely impatient justices — Thomas, Alito and Gorsuch — who would go to extraordinary lengths to undo some of the most entrenched constitutional doctrine. Thomas, for instance, has called for revisiting New York Times v. Sullivan, the landmark press freedom case that provides a shield against libel suits brought by public officials; in an enterprise later joined by Gorsuch, Thomas termed New York Times and subsequent cases “policy-driven decisions masquerading as constitutional law.” Again joined by Gorsuch, he has questioned Gideon v. Wainwright, which guaranteed a right to appointed counsel for those who cannot afford to hire their own lawyers. He has said the Constitution does not prohibit states from establishing an official religion.
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