WASHINGTON (AP) — Quick, name a Supreme Court justice. OK, name three. One of the current justices, Stephen Breyer, once noted wryly that their names are less well-known than those of the Three Stooges.
But from the time Americans roll out of bed in the morning until they turn in, the court’s rulings are woven into daily life in ways large and small.
So pay attention as Congress prepares to take up the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to join the high court: The influence of the court’s nine justices is hard to overstate.
“From the air you breathe and the water you drink to the roof over your head and the person across from you in bed, the Supreme Court touches all of that,” says Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center.
A walk through daily life on the lookout for Supreme Court fingerprints:
It starts when your alarm goes off. Perhaps you glance over at your spouse.
The Supreme Court has had a big say over the decades in who can marry whom: In 1967, it ruled in Loving v. Virginia that laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional. And the Loving ruling helped lay the foundation for the court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges that nationalized the right for same-sex couples to marry.
RINSE AND SPIT
Consider the water you swish when you brush your teeth: The high court has repeatedly taken up cases related to the Clean Water Act to try to resolve confusion over which waterways are protected by the law — with important implications for drinking water supplies. This is still a live issue: President Donald Trump is working to undo former President Barack Obama’s attempt to shield more waterways from pollution under the law, and more court cases are surely in the offing.
What’s for breakfast? A court ruling with your raisin bran?
Yes, the Supreme Court deals with raisins. The justice were at the center of a property rights dispute that ended with a 2015 ruling in Horne v. Department of Agriculture that found unconstitutional a Depression-era program that let the government seize a portion of raisin farmers’ crops to help keep prices stable.
HIT THE BOOKS – PUNCH THE CLOCK
Time for work and school. The makeup of the student body at your child’s school is tied to the court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 that unanimously declared it unconstitutional…