Editorial | Keep up with the Supreme Court rulings — they affect us all



Members of the U.S. Supreme Court pose for a group photograph at the Supreme Court building on June 1, 2017, in Washington, D.C. Front row, seated from left, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, and Associate Justice Stephen Breyer. Standing behind from left, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

The US Supreme Court has come out with several new rulings affecting everyone and their rights in the past week, such as striking down Roe v. Wade, loosening concealed carry laws, giving the EPA less regulatory power, limiting the power Native Americans have on tribal land and limiting the ability to enforce Miranda rights.

These decisions, decided by the highest court in the land, affect how we live in this country, how the law is enforced and our futures. It’s important that we stay vigilant in keeping up to date with these rulings, as they can take effect almost instantly. They give too much power to our government and law enforcement and take away the rights of the American people. These institutions strip citizens of the necessary rights we hold. Everyone should know their rights, especially when the Supreme Court rules in favor of those in power rather than the rights of the citizens.

In Vega v. Tekoh, which the Supreme Court ruled on this past Thursday, the court ruled that police officers do not have to warn suspects about their right to remain silent and in turn suspects cannot sue a police officer for not doing so even if the evidence is used against them in their criminal trial

This ruling lends too much power to police officers. The officers can decide to not tell suspects their Miranda rights and incriminate themselves which can potentially create an unfair trial. With more than 2 million people currently incarcerated in the United States — many of whom were convicted unfairly — police officers should not be given this much power. People’s rights are protected for a reason, and police officers should not have the power to incriminate suspects who are unaware of their rights.

Citizens in the United States are entitled to a fair and free trial. We are entitled to the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney and other freedoms. If we are not told our rights — something that many Americans are unaware of — what other rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution are we going to lose? 

What is the freedom we have guaranteed to us as Americans going to look like if the Supreme Court introduces more and more new precedent that erodes it? 

One way we can combat this loss of freedom is by knowing our rights and making sure that the institutions that try to erode them don’t take advantage of the average citizen’s lack of knowledge. 

The Miranda rights — even if not said directly to you by a law enforcement officer — are guaranteed to every citizen. If you ever have an encounter with the law, you do not have to speak without an attorney present. You do not have to incriminate yourself, despite what an officer is saying to you. Even for cases that may seem less applicable, knowing your rights is important. These rights can not be stripped away from you no matter what the Supreme Court says.