Ruth Marcus, deputy editor of the Washington Post editorial page, writes a warning: if you thought the Supreme Court’s decisions were bad last year, this year will be even worse. Their solid five votes of hard-right conservatives, occasionally teen forced by a sixth vote from Chief Justice John Roberts, has removed all constraint, any need to negotiate with their liberal colleagues. Mitch McConnell created the most conservative court in almost a century, with help from Leonard Leo and the Federalist Society. They seem determined to roll the clock back a century.

She writes:

Last term, in addition to overruling Roe v. Wade, the conservative majority expandedgun rights, imposed severe new constraints on the power of regulatory agencies and further dismantled the wall of separation between church and state….

If there was a question, at the start of that term, about how far and how fast a court with six conservatives would move, it was answered resoundingly by the time it recessed for the summer: “Very far, very fast,” said Donald B. Verrilli Jr., who served as solicitor general under President Barack Obama. “I hope the majority takes a step back and considers the risk that half the country may completely lose faith in the court as an institution.”

Maybe it will, but for now, the court is marching on toward fresh territory, taking on race, gay rights and the fundamental structures of democracy — this even as the shock waves of the abortion ruling reverberate through our politics and lower courts grapple with a transformed legal regime. And there’s every indication that the court intends to adopt changes nearly as substantial — and as long sought by conservatives — as those of last term…

In assembling its cases for the term, the conservative wing has at times displayed an unseemly haste — prodded by conservative activists who have seized on the opportunities presented by a court open to their efforts to reshape the law. The court reached out to decide a dispute about when the Clean Water Act applies to wetlands, even as the Environmental Protection Agency rewrites its rules on that very issue. It agreed to hear a wedding website designer’s complaint that Colorado’s law barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation violates her free speech rights to oppose same-sex marriage, even though Colorado authorities have not filed any complaint against her. It took the marquee case of the term — the constitutionality of affirmative action programs at colleges and universities — although the law in this area has been settled and there is no division among the lower courts.

“They’re impatient,” Harvard Law School professor Richard Lazarus said of the conservative justices, especially the longest-serving, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. “They’ve spent a lot of time waiting for this majority to happen, and they don’t plan to waste it.”