“… That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone” … Joni Mitchell
That is the song that came to my mind after hearing the Supreme Court voted to reverse Roe V Wade. Not a surprise really. Did anyone outside of Susan Collins actually believe what these 5 liars said at their confirmation hearings?
What’s next to go? Access to birth control? Interracial marriage (oh wait, that would impact Clarence Thomas)? Same sex marriage? These and others are now in question if the leaked document becomes the decision.
Let’s call attention to the draft’s statement that the Fourteenth Amendment under which the Supreme Court has protected civil rights since the 1950s can cover only rights that are “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”
A few points here about that “history and tradition”.
Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked opinion draft relies heavily on a 17th century English jurist who had two women executed for “witchcraft,” wrote in defense of marital rape, and believed capital punishment should extend to kids as young as 14. “Two treatises by Sir Matthew Hale,” Alito wrote in his argument to end legal abortion across America, “described abortion of a quick child who died in the womb as a ‘great crime’ and a ‘great misprision.’”
The right-wing justices, who are demonstrating their radicalism by overturning a 50-year precedent, are prepared to undermine a wide range of constitutional rights on the grounds—however inaccurate—that those rights are not deeply rooted in the justices’ own version of this nation’s history and tradition.
I read an article from the New Yorker today that is chilling.
“Given what we heard from the Justices at oral arguments in December, it is not surprising that five of them seemingly voted to overrule Roe and Casey. But, in the course of Alito’s argument that our legal tradition prior to Roe did not respect a right to abortion, what is striking is how far he goes to try to establish something more: that there is a strong legal tradition in our nation that has condemned abortion as the destruction of unborn life. By devoting so much of this draft to the view that the criminalization of abortion is deeply rooted in the nation’s history and traditions, Alito is setting up anti-abortion litigants to argue relatively soon that a fetus has a fundamental right to life that is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee that no state shall “deprive any person of life” without due process of law.”
“The Court has repeatedly said, in prior substantive due-process cases, that a fundamental right is one that is “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty.” It is particularly telling that, rather than rejecting substantive due process, which conservatives have long reviled as a liberal invention untethered from the Constitution, Alito’s draft purports to scrap the abortion right as “not deeply rooted” while embracing a version of substantive due process that leaves room for anti-abortion advocates to claim a fetal right to life as “deeply rooted.” Alito also states that the overruling of Roe and Casey does not threaten “precedents that do not concern abortion,” including precedents establishing the right to gay sex and to same-sex marriage. But it is impossible to see how the regressive method he uses, framing “history and tradition” at such a low level of generality, would not have the effect of casting doubt on them.”
“If four other Justices end up joining this opinion, it will indicate change on the horizon that is far more radical than the overruling of Roe and Casey. Simply getting rid of those precedents would mean that roughly half the states would ban abortion, while the rest of the states would remain free to permit it. But an eventual finding of a constitutional right to fetal life would disallow abortion in every state. Alito’s leaked draft leaves no doubt that an expedited attempt to render abortion illegal throughout the entire nation as the vindication of fundamental—if fundamentalist—constitutional rights can be expected to arrive much sooner than we thought.”
Get ready. Elections are important. Let’s remember that three of the current justices were nominated by Donald Trump, who lost the popular vote and then tried to destroy our democracy; two were nominated by George W. Bush, who also lost the popular vote in his first term; and one other is married to someone who supported the January 6 insurrection and yet refused to recuse himself from at least one case in which she might be implicated.
Unless a miracle occurs relieving us of two or three of these LIARS on the Supreme Court, our legislatures, both National and State, need to protect the freedoms that are being dismantled. That’s done by electing the right people!
Again, ELECTIONS ARE IMPORTANT! Local, State and National.
It’s time to act. If your ballot for this month’s Primary is still sitting in your house – pull it out NOW. Fill it out. Mail or drop off at the clerk’s office. NOW.
More information about May 17th Primary (VERY IMPORTANT!) can be found at 2022 May Election Candidates and Issues – Josephine County Democrats (josephinedemocrats.org). Join us on Tuesday May 10th at 6:30 for our Monthly Meeting at Unitarian Universalist (129 NW E St, Grants Pass) – Meet like-minded people and make new friends.
… Dorothy Yetter