Cartoon above by Karen Sullivan.
The Democrats should have a chance of beating Republicans in many states, with a newly fired up base because of yesterday’s insane abortion rights ruling. To be clear, while I’ve never met anyone who wanted to go through an abortion, the decision to do so is a medical one that rests with the person who is deciding to do it. Many reasons for choosing it and many decision points to consider. It is often traumatic, no matter what the reason or need. It raises a disturbing question of where does the government’s intervention in our medical decisions stop? How intrusive is it? Is determining your healthcare needs a government decision based on a minority religion that clearly, based on many polls done by both sides of the political spectrum, seems out of touch with the vast majority of Americans? And which religion will control those decisions? Will you need to clear your medical decisions by a priest (and which denomination)? A rabbi? A mullah? A wiccan priestess? A civil servant?
These politically and religiously motivated judges, who claimed to support (to various degrees) “stare decisis” in their confirmation hearings, have now reneged on their stands, which they took under oath. To remind readers, Merriam Webster dictionary defines Stare Decisis as “a doctrine or policy of following rules or principles laid down in previous judicial decisions unless they contravene the ordinary principles of justice” (emphasis mine). On Friday, as reported by CNN, Judge Clarence Thomas “reiterated that he believes Supreme Court justices are obligated to take a fresh look at established precedent and shouldn’t be bound by the judicial doctrine called “stare decisis.” Does he also mean to take a “fresh look” at slavery or the Plessey ruling that supported segregation and Jim Crow laws? Or Brown vs Board of Education which found that segregated schools contravened the ordinary principles of justice as it related to some U.S. state laws establishing racial segregation in public schools. (definition quoted from Wikipedia). Or does he mean that Supreme Court Justices simply are allowed to force their own beliefs on the country regardless of what the law states or has stated in the past?
So Stare Decisis is dead. Let’s not pretend our system of justice is really based on it anymore, with the fundamentalist majority we now have in the court. Yet, in less than 24 hours before they gave the decision on abortion back to the States, they removed the States ability to protect their citizens from the rising tide of gun violence with reasonable laws decided by their elected officials. How does any of this make sense?
The new abortion ruling, which removes a right from over half the population, and puts women in danger of death from a denial of a specific kind of healthcare, over the objections of medical professionals, should be a rallying cry to get out the vote in November and stop the Republicans from taking over the House and Senate. This one issue might outweigh the runaway inflation that has dominated most peoples minds over the last six months.
1671 also sends us back to virulent anti-Catholicism still widespread when JFK ran for president . The irony of the cartoon is incisive. Were the current Catholic judges asked about the separation of church and state when they were confirmed? As I recall Anita Hill brought up other matters about Thomas.
Remember-as Heather Cox Richardson said in her latest video, “there are more of us than them.” And this is just the first domino to drop, so everyone give what you can to everyone running for house and senate in all states in close races.
Really good column, Al. Thank you. At the local anti-Supreme Court protest yesterday, there was a sign that read “Get the Bible out of the Constitution”. Seems apt. I wonder what Clarence Thomas would do if the Supremes decide to re-outlaw inter-racial marriage. Less abortions & more guns are both very negative decisions that are against the will of the majority. “The states can do this but can’t do that” highlights the hypocrisy of this court. I sincerely hope the 2023 elections are decisively against this “originalitist” doctrine at every level of government.
We are now seeing the fruition of decades of focus to remake America into a conservative theocracy, rather than a democracy by The Republican Party. Make no mistake, with the assistance of Addison Mitchell McConnell III, the highest courts in the land have been filled with conservative judges from Appeals courts to The Supreme Court. McConnell’s legacy will be that he placed 229 Trump justices; all of them young, ideologically very conservative, and religiously motivated.
Now, Americans live in a land where a minority of conservative “Evangelical Christians” get to tell the majority how they must live!
Thank-you and I could not agree more. I feel for the women of our country and am also proud of the compact between Washington, Oregon, and California. We all have to contribute in some way.