Just what we need: Another cis White man chimes in on Roe v. Wade
It’s been a rough couple of weeks. As if the last three years haven’t been enough, in one term (and largely in the last weeks), the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued, as the New York Times described it, “far-reaching decisions that will transform American life.”
They overturned Roe v. Wade and stripped Americans with uteri of autonomy over their own bodies, despite 50 years of established judicial precedent and the beliefs, ethical discernment, and needs of a clear majority of US citizens.
They stripped the federal government of its authority to address climate change, even though the ruling had to revive a moot case to do so.
They dramatically expanded the role of religion in public life, brushing aside the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the clear evidence of a radical minority’s desire to implement an Evangelical theocracy and laying the foundation for religious apartheid.
And, in the wake of terrible mass shootings and on the eve of another, they interpreted the Second Amendment to guarantee individuals a right to carry guns, despite the actual original text and context of the Amendment or the history and currently-being-lived experience of the incidence of gun violence.
Across the board, the vulnerable and marginalized just got more vulnerable, further marginalized. The foundation for legal protections for the poor, for people of color, for queer people, for people with minority political beliefs, for people with physical, developmental, and cognitive disabilities, and for any who find themselves facing a “good guy with a gun” just got shaken, quaken. While all of these rulings regress to some extent, the overturn of Roe is an especially devastating shift, and it demonstrates that “established precedent” is, apparently for six sitting Justices who otherwise (or at least conveniently) deride moral relativism in service of originalist interpretation, a relative and flexible term.
It certainly is a relative term for five sitting Justices; otherwise, their responses insisting on deference to the Supreme Court’s tradition of stare decisis and the “established precedent” of Roe v. Wade that they articulated during their Senate nomination hearings were blatant…