Compromised Court weighs Roe Vs. Wade
Bryan Zepp Jamieson
December 1st, 2021
Listening to the arguments this morning at the Supreme Court in the matter of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case on whether the state of Mississippi can ban abortion at 15 weeks gestation:
Right wingers are frantically seeking justification for striking down Roe Vs. Wade, the seminal and oft-upheld abortion ruling that gives women access to abortion.
Roberts wants to know if anyone is hurt by pushing viability back from 24 weeks to 15 weeks. An embryo isn’t even remotely viable at 15 weeks, making Roberts’ proposed definition an utter joke. Kavanaugh wants to punt, saying in effect, the Supreme Court has nothing to do with rights and the states should decide that sort of garbage. (Yeah, this clown is on the Supreme Court.)
Amy Coney Barrett wanted to know if invalidating a woman’s right to an abortion would invalidate other “rights” like birth control. That’s a bit like asking if a law forbidding Moslems from voting would affect the rights of Jews or Catholics to vote.
And then there’s Slappy.
Thomas asked Rikelman, attorney for Jackson, to identify the constitutional right that protects abortion. “Is it privacy? Autonomy? What would it be?”
“It’s liberty,”Rikelman replied. “It’s the textual protection in the 14th Amendment that the state can’t deny someone liberty without the due process of law.” Ouch. Slappy the lawn ornament got slapped.
Attorneys for Dobbs are trying to handwave the concept of “undue burden” away, saying it’s impossible to define and difficult to enforce. Never mind that the concept enters into nearly all court decisions regarding access to and exercise of personal rights. Remove that concept, and there’s no reason why a county can’t charge people $100,000 to file a property damage suit. See how simple it is?
It seems likely that the Court will strike down Roe Vs. Wade. They’ll bend over backward trying to pretend it isn’t a religious issue (it is) and not even remotely secular.
Sonia Sotomayor asked of the attorney for Dobbs, “How is your interest anything but a religious view? It’s debated in religions, so when you say this is the only right that takes away from the start the ability to protect the life, that’s a religious view isn’t it? Where does the life of a woman and putting her life at risk enter the calculus?”
The court will have to trash dozens of decisions and overrule the wishes of the American people (Attorney for Dobbs is arguing that abortion is “injurious to democracy”!) in order to make this potential ruling stand.
Sonia Sotomayor said, “Fifteen justices over 30 years have reaffirmed that basic viability line,” she said, alluding to how Roe v Wade has been upheld since the 1992 Planned Parenthood v Casey decision.
“Four have said no, two of them members of this court. But fifteen justices have said yes, of varying political background.
“Now, the sponsors of this bill, this house bill in Mississippi, are saying, ‘We’re doing this because we have new justices on the supreme court’. Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the constitution and its reading are just political acts?”
Sotomayor continued with the question: “If people believe it’s all political, how will we survive? How will the court survive?”
Answer: it won’t. People will know the court has been hopelessly corrupted by a fascist president and his theocratic supporters. An institution designed to uphold the Constitution will now willfully disregard the same document because they are Dominionists and put their vicious and cruel religious opinions ahead of the rights the Constitution is meant to protect.
You may be in a place like California or New York and think to yourself, “Well, the state government isn’t going to strike down abortion,” and you might be right. But the god-struck minions of the anti-choice movement aren’t going to stand for abortion being allowed anywhere in what they see as their country that they run on behalf of Jesus. Kavanaugh maybe be nattering about states’ rights now, but he’s as intellectually and ethically vacuous as any Republican representative. He won’t hesitate to argue that the federal law overrules all state laws as soon as there’s a federal law to uphold. And 34% of the most conservative of all states control the Senate, 42% the vote would make the House Republican.
In the meantime, I expect a vast underground railroad to form, similar to the one that helped emancipate hundreds of thousands of slaves from the cruel authoritarianism of slave owners, and for much the same reason. It will uphold the human right of women to have control over their bodies and not be forced into having a child they do not wish to have. You think the Blob Squad won’t see that as an intolerable state of affairs?
I will do anything I can to support such an underground railroad, and urge everyone to put human rights ahead of cruel and unjust laws. Fuck the Dominionists, and fuck their vicious and authoritarian moral posturing. They have no right.
And the Court, more and more, will find itself shouting from within the vacuum it is about to put itself in.