I guess there’s really no such thing as settled law.
The gloves are off and the pretenses of civility, decency, and democracy itself are now all at stake thanks to a leaked Supreme Court draft decision ending federal legalization of abortion. As you read on, please keep in mind that in a January poll conducted by Marquette University, 72% of Americans think legal access to safe abortions should be a right.
This is the final act in the politicization of the Supreme Court. A body of unelected officials who throughout our history have done their best to be non-partisan.
Those days are over.
The biggest skirmishes in the culture war involve human and civil rights. The right to live through a traffic stop; the right to have your vote count—and mean something; the right to buy and use birth control; the right to marry the person of your choosing, regardless of their color or sexual orientation; the right to provide your children with the best medical care; and the right control one’s own body.
If you tilt the playing field far enough and long enough through partisan gerrymanders and court packing, you will ultimately arrive at this moment where what the majority wants is unobtainable.
Conversely, you will also have accomplished something for the Democrats that have not been able to do for themselves, which is growing a spine and fighting the injustices brought upon us by a very fearful White Christian Nationalist minority. Perhaps this strategic leak immediately before primary voting starts will serve as the galvanizing wake-up call that inspires Democrats to fight back.
Of course, it may be too late. It just may be that the all the gerrymanders, right-wing media, and court packing have already created an unbeatable governing minority that will flaunt the will of the American people at every turn.
Republican-controlled states used the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen to create laws specifically designed to make voting harder for minorities. In addition to changing the rules for voting, they enacted laws that impact how votes are counted, and when the vote appears to be going against them, laws that allow legislatures, governors, and secretaries of state to overturn the will of the people.
Here’s Jessica Bruder in The Atlantic: The Future of Abortion in a Post-Roe America. “Critically, the suppression of rights is unlikely to stop with abortion. The implications for the law of overruling Roe will be enormous. Justice Alito’s draft opinion for the Court says that Roe was ‘egregiously wrong’ because it protects a right that was not included in the text of the Constitution, was not protected by the original meaning of the Constitution, and was not traditionally safeguarded as a constitutional right. But by that reasoning, countless other Supreme Court decisions protecting basic aspects of privacy and autonomy were wrongly decided as well.”
You can see where she’s heading. This could begin the dismantling of same sex marriage, interracial marriage, and birth control. All used to be illegal until their status was changed by SCOTUS rulings.
This might be the end of majority rule, or perhaps there’s a small chance that this is a wake-up call to the masses who haven’t been paying attention, or didn’t think that using a lie to change voting rules, or denying a sitting president his Constitutionally guaranteed right and duty to appoint a Supreme Court justice on the lie that there isn’t time nine months before a presidential election to seat a nominee, only to turn around and cynically—hypocritically—rush an appointee through for the next president, will get in the game and save us from a lying and cheating minority.
This is the rise of what Victor Orban, the Hungarian dictator, er, president, variously calls “illiberal democracy” and Christian democracy.” The rise is aided by right-wing media, particularly Tucker Carlson, who has used blatant racism (“immigrants make us dirty and poorer”) to take Fox News to new ratings and revenue highs. (As an aside it’s interesting to note that after Carlson supported the Big Lie and doesn’t believe the Capitol riots were insurrection. That made major advertisers flee, only to be replaced by “direct-to-consumer” ads for everything from My Pillow to magic hair-growers and prostate-shrinkers. Fox’s revenue doubled.)
It’s all made scarier by the fact that the more you tell a lie, the more it begins to sound truthful. The propagandists of the Third Reich figured that out to everyone’s peril. I’ll again remind you that Mark Twain said it is easier to lie to someone than to convince them they’ve been lied to.
We find our lives impacted by unelected justices, appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote, and confirmed by senators who represent a minority population.
This is what they’ve wrought.
©2022 Jon Sinton