Point of View Columns

First Abortion Rights And Then….

Thanks to Pro Publica the world was given a glimpse into the inner chambers of the United States Supreme Court. And by releasing a draft of a majority decision abolishing abortion rights nationwide, written by Samuel Alito we now understand the agenda of the six Republican appointees in full.

And we have now learned the very hard way something that rightwing ideologues learned a long time ago – elections really do matter.

But first, it is impossible to overstate the unrestrained vigor with which the neoconservatives sitting on the bench are going about dismantling the rights that have been established as bedrock principles during the past 75 years. It is only by reconfiguring the interpretation of the Constitution that the Supreme Court was able to dismantle the infrastructure of race-based segregation and discrimination that had been sanctioned by American local, state and federal governments for centuries.

And it was only by reconfiguring the interpretation of the Constitution that the Supreme Court was able to eliminate governmental bans on everything from abortion to same sex marriage to interracial marriage as well as articulating a definition of civil rights for the modern era. And it was by interpretation that the Court was able to adapt the Constitution to the expectations of the vast majority of Americans.

But interpretation is only a jurisprudential tool. Its utility depends on who is wielding that tool. And by interpreting the Constitution in such a way as to ban abortion the door is now wide open for other actions. If anyone thinks that a ban on same sex marriage isn’t on its way, they haven’t been paying attention. Same sex marriage and gender equity are low hanging fruit for the Gang of Six and it is clear that they are just getting warmed up.

Clearly a 5-4 conservative majority was not enough to totally fulfill the hopes and dreams of the right wing of the right wing. Now, with a 6-3 super majority, there is no limit to the existential damage that they are planning to do to scaffolding of rights and expectations of millions of Americans.

Affirmative action is on the neoconservative hit list along with the rights for the differently able. We can expect expansion of the use of the death penalty and the dismantling of worker safety protections and the protection of the environment. Fair housing, fair fair voting and fairness itself – are now all endangered species.

And the sad part is that it did not have to happen this way. While it is true that the Bush legacy is complicit in this crime against America (Bush I appointed Clarence Thomas – Bush II appointed John Roberts and Samuel Alito), history will record that it was Donald Trump who removed all the guard rails of liberty, freedom and fairness for a generation by his appointment of Barrett, Gorsuch and Kavanagh.

But it did not have to happen this way. Trump only became president because the neoconservatives and evangelicals were laser focused on one thing – the Supreme Court. And being the canny con man that he is, Trump was more than happy to make and keep keep his promise to the right wing.

And while the neoconservatives and evangelicals were laser focused in 2016, the liberals and progressives sweated the small stuff – some people, too many people, didn’t vote or voted for a fringe candidate or even voted for Trump (a very self-destructive move to be sure) because they didn’t “like” Hillary Clinton.

We are sure to witness the evisceration of the rights (like voting rights) that were taken for granted. And now we have learned collectively, once and for all, that elections do matter.

And sadly, we will remember that as we walk through the ashes of broken dreams and expectations, knowing that it just didn’t have to be this way.


7 thoughts on “First Abortion Rights And Then….

    • skytrooper70 says:

      And, when the next republican control of the WH and Congress occurs, there would be additional justices added. In effect, a never-ending cycle of packing would take place, by both parties. At least, by limiting terms/age, constant packing would be avoided and more sensible appointments might stand a better chance of being made, by the party in power.

  1. skytrooper70 says:

    Being an eternal pessimist (despite my trying not to be), I must say that the recent trend and future trend of SCOTUS opinions that peel back various protections for POC’s, disabled, LGBTQ, women, et al., is not surprising to me.

    Indeed, I always have maintained that the Founding Fathers so-called experiment in democracy never was intended to benefit anyone other than the framers, themselves. That is to say, wealthy, landed white males, who always believed that they, and only they, were fit and capable of governing the masses of people, who were uneducated common laborers, farmers, artisans. Even the FF’s beloved spouses, white women of merit, were denied the voting franchise, until 1919, long after the politicians, in power, deigned to recognize blacks, as human beings, and to grant them full citizenship.

    The original concept of government never was “one man, one vote,” as exemplified by the tortuous anachronistic mechanism called, “the Electoral College.” How else could our so-called version of “democracy” permit a demagogue, like trump, to be elected, in 2016, despite losing the popular vote? To carry it further, how else could a Bush be elected POTUS, despite losing the popular vote?

    Save for GHWB, who appointed Clarence Thomas, neither GWB nor trump, who appointed Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney-Barrett, would have been in the position to make these nominations but for the Electoral College.

    Sadly, the country is circling back to the original FF’s concept of power and control of our government being concentrated in the hands of only a very select few (primarily, white males), notwithstanding the results of any popular vote. As such, America, the experiment in freedom and liberty, for all, as determined by the popular will, has failed and has made a U-turn back to its roots.

  2. C A Rhodes says:

    Nicely stated, Wallace!  And, thanks so much for taking the time to prepare and distribute this POV.  I share your concerns and have had similar conversations with colleagues and friends.  We differ on one important point:  placing blame squarely at the feet of “Republicans.”  Let’s remember, The Bushes also placed Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice in The White House and both of them had a hand in preserving the Voting Rights Act.  We ought to do more to place well-intentioned Republicans in positions of power, so the impact of the egregious ones will not be so harmful.  
    That’s my two-cents.  

  3. Lee A. Daniels says:

    Anyone with half a functioning brain could/should have seen the Con Movement plan a long time ago …. there have been many, many confirmations over the last four decades that it was still in place. Your pithy analysis, Wallace, puts our present under glass perfectly. Of course, this country never was a “democracy” — at best, in the last half-century, it became a “potential democracy” … Now, that’s been blotted put. Now, we have to fight to prevent it becoming a full-blown theocratic/authoritarian state.

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