Back in April, it looked like the worst the Supreme Court could possibly do was act on the draft decision showing a majority of justices’ intent to reverse Roe v. Wade.
Turns out, that was frighteningly naïve. So far, the Court hasn’t officially dropped its expected evisceration of women’s 50-year-old right to an abortion. But a trio of decisions it did hand down this morning show exactly how regressive the court has become with it’s 6-3 conservative majority.
Abandoning a bent toward civil liberties from a generation ago, the same body that once upheld abortion and banned segregated public schools is now remaking the country into a dystopia where anyone can carry lethal weapons anywhere, cops can ignore Constitutional protections without repercussion and members of a political party—guess which one brought this case—can undercut elected members of another party for not vigorously defending a racist and ill-intended voter suppression law in court.
Taken together, along with other rulings this term and the Big One on Roe still lingering, this Court has shown that its priority is less interpreting the constitutionality of laws passed or rulings handed down by lower courts and more in finding ways to judicially enable the country’s political right wing, which went off the rails somewhere between Ronald Reagan demanding, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” and George W. Bush discovering Michelle Obama as his BFF.
It’s a Court that no longer respects its own decisions. This morning, it partially gutted Miranda v. Arizona only days after that ruling’s 56th anniversary. Miranda is the decision that requires cops to remind you that you have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney when they arrest you. Before today, cops could be held liable in civil court for violating that right. As of now, they no longer have to worry about their own personal fortunes if they happen to, uh, forget.
Prior to the Court’s 1972 decision in Roe, it wasn’t uncommon for women, especially poor women of color, to die or be injured seeking so-called back alley abortions. Now, with dozens of conservative legislatures having “trigger laws” cocked and pointed at their wombs, women in some parts of the country could be less than 24-hours from reliving that nightmare.
They might have found some reprieve in New York, where Gov. Kathy Hochul just signed a law that might protect women who travel to that state for abortions from states like Texas, where the legislature has deputized abortion vigilantes to drag women into court for traveling to where it’s safe to make medical decisions about their own bodies. But before they fly to NY, they might want to cop some body armor, since the Court today also flushed the state’s 150-year-old, common-sense prohibition on any jerk carrying a concealed weapon without a good damn reason down Clarence Thomas’ commode. That decision will impact several other states that, until today, enforced similar bans.
The Jan. 6 Committee’s hearings at the Capitol remind us that Donald Trump failed in his attempt to use Congress, the Justice Department and even a violent mob to keep himself in power. We should all consider that a false sense of security now. Trump may have failed in that effort but he got three justices confirmed to lifetime SCOTUS seats that can’t be revoked, unlike the rights and protections they’re snatching away from the rest of us.