A lot has been said about two recent rulings of the US Supreme Court (expanding gun rights and restricting a women’s right to choose). However, I think only US Senator Susan Collins from Maine is surprised by these rulings. I usually refrain from sharing political rants because there are so many others who do a far better job, but sometimes I need to use this space to vent. I recognize that many who visit this blog likely agree with my thoughts, but I’m not looking to create an echo chamber – merely to vent.
The thing I find so utterly frustrating about SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe vs Wade is that it ignores 50+ years of precedent, and the three justices appointed during Donald Trump’s time in office are likely to continue to make rulings for the next 20-30 years building new precedent in the absence of legislation from the Federal Government.
The ruling on Roe reverses a 70+ year trend of expanding rights of women and minorities that dates back to the early 1950s when the US Supreme Court ruled against racial discrimination in Brown vs. Board of Education. Following this week’s controversial ruling, Justice Clarence Thomas said he believes now is the time for the court to revisit rulings on Obergefell vs. Hodges (same sex marriage) and Griswald, Lawrence vs. Texas (contraception) – and why wouldn’t he?
The court now has a conservative super majority with 6 conservative justices but it is Justices Thomas (age 74), Kavanaugh (age 57), Gorsuch (age 54), and Barrett (age 50) who worry me the most. These four justices seem intent on rolling back minorities and women rights, while at the same time aggressively expanding “religious freedoms” and paring back gun safety measures.
The Judicial branch, which has helped protect the rights of minorities and women over the past 70+ years, is now (and forseeable future) a hostile branch of government for these groups. I am concerned these two rulings offer us a glimpse of what to expect moving forward, and additional rights will be pared back if not removed altogether. This reality places an increased importance on the Legislative and Executive branches. Activists need to turn to these branches to legislate and sign into law a woman’s right to choose, protect minority rights, and enact sensible gun laws. It’s a tall order and is probably why I am so despondent – in a country divided as we are, can this be done? I suppose I’d rather fail trying than surrender. I just hope others will feel the same.