With the not-unexpected but nevertheless
disastrous United States Supreme Court decision overturning Roe
v Wade on June 24, 2022, Margaret
Atwood's famous dystopian novel, The Handmaid's Tale,
just took another giant step towards being art imitated by life.
And the late great singer/songwriter/poet Leonard Cohen was wrong: it's theocracy, not democracy, that's coming to the USA.
I don't believe that any thinking person on either side of the abortion issue thinks that the theocrats and Christo-fascists are going to stop at Roe, despite implied assurances within the majority opinion that the June 24 decision is solely about the constitutional right, or lack thereof, to abortion. Senior SCOTUS fascist Clarence Thomas, in his concurring opinion to the decision, has called for the overturning of other precedents that are founded in principles such as the right to privacy: specifically, decisions protecting the right to contraception, to same-sex intimate relationships, and to same-sex marriage.
Notably, in his opinion Thomas apparently did not mention the Loving v Virginia SCOTUS decision that, in June of 1967, finally legitimized interracial marriages. A few wags on Twitter have suggested that he add the Loving decision to his list of cases to be reconsidered/overturned, since it would most likely be cheaper than a divorce, should Thomas be considering a break from his seditionist, bat-crap crazy wife Ginni. But I digress.
In their dissenting opinion, Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan made the significance and utter gravity of the SCOTUS decision on abortion very clear:
For half a century, Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833 (1992), have protected the liberty and equality of women. Roe held, and Casey reaffirmed, that the Constitution safeguards a woman’s right to decide for herself whether to bear a child. Roe held, and Casey reaffirmed, that in the first stages of pregnancy, the government could not make that choice for women. The government could not control a woman’s body or the course of a woman’s life: It could not determine what the woman’s future would be... Respecting a woman as an autonomous being, and granting her full equality, meant giving her substantial choice over this most personal and most consequential of all life decisions....
The dissenting Justices also made it clear that the abortion decision is almost certainly not the end of the line for the theocrats. They're just getting started.
...no one should be confident that this majority is done with its work. The right Roe and Casey recognized does not stand alone. To the contrary, the Court has linked it for decades to other settled freedoms involving bodily integrity, familial relationships, and procreation. Most obviously, the right to terminate a pregnancy arose straight out of the right to purchase and use contraception. See Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479 (1965); Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972). In turn, those rights led, more recently to rights of same-sex intimacy and marriage. See Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U. S. 558 (2003); Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U.S. 644 (2015). They are all part of the same constitutional fabric, protecting autonomous decisionmaking over the most personal of life decisions.
"Clarence Thomas is a Supreme Court justice appointed by humans, he is not the Supreme Deity. The millions of loving couples who have the right to marriage equality to form their own families do not need Clarence Thomas imposing his individual twisted morality upon them. If you want to see an error in judgment, Clarence Thomas, look in the mirror."
All in all, things are looking pretty grim, and on track to get even grimmer. So hold on to your white wimples, Handmaids; it's going to be quite a ride -- and the fight is far from over.
Addendum, June 25, 2022: SCOTUS
wrecking ball targeted other issues besides Roe
Unfortunately, Roe wasn't the only matter this past week in which the high court managed to do significant damage to more than a half century of progress. Here are its other major achievements for the week:
June 21, 2022: Kicking another big hole in the wall between church and state (and thumbing its nose at LGBTQ rights)
In a 6-3 vote, the court ruled Tuesday that Maine could not prohibit parents from using a state-funded tuition assistance program to pay for their children to attend private religious schools while permitting them to do so in private secular schools. The two schools cited in the case have a history of homophobic and transphobic policies.
The ruling in Carson v. Makin is a continuation of the conservative-majority court’s recent willingness to poke holes in the barrier between church and state. A number of LGBTQ advocacy organizations and other supporters of queer rights are sounding the alarm about what the decision signals about the court’s direction, especially when it comes to reconciling religious freedom with safeguarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people from discrimination.
For anyone concerned with the havoc associated with guns in this country, Thursday was a day of highs and lows. The Senate, after decades of inaction, passed a bipartisan gun-safety bill by a vote of 65–33. And the Supreme Court, in its biggest gun ruling in more than a decade, struck down a New York law by a vote of 6the case, New York State Rifle & Pistol –3. The majority opinion in Association v. Bruen, was written by and joined by the Court’s Clarence Thomas five other conservatives, and it is broad and reckless. It will expose any number of well-established laws to similar challenges, and rattle efforts to arrive at a national consensus on guns. If the Senate was the scene of a true breakthrough, the Court was the site of a major breakdown.
June 23, 2022: Kneecapping Miranda
Today, in Vega v. Tekoh, the court backtracked substantially on its Miranda promise. In Vega, the court held 6-3 (over an excellent dissent by Justice Elena Kagan) that an individual who is denied Miranda warnings and whose compelled statements are introduced against them in a criminal trial cannot sue the police officer who violated their rights, even where a criminal jury finds them not guilty of any crime. By denying people whose rights are violated the ability to seek redress under our country’s most important civil rights statute, the court has further widened the gap between the guarantees found in the Bill of Rights and the people’s ability to hold government officials accountable for violating them.
As someone on Twitter wrote, "I went to bed in 2022 and woke up in 1950." If the current SCOTUS majority and the fascist political infrastructure that supports them continue to prevail, the US is going to be plummeted even further back than 1950.