SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) 2022 Summary Part 2, June 30, 2022
Listen carefully to what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stated on June 24, 2022. In her words, “today (6/24/2022) was supposed to focus on the House’s landmark passage of the bipartisan gun reform legislation,” that would be sent to President Biden’s desk for signature. On 6/25/2022, Biden signed that bill, the first gun control legislation passed by Congress in nearly three decades (nytimes.com, 6/25/22. Cochrane & Kanno-Youngs). On 6/24/2022, Pelosi, instead, ended up talking about the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) “Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization” decision. This opinion, previously leaked in May, 2022, was written by ultra-conservative Justice Sam Alito.” “Dobbs” overturned the nearly 50-year-old right women have had to an abortion under the late Justice Harry Blackmun’s “Roe v. Wade” decision. On 6/24/2022, SCOTUS issued the final ruling in “Dobbs” which hews closely to the leaked draft (huffpost.com, 6/24/22, Foley, Boboltz, & Blumenthal). Here is what Speaker Pelosi rightly said about the final “Dobbs” decision, “This cruel ruling is outrageous and heart-wrenching. But make no mistake: the rights of women and all Americans are on the ballot this November (nytimes.com, Cochrane, E., 6/24/22).” Exactly. Americans, especially our base, must come out in droves plus to vote against the anti-choice GOP party. We must expand our narrow House and Senate numbers. We must vote for Senate Democrats who will abolish the filibuster so that the “Roe v. Wade” decision will be codified into law. “It’s November, 2022, stupid,” as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Cong. Sean Maloney (D-NY) accurately noted.
In my May 8, 2022 blogpost, I discussed in detail Alito’s leaked opinion completely gutting Roe. He falsely stated that throughout American history, most states opposed abortion. And even worse, in this draft opinion, Alito cited half a dozen times an English jurist, Sir Matthew Hale, born in 1609, who called abortion “murder.” This same Hale had two women executed for “witchcraft” and wrote in defense of marital rape (huffpost.com, 5/04/22, O’Connor). Hale lived in an age when doctors didn’t even have a scientific understanding of where babies came from! Alito repeatedly quoted Hale in his final opinion. He also repeated his erroneous view that most states always opposed abortion (Alito opinion).
In Alito’s final 5-4 opinion overturning Roe, he was joined by all three Trump-appointed Justices, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, and, of course, Justice Clarence Thomas. Chief Justice (CJ) John Roberts, in a concurring opinion, favored a narrower approach, not overturning Roe, but upholding Mississippi’s radical early 15 week ban on abortion (cnn.com, de Vogue, 5/03/22, huffpost.com, Foley et al, 6/24/22). In his final draft, Alito blatantly stated, “We hold that Roe and the 1992 Casey opinion (upholding Roe) must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition and implicit in the concept of ordered liberty (huffpost.com, Foley et al, 6/24/22).’” “De facto” CJ Clarence Thomas went even further. Writing separately, Thomas argued that “in future cases, we should reconsider all of the Court’s substantive due process precedents including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” Those decisions dealt with allowing contraception, abolishing sodomy laws, and allowing same-sex marriage (cnn.com, Sneed, 6/24/22).” Never “misunderestimate” Thomas and his influence on this Court. The liberal dissenters, Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan correctly noted that Roe, Casey, and the anti-sodomy and gay marriage cases were all based on Griswold. Since Roe has fallen, these other cases and especially Griswold, from which they emanate, are in danger of being reversed as well (See Sneed, cnn.com, 6/24/22). The three dissenters ended their
After SCOTUS’ final “Dobbs” anti-choice opinion was issued, all print and cable media correctly blared in banner headlines: “Roe v. Wade Overturned.” With Alito’s awful decision, at least 22 states will put their draconian bans against abortion into effect (See huffpost.com, Foley et al, 6/24/22). Reactionary right wingers are delighted. For them, it is a culmination of the fight that started after Roe was issued in 1973. Few Democrats seemed to have cared about Trump’s promises to appoint SCOTUS Justices to overturn Roe. However, many conservatives who were appalled by Trump’s crudeness “held their noses” and voted for him in 2016 just to overturn Roe (See nytimes.com, Liptak, 6/24/22). TX Attorney General Greg Paxton announced he would make June 24 an “annual holiday for his agency as a memorial to the unborn ‘butchered’ since Roe (nytimes.com, Goodman, D., 6/24/22.’” In a 6/24/2022 White House speech to the country dealing with the Dobbs decision, Biden aptly declared, “It’s a sad day for the court and the country.” He correctly stated that “the health of women in this nation are now at risk (cnn.com, Sullivan, K., 6/24/22).” Since the leak of the Alito “Dobbs” draft, the White House had been planning what to do to counter a final anti-Roe decision. While there is little Biden can do through executive action to fully mitigate the decision and virtually nothing he can do to restore the nationwide right to an abortion, there are some options he is looking at enacting. These include eliminating barriers to accessing abortion-inducing medication. He can challenge state laws that criminalize out-of-state travel to obtain an abortion. Biden could also declare a public health emergency, which could shield doctors from legal liability if they treat patients in states where they are not licensed (cnn.com, Sullivan). IMHO, go for all of these.
Remember that although many states will now ban abortion, other states will still allow this procedure and will welcome people who come to them for this reason. These include NY and CA. When the Alito draft was first leaked, CA’s Gov. Gavin Newsom asked for extra money to help people who would come into his state to get safe abortions. On 6/24/2022, the day SCOTUS overturned Roe, Gov. Newsom signed a bill that immediately protects CA abortion providers from liability when caring for patients traveling from areas where abortion is now banned or its access is narrowed (latimes.com, Gutierrez, M., 6/25/22). NY Gov. Kathy Hochul reminded Americans that NY remains a “safe harbor” for those most likely to suffer from today’s Supreme Court ruling, “low-income individuals and people of color.” She called the “Dobbs” decision a “grave injustice (Rubinstein, D., nytimes.com, 6/24/22).” NY City Mayor Eric Adams also offered his city as a safe haven for Americans seeking abortions (Rubinstein, D., nytimes.com, 6/24/22).