I read the Alito opinion. I listened in the news to the fears of the Left about future decisions on other unconstitutional decisions. And I think they may have a good reason to be afraid. If this court was willing to overturn Roe v. Wade, then there isn’t any additional justification needed to overturn other unconstitutional laws.
The lack of constitutional grounds to declare gay marriage a national right is exactly the same as the problem with making abortion a right. And some things are even easier to attack. Affirmative action is actually prohibited by a constitutional amendment. It was even acknowledged to be unconstitutional the last time it was allowed to stand by the Supreme Court. Each of these examples of judicial malpractice can be addressed in exactly the same way as Roe v. Wade. The question is will these justices continue to display the courage they seem to have right now?
I think they will. And I think we’ll have the answer to the question in July. That’s when the decision on Roe v. Wade is supposed to be announced. If the five justices manage to stand up to the barrage of intimidation and character assassination that they are currently receiving then I think they’ll be hardened enough to move forward to other areas of the law where equally unconstitutional decisions have been made before.
I find this possibility exhilarating. For my whole adult life, I have watched the Supreme Court create unjust laws and then fail to reverse those decisions when the chance to do so arose. Justices named by Reagan, George Bush Sr. and George Bush Jr. were touted as conservatives and almost invariably turned out to be liberals. But now, so many years later it looks like we’re there. And half the thanks have to go to Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump, two men who cannot stand each other. I find that highly ironic. But I won’t look this gift horse in the mouth. It’s too valuable.
Now, I’m fully aware that more than half of you are rolling your eyes and thinking, “What a hopeless optimist!” And I can’t blame you. We’ve been down this road so many times before that it’s completely understandable that most folks don’t want to get fooled again. It’s just like that cartoon of Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown just as he’s ready to kick it. And ends up flat on his back. For the last year I’ve been very doubtful that the Supreme Court would go all the way and overturn Roe altogether. I figured they’d approve the fifteen-week limit in Mississippi and leave it at that. But apparently, they’ve gotten together the backbone to admit the truth of the situation and make an honest ruling. And that’s amazing.
So, if in July they back down and issue a watered-down decision I’ll openly admit my foolishness. I’ll admit that we can’t “vote our way out of this.” But if I’m right then I’ll expect the same admission from the skeptics and dissidents that say there’s no hope of turning things around. And you know who you are out there.