Alito claims to be sweeping away one of the great unjust Supreme Court precedents, such as Dred Scott v. Sanford, which held that Black people had no rights white men were bound to respect, or Plessy v. Ferguson, which upheld racial segregation. But in truth, Alito is employing the logic of Plessy, allowing the states to violate the individual rights of their residents in any way their legislatures deem “reasonable,” as the opinion in Plessy put it. Homer Plessy’s argument was that the segregation law violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights, and that those rights should not be subject to a popularity contest in every state in the union; what Alito describes as a “restrictive regime” of constitutional protection for abortion rights is the kind of safe harbor Plessy himself sought.
In Plessy, Justice Henry Billings Brown held that Louisiana’s segregation law, as far as the Fourteenth Amendment was concerned, “reduces itself to the question whether the statute of Louisiana is a reasonable regulation, and, with respect to this, there must necessarily be a large discretion on the part of the legislature.” Alito has now applied this same logic to abortion—but not just abortion—arguing that in the future, courts should defer to state legislatures “even when the laws at issue concern matters of great social significance and moral substance.” There’s no doubt that the Louisiana legislature felt the 1890 Separate Car Act was such an issue.
“Plessy is, at its absolute core, a states’-rights case, in which the Court envisioned a notion of federalism so weak, so toothless, so bereft of substance that the federal government had no legitimate role in protecting Black people from states imposing racial segregation upon them,” Aderson Francois, a law professor at Georgetown University, told me. “This draft does the same thing: It envisions a notion of federalism so weak, so toothless, so bereft of substance that the federal government has no legitimate role in protecting women from states imposing forced births upon them.”
The implications of this ruling are therefore tremendous. Notwithstanding the reality that being a woman does not mean being pro-abortion-rights, all over the world the right to decide when and whether to give birth is tied to the political, social, and economic rights of women as individuals. That right is likely to be severely curtailed or to vanish entirely in at least 26 states if this decision takes effect. If the draft becomes the Court’s decision, however, it would have implications for more than just abortion. In the U.S., the rights of many marginalized groups are tied to the legal precedents established in the fight for abortion rights. This opinion, if adopted, provides a path to nullifying those rights one by one.
“The majority can believe that it’s only eviscerating a right to abortion in this draft,” Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told me, “but the means by which it does so would open the door to similar attacks on other unenumerated rights, both directly, by attacking the underpinnings of those doctrines, and indirectly, by setting a precedent for such an attack.”
Aside from rights specifically mentioned in the text of the Constitution, Alito argues, only those rights “deeply rooted in the nation’s history in tradition” deserve its protections. This is as arbitrary as it is lawless. Alito is saying there is no freedom from state coercion that conservatives cannot strip away if conservatives find that freedom personally distasteful. The rights of heterosexual married couples to obtain contraception, or of LGBTQ people to be free from discrimination, are obvious targets. But other rights that Americans now take for granted could easily be excluded by this capricious reasoning.
Wednesday, May 4, 2022
JD Vance doesn’t care about Ohioans and he thinks our country is a joke.— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) May 4, 2022
Now he wants to represent us in the Senate? You’ve got to be kidding. pic.twitter.com/UM7A5nL3al
Ryan it seems actually has learned his lesson, and remembers which team he actually works for. Vance is an absolute clown and this is a winnable seat for the Dems now. You'd better believe Trump will be all over this race, and that's exactly what Ryan needs in order to turn out voters to remind them of what the other side actually represents.
Oh yeah, and Roe v. Wade is dead and a number of other civil rights are going down, so suddenly flipping this Senate seat because an absolute priority.
Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio, won a rematch Tuesday against Nina Turner, a progressive activist and former state senator who is known nationally for her work on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Democratic presidential campaigns, NBC News projects.
Brown was leading 63.4 percent to 36.6 percent, with 53 percent of precincts reporting at 10:32 p.m. ET.
Brown beat Turner by 5.5 percentage points in a crowded special primary last summer and then easily won the vacant seat in Ohio’s overwhelmingly Democratic 11th Congressional District in the general election. Turner had hoped that new district boundaries, which now include more of Cleveland and the liberal bordering suburb of Lakewood, would be friendlier turf for her.
This year’s battle was quieter, lacking the national establishment-vs.-progressive intrigue that Brown and Turner played into the first time. Brown, who chairs the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, aligned herself closely with President Joe Biden and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, the district’s former representative, whose appointment to the Cabinet opened the seat. Turner co-chaired Sanders’ 2020 campaign against Biden and was on record making an obscene comment about the future president.
After losing last year, Turner decried the influx of what she called “evil money” into the race — a reference to spending by outside organizations and pro-Israel groups that saw Brown as a more reliable ally. Some Jewish leaders found the remark to play into antisemitic stereotypes.