In a Stunning Decision, the Supreme Court Just Nullified Itself
Our first civil war was about ownership of Black bodies. This one will be about ownership of women’s bodies. And that’s just the beginning.
In the event that you were trapped in a mall somewhere or marooned on a desert island, I’ll give you a precis of what just happened in this country. You might want to make a note of it in your calendar: Day That The U.S. Constitution Was Brutally Gutted. I only wish I were being “funny.”
It began in Texas, of course. Some geniuses dreamed up a foolproof plan to get rid of abortion, once and for all. They made it illegal for a woman to obtain an abortion after six weeks. Anyone who aids and abets a woman in obtaining an abortion after six weeks can have a $10,000 injunction levied against them. This means the Uber driver who drives an abortion seeker over state lines to access a clinic. This means anyone who knows she’s getting an abortion but fails to “notify the authorities.” It’s as brazen and lunatic a scheme as has ever been cooked up by those fascists — I mean, Republicans — and in a decision that has the whole world reeling, the Supreme Court allowed it to stand.
Just to make sure they were battening down the hatches, Justices Gorsuch, Barrett, (not Thomas. Thomas decided that NO abortion providers should be allowed to sue.), Alito, and Kavanaugh dusted off an old precedent from 1908, a Supreme Court decision, Ex parte Young, which stated that state officials could be sued in federal court to prevent them from enforcing unconstitutional laws, but that an injunction cannot be issued against a state court system.
There’s a bounty on the head of every Texas woman of childbearing age, and if you don’t like it, they will maybe let you sue someone who doesn’t matter, and your suit will fail. You will never be allowed to sue the right people.
In other words:
- SCOTUS sets fire to the barn.
- The People try to put out the inferno.
- SCOTUS hands them a watering pail.
But it’s so so much worse than that. As bad as that is — and it’s frankly terrifying — this is a hundred times more dire. And it’s not getting as much press as it should, given what we’re up against. Maybe media folks aren’t doing the math.
By allowing Texas and every other red state to disregard the Constitution, we are setting not only a dangerous precedent, but a disastrous one. Even Justice John Roberts, hardly a bastion of liberal thinking, said: “[i]f the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery.” [emphasis mine].
In her own dissenting opinion, Justice Sotomayor wrote that the argument behind this case “echoes the philosophy of John C. Calhoun, a virulent defender of the slaveholding South who insisted that States had the right to ‘veto’ or ‘nullif[y]’ any federal law with which they disagreed.”
But Sotomayor really ripped the meat from the bone when she added, “My disagreement with the Court runs far deeper than a quibble over how many defendants these petitioners may sue … This choice to shrink from Texas’ challenge to federal supremacy will have far-reaching repercussions. I doubt the Court, let alone the country, is prepared for them.”
In other words, if we allow individual states to countermand federal law, and every state becomes its own little fiefdom of abortion bans, voting restrictions, gay marriage rollbacks, and flagrant open-carry, we are not longer the United States of America. We are what John C. Calhoun and the rest of those Confederate “states rights” yahoos wanted all along: a country divided against itself.
We fought a civil war to prevent this from happening. And now here we are, all because a handful of religious zealots are making some lame, desperate attempt to force women to have unwanted babies.
And this is the part everyone seems to be missing: We have no higher court to go to with an appeal.
This is it. End of the line.
So what happens now?
I suspect it’ll be the Golden Corral at noon on a Sunday, an all-you-can eat states’ buffet. We’ll have the Pacific States of America, where you can buy weed, get gay-married, and have an abortion. Then we’ll have the Southern States of America, which will make Atwood’s Republic of Gilead look like Sesame Street. The Eastern States of America will have all the money and industry, just like they did during the first civil war, which will be all the more reason for the Southerners to “accept donations” from Uncle Vladimir in Moscow.
No worries, though, because Tucker Carlson keeps telling Fox viewers that Vladdy’s their bestest bestest buddy.
Lest you think I’m being unreasonable, I’m not. Consider all the other impossibilities that have recently come to pass. In one year, there was a coup on the U.S. Capitol, and a sitting U.S. President who spearheaded it. Now, he and his supporters are doing everything possible to make sure you won’t be able to vote in the next election.
Wait till you see what they have in store for you once they’re back in power.
This isn’t democracy. By any definition, it’s bold-faced fascism, a coup in slow-motion, no different than Haiti, El Salvator, Bolivia, Hong Kong, or Argentina. The abortion law doesn’t materially matter to them. It’s just a way in. Once states get real autonomy, you will be prevented from voting or doing anything else that resembles a healthy democracy.
Destroying the federal government from the inside out has been the avowed goal of every Republican, Tea Partier, Trumper, even factions of the Left. Like bot flies, they have burrowed inside the flesh of democracy, where they pump out fresh larvae with every election cycle. Mitch McConnell, for example.
And here’s what no one seems to be getting: they’ve already won. “Democracy” will be studied as a failed experiment, supposing there are future generations around to even look at it.
Unless, of course, the Biden Administration decides to carve out the same filibuster exception for their Voting Rights Act as it did for the debt ceiling. It’s all on him now. In order to save us all, President Biden will have to make some very uncomfortable, possibly undemocratic decisions.
The question is, will he?