Two Supreme Court decisions are getting a lot of press, a lot of comments. I once took an undergrad course in Constitutional Law – and emerged from the 10 week session having heard a lot of lectures on the 14th amendment, and the explanation that the Supreme Court makes the call based on the Constitution. The class didn’t really provide what I wanted – though a half-century and more later, I recognize that even Dershowitz probably couldn’t have managed it in 30 classroom hours.
Overturning Roe V. Wade would not have surprised Ruth Ginsberg – “My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum on the side of change,” Ginsburg said. She would’ve preferred that abortion rights be secured more gradually, in a process that included state legislatures and the courts, she added. Ginsburg also was troubled that the focus on Roe was on a right to privacy, rather than women’s rights.
“Roe isn’t really about the woman’s choice, is it?” Ginsburg said. “It’s about the doctor’s freedom to practice…it wasn’t woman-centered, it was physician-centered.”
Only in politics can you build an edifice on a weak foundation and expect it to endure indefinitely. Roe v Wade was an influential case, based on the right to privacy – and now I hear the complaints about the Supreme Court canceling reproductive rights. Ginsberg would not have been surprised.
We all know the Supreme Court is political – had Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump, neither Dobbs v Jackson nor Bruen would have occurred. Both cases required the three Trump appointees. Still, the Bruen case, striking down the century-old New York law, makes no difference in how I live. I like Clarence Thomas’ ruling that points out that the second amendment is not a second class right – but the numbers I’ve seen show me that the decision makes no difference in 43 states. In Montana, we haven’t needed to show cause for a concealed carry permit in years. Generally speaking, we don’t even need a concealed carry permit.
Likewise Dobbs – I won’t be particularly surprised if a few state legislatures ban abortion completely. I will be a little surprised if California passes new abortion laws allowing retroactive abortion until the 12th birthday – but I don’t expect things to change a whole lot in California, New York, Washington, Montana, etc. That’s right – in 1999, Montana’s Supreme Court ruled that the “right to privacy” is guaranteed by our state constitution and protects “procreative freedom.” As near as I can figure it, Roe v Wade was canceled at the national level, the authority was returned to the states, and in my neighborhood things didn’t change – either on concealed carry or abortion.