The Supreme Court Takes Away a Long-Held Constitutional Right


Nathan Howard/Getty

We have known for some time that this Supreme Court’s manifest destiny was to overrule Roe v. Wade. Now it has fulfilled it. In the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Justice Samuel Alito, writing for a five-Justice majority, eliminated the constitutional right to abortion and handed the states the power to restrict the procedure as they wish. There was little suspense, owing to a leak of the draft opinion last month, from which the Court’s final opinion is not substantially different, but the decision still came down as a surreal shock. The three liberal Justices dissented “with sorrow—for this Court, but more importantly, for the many millions of American women who have today lost a fundamental constitutional protection.”…

The difference between preserving and eliminating a long-held constitutional right involves a crude reality of political machinations and contingency in filling these seats—which makes it galling to read the Court’s righteous condemnation of Roe v. Wade as an exercise of “raw judicial power,” and its self-portrayal as a picture of proper judicial restraint. It is hard to imagine something more like an exercise of raw judicial power than the Court’s removal of the right to abortion, which is precisely what these Justices were put on the Court to achieve. As the dissent put it, the Court is “rescinding an individual right in its entirety and conferring it on the State, an action the Court takes for the first time in history.”

Worthy of all the contempt that we, the people, can muster!

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