♪ It’s been the same for all the years
Through all your trials and your tears
How long ’til it breaks?
How long will it take?
How long can it wait?
How long will it take someone to reach you? ♪
— Peter Case asked elsewhere “How’Bout You” and begged “Let Me Fall.” All three songs seem relevant this weekend.
At long last, an American middle-aged, heavyset, White, cis-gendered, heterosexual and cradle Catholic man has an opportunity share his opinion on the U.S. Supreme Court stripping more than half the country’s population of their right to access reproductive health care. Gather the kids. Call the kinfolk. Grab a pen and some paper. You won’t want anyone to miss this once-in-a-lifetime event. You will want to take notes.
The 6-3 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health that overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey sucks. It stinks, reeks, offends, galls, reviles, repulses, confounds, angers, and dismays.1 Let Uvular count the ways.
1. Radical Rightwing Activist Justices Played Fast and Loose With History, Philosophy, Theology and Common Law
To justify his assertion that jurists “always” considered abortion Samuel Alito reached back to the 1200s to invoke witch-burners and church fathers.2 Of course, he defeats his own point by first acknowledging that most states did not start banning abortion until the 1900s and that most states had partially lifted those bans ahead of the 1973 decision in Roe.
Stephen Breyer called out this dishonest historiographic sleight-of-hand in a dissent to the ruling in New York State rifle v. Bruen, writing:
2. The Justices in the Majority on Dobbs Acted in Full Knowledge of Acting Badly
Everyone told them none of their arguments against Roe and Casey held up to the cursory scrutiny. Repeatedly. But, as committed ideologues, the Federalist Society members sitting in judgment of us all will not yield to reason, will not show empathy nor feel shame. Consider Alito et al. more akin to Terminators than scholars.
3. The Erring and Errant Justices Did Not Care
John Roberts, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett lied3 during their Supreme Court conformation hearings. Each swore in some way to respect Roe as settle precedent, all the while fully intending to overturn the ruling at their first opportunity.
4. The Justices Who Acted Badly Also Acted Maliciously
Remember the lying under oath to ascend to the bench and reverse Roe? Pretty inexcusable, but far from the worst thing done. The Sadistic Six of the Dobbs majority stripped the right to privacy from 14th Amendment jurisprudence, significantly weakened the principle of substantive due process and removed the court’s obligation to observe stare decisis.
Uvular leaves it to the lawtalking Politicados to parse most of the legalistic legerdemain at play. He will observe that substantive due process protects people from having their rights, liberty and possessions taken away for no reason. Invalidate substantive due process as the foundation for policing and government actions against individuals, and you grease the skids toward full-on authoritarianism.
5. People Who Become Pregnant Will Die and Face Jail Time
6. Health Care Providers Will Die and Face Jail Time
Abortion foes have spent decades calling doctors and nurses who care for people who no longer want to remain pregnant murders. An exponentially growing of true believers go vigilante.
7. Things Will Continue Getting Worse
Clarence Thomas went hell-for-leather on the mortally wounded concept of substantive due process to urge overturning Supreme Court decisions enshrining rights to contraception, premarital man-on-man and woman-on-woman sex between consenting adults, and same-sex marriage. Thomas’s kill list merely adds to a litany of crossed-off items ranging from eviscerating voting rights and mooting Fifth Amendment protections to straight up telling people on death row that no grounds for appeal exist.
8. Preventing the Parade of Horribles Could and Should Have Happened
Keeping the presidents Bush and Trump out of the Oval Office nullifies the ongoing nightmare. Convincing Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to drop their perverse predilection for the Senate filibuster ends the madness by setting the stage for expanding the U.S. Supreme Court to 13 justices. Impeaching Thomas as a conspirator against the United States and removing Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett for lying to Congress solves all kinds of problems.
But none that did or will happen. Get and stay upset, but put it all in the brain closet you only open when you need to run around punching walls and screaming incoherently before curling into a ball to binge watch Corner Gas.
9. Find a Silver Lining Around Your Fancy Tableware and Nowhere Else
Things look terrible. The outlook appears even less inviting. But yesterday, Uvular could not stop flashing back to this mugshot of John Lewis from some time in the early 1960s:
Lewis knew he’d won. The police might kill him on the spot. He might not live to see the civil rights he demanded take hold. Worse, he might live just long enough to witness a brief period of progress halted and reversed by the grandchildren of the bigots he opposed.
But he knew the justice and equity he sought would someday prevail. May we all find and act on such faith. And beyond wishing and waiting for that better future, check out these tips for actions you can take today.