The Supreme Court Was a Pressure Valve. It Just Sealed.
What happens when the will of the majority is ignored?
If what we know holds, the Supreme Court is on track to overturn Roe v. Wade and revoke women’s Constitutional right to abortion. This is a unique situation, as the Court isn’t saying states must do something, but rather is eliminating the mandate that they can’t do something, i.e. outlaw abortion.
There are far better people to discuss the absurdity of ditching stare decisis and the inevitable loss of human life that will follow this decision, so I won’t offer my under-informed take. Instead, I’m focused on how the Supreme Court just drastically reshaped its implicit role in our society, and what it means for America’s future.
While the Court has long been a means for Conservatives to undemocratically enact unpopular politics (“Originalism” is a fraudulent way to gut the EPA), it has also served an ulterior function by legalizing widely popular social policies that put the U.S. on par with the modern world.
In the case of Roe v. Wade, Obergefell v. Hodges (legalization of same-sex marriage), and Loving v. Virginia (prohibited bans on inter-racial marriage), the Supreme Court has acted as a pressure valve to enact popular social issues that would otherwise be blocked by America’s undemocratic institutions. This isn’t to say the Court is “progressive” (the Right has gotten far more “legislating from the bench” than the Left ever will), but it is to say the Court has been the sole mechanism America uses to avoid total minority rule.
Americans support upholding Roe by almost a 2-to-1 margin. That’s a strong majority for a fervent cause, one that should be able to enact its will in any functioning democracy. But a functioning democracy, we have not.
Altogether, the combination of Republicans’ anti-choice fanaticism, their advantages in the electoral process, and Democrats’ allergy to literally doing anything (reminder: Dems hold the House, Senate, and Presidency), it’s likely national pro-choice legislation is at least a generation away. Without the Supreme Court no longer releasing public pressure, we could reach a boiling point.
I’m not sure what happens next. Perhaps this is the trigger for America to see through the myth of “The Founders Created the Greatest Government Ever” and configure a system that is for the people, by the people. Or perhaps this is the point where the ruling class digs its heels in and tells the masses “you don’t get an equal say in this country.”
I hope for the former while I fear it’ll be the latter.
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If you’re in Denver, please consider attending PSL’s pro-abortion rally at the state capitol on Saturday, May 7th at noon. I’ll see you there.
2. Despite the Democrat’s ostensible “outrage” at the Supreme Court’s plans to overturn Roe, establishment figures (such as Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn) have been campaigning for anti-choice Rep. Henry Cuellar. If you can, please consider donating to Cuellar’s opponent, Jessica Cisneros.
3. On a lighter note, I watched Hulu’s series 11/22/63, an adaptation of the Stephen King novel about a teacher going back in time to stop the JFK assassination. If you’re like me and constantly obsessing about how history could’ve gone differently, then this show is for you.