[On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court released the Roe v. Wade decision. So this week I’ve AmericanStudied that case and a handful of other histories and stories of abortion in the U.S., leading up to this weekend post on the current laws and debates.]
ongoing aftermaths of the June 2022 Dobbs decision.
Anti-abortion laws: The most dramatic and
divisive aftermath of Dobbs has been
the spate of
extremist laws through which state legislatures have sought to limit (or, more
entirely) abortion. Even more troubling have been the number of legislators
who have felt free to express their opposition to abortion in even the most
extreme circumstances, including in far too many instances child
rape. Given how much the anti-abortion movement relies on narratives of
protecting children’s lives, that last detail is particularly telling about
which children and which lives the movement does and does not value.
Marriage rights: As extreme as those ongoing
responses have been, they’re far from the only stunningly reactionary
aftermaths and applications to Dobbs
we’ve seen in the last half-year. Because the Court’s decision more broadly brought
into question the idea of a
Constitutional right to privacy, various conservative forces have read the
decision as a license to attack another recently guaranteed federal right—the right
of all Americans to marry the partner of their choice. That includes not
only same-sex marriage but also, and perhaps even more stunningly still, interracial marriage.
To say that these forces wish to bring America back
to the 1950s is, if anything, an understatement.
The future of the Court: In one of my first
HuffPost columns, nearly seven
years ago now, I made the case that the Supreme Court has always been
political. I would still argue the same, and it’s an important thing to
remember; but nonetheless, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Court has
openly partisan in recent years, thanks in no small measure to the three
Justices appointed by our insurrectionist
former president. Which means it might well be time to seriously consider
expanding the Court, an idea that becomes much easier to contemplate when we
recognize that the number
of Justices is not Constitutional and has varied and evolved throughout our
history. I don’t take such changes lightly, but neither do I—nor should we—see the
Court as sacrosanct, for precisely the reason that it has always been part of
our political debates and processes. In any case, in the aftermath of Dobbs, we can and must think about all
ways to fight for the Court, the laws, and the nation we need.
series starts Monday,
do you think?