“The Beginning Of The End”

By Danny Moran

Upon the ruling of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade [1973], and subsequently Planned Parenthood v. Casey [1992], Clarence Thomas (an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States) has called on the court to overrule three key civil rights rulings including: Griswold v Connecticut [1965], Lawrence v. Texas [2003] and Obergefell v. Hodges [2015]. If the Supreme Court was to overturn these rulings, the buying and use of contraceptives would be restricted, same-sex sexual activity would be made illegal along with the barring of same-sex marriage.

These cases are at risk due to most, if not all, of them relying on the Court’s decision that the ‘right to privacy’ is provided by the US Constitution. For example, Roe v. Wade allowed for a pregnant woman to make the decision as to whether she would abort her pregnancy or not due to the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of liberty.

However, the overturning of this case, due to the majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization [2022], means that the same fate may soon be faced by all other cases reliant upon the ‘right to privacy’. With Dobbs stating that an abortion, and subsequently the right to privacy, is not a constitutional right, everything which Americans have fought for over the past fifty years is at threat. The end of Roe marks the beginning, not the end, of judicial overreach by the court’s conservative majority.

This ideological shift of the Supreme Court began when President Trump won the 2016 election. Upon his nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, a woman who was outspoken against abortion before she was appointed, the Supreme Court’s ideological shift allowed for Dobbs to be a channel to challenge both Casey and Roe. With more than twenty states having prepared legislation, including the passage of thirteen trigger laws, it was obvious that Dobbs would overturn Roe and Casey and that abortion would be strictly regulated across the USA.

With Supreme Court Justice Thomas stating that “substantive due process conflicts with the textual command”, it is no surprise that he calls for the elimination of this from their “jurisprudence at the earliest opportunity”. However, this would also mean the ending of Loving v. Virginia [1967], a landmark ruling, which Thomas did not name, by the Supreme Court which struck down all laws prohibiting interracial marriage within the USA, due to its reliance on the substantive due process doctrine – the doctrine which Thomas is calling an end for. This ruling was also cited in several of the cases which Thomas had wanted to overrule including Obergefell 2015 (same-sex marriage). However, this would mean that Thomas’ own interracial marriage would be deemed illegal in certain states had the Supreme Court not used ‘substantive due process’. With other Justices, including Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh, stating that Loving should not be revisited despite its reliance on substantive due process’, it puts into question the real reasoning behind the desire to overturn these landmark cases.

The end of the right to abortion in the USA will lead to severe consequences around the world. With Roe V. Wade causing storms of liberal reproductive laws around the globe from 1973, it’s overturning is sure to lead to the empowerment of anti-abortion pressure groups and threaten the reproductive rights of women everywhere. This is only the beginning of the end.

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