What are the implications of the Supreme Court ruling going to be?
The annulment of Roe v. Wade marks the only case in US history in which a right that has existed for 50 years has been removed. The only close parallel would be the removal of civil rights for African Americans after Reconstruction (1865-77). On that occasion, the defining Plessy v. Ferguson decision came 28 years after the ratification of the 14th Amendment, which granted citizenship to former slaves. This represents a significant decrease in rights for women. Reproductive rights are a cornerstone of gender equality. It is an effort to return women to a position of second-class citizenship. It will certainly energize those who want abortion to be illegal in the United States. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 26 states are likely to ban abortion almost immediately. It will also energize supporters of abortion rights, as the midterm campaign for Democrats appears to be clouded.
The abortion issue is extremely divisive, but only Republicans have made it a priority.
Why has abortion become such a divisive issue in the US?
The abortion issue is extremely divisive, but only Republicans have made it a priority. Given the one-man electoral system in the United States, both parties are made up of political coalitions that do not necessarily agree on all important issues. The Republican Party today is made up of a group of “main street” conservatives interested in low taxes, light regulation, and traditionally free trade, with a growing number of white working-class voters affected by the loss of white-collar jobs. blue in an era of growing inequality, consistent with much of the Western world, and social or religious conservatives who are more concerned with what they see as the moral decline of the nation. These voters also fear the social changes that have turned the United States into a multiracial democracy, bringing with it their own loss of status and influence. White Christian conservatives are perhaps the largest Republican voting bloc and they’ve been hell-bent on overturning Roe v. Wade. This emphasis has been employed through a sustained effort to control the judiciary, both federal and state, and to gain control of state legislatures. And it has been successful. The Republicans have given priority to the selection of judges and, especially, those of the Supreme Court, while the Democrats have not. Of course, since the federal judiciary has lifetime appointments, judges serve for decades. John Marshall, the most notable justice of the early American Republic, served as Chief Justice for 34 years. His successor, Roger Taney, was for 28 years. In addition, the increase in life expectancy means that judges who decide for themselves when they retire have a longer mandate.
The growing polarization of American politics makes the confirmation process for each appointment more contentious. Both Democrats and Republicans have increasingly used tactical advantage to defeat candidates. Republicans believe Democrats unfairly treated Robert Bork, whose nomination failed, as well as the successful nominations of Clarence Thomas and, more recently, Brett Kavanaugh. Democrats argue that the refusal to grant Obama’s candidate, Merrick Garland, a hearing was an unprecedented violation. As the Court has become more conservative, the Roe v Wade decision has been repeatedly undermined. The Court has allowed abortion to be restricted, but not prohibited. But the Court is as conservative today as it has been at any time since the early 1930s, at the beginning of the New Deal. The five Republicans in the apparent majority are no longer willing to devise half measures to undermine abortion rights. Furthermore, it would not be a surprise if they undermined the modern American state in ever-wider ways. The Court in 2013 eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which protected the rights of African Americans to vote. In 2010 they reversed campaign finance regulations from a century ago. The essence of Alito’s project is that any right that he considers not sufficiently grounded in American history can be reversed. School desegregation, interracial marriage, and same-sex marriage could be challenged by this logic. Only the citizenship of property-owning white men is assured.
Conservatives have found ways to limit the protections of the 14th and 15th Amendments. I think there will be a growing conflict between those determined to protect abortion rights in Democrat-controlled states versus efforts to ban it in Democratic-controlled states. by Republicans. And with more than half of abortions now performed through medication, Republican states will look beyond their borders for their regulations. The infamous Dred Scott decision of 1857, in which Chief Justice Roger Taney held that Dred Scott, a black man, could never be an American citizen, indeed no one of African descent could be, brought the United States several steps closer towards civil war. Fratricidal confrontation is unlikely. Rich countries often find ways to resolve their differences. But this decision, if the project stands, is another indication of the dangers facing American democracy, along with former President Trump’s recent effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and the willingness of most voters Republicans to support their discredited claims of a stolen election.
What role is abortion going to play in the midterm campaign?
I am not sure that the decision will play a significant role in the legislative elections. Since Roe v. Wade, it has been rare for supporters of abortion rights to prioritize this issue. Opponents of abortion rights have been far more successful in creating political opposition to abortion rights. Right now the Democrats are expected to suffer heavy losses in the House of Representatives this fall, and are likely to lose the Senate as well. High inflation is taking its toll on the party in power. The inability to get the “Build Back Better” program passed creates the image of a dysfunctional majority. It is plausible that the loss of a right causes an increase in participation, but enough to affect the electoral results is an open question.