Can you stand one more post about the Supreme Court’s attack on our fundamental freedoms?
To begin with, when he was asked to comment on Alito’s draft decision, “Mayor Pete” knocked it out of the park. You need to watch this.
Then, in a Facebook Post, my lawyer friend David Honig pointed to Alito’s deeply dishonest “history.”
May I take a moment to comment on one aspect of the shocking dishonesty of Alito’s draft abortion opinion? It’s just one, but it highlights the rest.
Alito and his ilk claim to be “originalists,” wise jurists who look to the meaning of words at the time the Constitution was written, in 1789, to glean their meaning.
One fact first. The 9th Amendment says, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” That means there are rights that aren’t written down, rights that people retain. That would include all the rights, according to an “originalist,” that they held in 1789.
So Alito, in his draft decision, spent paragraphs on the sudden explosion of anti-abortion laws in the mid 19th Century, many decades after the writing of the Constitution, to support his position that abortion wasn’t an existing right to be preserved.
Why would he do that? Why would an “originalist” look, not to the time of the writing of the Constitution, but to a century later, for the very core of the originalist argument?
Because he’s a damned liar.
During Colonial times abortion was quite common. The usual method was actually drinking oil of peppermint, or perhpas black root or cedar root, carefully measured to be enough to cause spontaneous abortion, while not threatening the life of the mother. In English colonies, contrary to Alito’s blatant lie that abortion was illegal from the beginning of Common Law, it was legal until “quickening,” when the fetus could be felt moving.
So my point here isn’t to dive headlong into the abortion debate.
My point is to start the discussion with a fact – the opinion coming down is a lie premised on a lie based on lies.
Whatever you think of abortion, this must color what you think of the Court. The United States Supreme Court has been an actor for good and for ill in our nation over time. The same entity that gave us Plessy vs. Ferguson gave us Brown vs. Board of Education.
But today, that Court is giving us lies in favor of a political, and to some extent religious,* opinion, and doing so boldly and without apology. The end justifies the means, even if it means the United States Supreme Court is a filthy den of liars with as much credibility as the three card monty player on a dingy street corner.
As a man who has spent nearly 40 years working for and believing in the rule of law, while recognizing it is imperfect, the indisputable fact that it is now, from its highest temple, not merely imperfect, but dishonest, is crushing.
Finally, in a footnote, David warns us not to underestimate the degree to which the opinion codifies a conservative version of Christianity as our nation’s one true religion and source of law; as he notes, other religions do not hold the same tenets about abortion that Alito privileges in his dishonest diatribe. Jewish law, for example, considers abortion permissible, as do several Christian denominations. This Court prides itself on what it calls “religious liberty,” but–as David points out–it is really protecting and elevating one version of Christianity, while ignoring the liberties of those who hold different religious, beliefs.
It’s America’s version of Sharia law.