After Yesterday’s Supreme Court Decision Roe Looks Doomed
That sound you heard emanating from the Supreme Court yesterday may well have been the unmistakably musical strains of the skids being greased.
The court, in a 5-4 vote, split along ideological lines in turning down an appeal to block the law that abortion rights advocates challenged as unconstitutional. The measure, adopted by Texas lawmakers in July, requires that abortion providers have a doctor on their staffs who has admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. By rejecting the request, the justices signaled they do not think the Texas law puts an unconstitutional barrier before women seeking an abortion. The Planned Parenthood Federation said the law had forced 12 of the state’s 36 licensed abortion providers to stop offering abortions.
Once again, as it did in Citizens United and in Shelby County, a majority of the court determned to demonstrate to the nation that its members do not live in the same world with the rest of us. In Citizens United, we learned that, in the world where the majority of the court resides, unlimited corporate spending in our elections does not result in even “the appearance of corruption.” In Shelby County, we learned that, in the world where the majority of the court resides, we have attained the Day Of Jubilee and institutional racism plays no significant role in the local laws governing elections. And yesterday, we learned that, in the world where the majority of the court resides, having no doctor legally capable of performing an abortion in 24 counties in a state the size of Texas does not place an “undue burden” on women who are attempting to exercise their constitutional right. As always, it was Antonin (Short Time) Scalia, who is impatient with the fig leaves of civility and moderation with which the majority of the court usually cloaks its affection for authoritarian mischief, who cut to the chase.
Justice Antonin Scalia, in defending the high court’s action, said Breyer and the abortion rights advocates had no basis for “asserting that the [Texas] law is even probably unconstitutional.” He said Planned Parenthood had not “carried the heavy burden” of showing the law was unconstitutional, adding that there was “no special ‘status quo’ standard for laws affecting abortion.” Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. signed on to Scalia’s statement.