Now that the Supreme Court, two thirds of whose members are Catholic, has agreed (6 to 3) with the Pope that a woman has no constitutional right to choose, what’s its next target?
The designated hitter?
You see, the originalists on the court believe that anything that wasn’t trending in 1788 is suspect today. Abortion isn’t mentioned in the U.S. Constitution and was outlawed or severely restricted in some, but not all, jurisdictions in the dim dark past, so how can it be a protected right today, according to this antiquated logic?
The question here, of course, is which came first: the logic or the opinion?
Here’s another example of contemporary Supreme “reasoning.” In his opinion in favor of allowing people to carry guns around on both hips like it’s Tombstone circa 1881, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that New York state has very strict gun laws, but they didn’t prevent the recent mass shooting in Buffalo, where ten people were murdered.
This is the sort of argument in service to pre-existing opinions that is rife on the high court today. Such facile formulations will facilitate mass shootings tomorrow. At this writing there have been more than 250 mass shootings in America this year, more than one a day.
With all due respect, Sam, we have traffic laws, but they don’t prevent people from speeding or making improper turns. Is that an argument for lax traffic laws? Are they as futile as you perceive New York’s gun laws to be?
Or take murder, which is illegal, has been for years, and yet murders still occur at an alarming rate in this nation. Shall we dispense with laws against homicide?
It seems to me that logic suggests that lawmakers and judges should consider strengthening certain laws as opposed to mocking their effectiveness.
The purpose of laws, in addition to deterrence and punishment, is to establish shared societal values and set limits for acceptable citizen behavior. They are not adopted with the expectation that they will make the world perfect. They must teach this at the Yale Law School, where Alito matriculated after emerging from Princeton. Many of us learned it in middle school.
So where can you and I strut around with our Glocks, AR-15s, and rocket-propelled grenades? At our children’s schools, at the mall, on an airplane, in the galleries overlooking the U.S. Congress, or when arguing a case before the U.S. Supreme Court? After all, a right is a right, according to Yosemite Sam Alito. If the U.S. Constitution doesn’t ban guns in the halls of government or on public conveyances, who are we to second guess the Founding Fathers on this issue of life and death?
It is worth noting here that the Founding Fathers (there were no Founding Mothers, of course) disagreed on a lot, including on the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution that they had just created.
And if we really want to be totally originalist: shouldn’t the right to bear arms be predicated on the weapons that were available in 1788, like single shot flintlocks? The U.S. Constitution doesn’t mention AR-15s.
But back to a woman’s right to choose. The Fourteenth Amendment to our Constitution states, in part: “nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Your house may be safe from unreasonable government intrusion, but your womb isn’t. If the state wants to usurp control of women’s reproductive organs, let’s take that regulation to its logical, equal opportunity conclusion: shouldn’t we also regulate men and their procreative apparatus? The Old Testament rails again men who “spill their seed on the ground.” God put one man to death for this evil activity.
In the interest of “equal persecution,” shouldn’t the state regulate what we men can do with our life-giving essence?
David Holahan is a freelance writer from East Haddam.