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Women’s rights assaulted in Supreme Court shadows

By Staff | Oct 21, 2021

To the editor:

The Supreme Court, often referred to as Nixon’s revenge, has long been a bulwark of economic aristocracy. Traditionally guardian of the prerogatives of privilege, few sitting Justices are educated outside an elite law school. The sorry history of the court has included such disastrous decisions such as an OK for slavery and segregation. Few imagined that the Court could more sharply cleave towards autocracy in our lifetime.

Never before has the Court so ardently demonstrated partisan pandering to their appointing patrons. Seldom has the court so adhered to the doctrine to “Dance with the one who brung you.” No less than five of the nine justices have felt compelled to proclaim this year that the court is not political. No sitting Justice ever before felt compelled to make that assertion. Just as Nixon was the first President who felt he needed to declare, “I am not a crook.” the perception is these preemptive protestations are akin to a confession made in reverse.

Note that Chief Justice Roberts, a Bush appointee, has allowed the emergency docket to be used as a shadow docket from which to attack women’s rights. This double breast docket does not carry the full hearing and decision making process of a Court decision. Using it as a dodge to allow “flagrantly unconstitutional” attacks on women seeking medical care, such as the Texas abortion ban, is an abuse of power. Roe v. Wade is nearly 50 years past “emergency.” Procedural chicanery to avoid the obligation of the court to abide by standing case law and uphold settled law is repugnant. Since the shadow docket is more informal, Roberts has tried to let it become a tool of evading scrutiny and the obligation of sticking to precedent.

While 80% of Catholic women support a woman’s choice, we now have six out of seven Catholics on the Court claiming an anti-abortion position. Two men on the court of nine deny testimony asserting their abuse of women. To the extent that the Court demands women’s bodies become regulatory punching bags there must be some new social policy served. Mere prurience masquerading as moral fervor is insufficient to review Roe and frankly un-American.

Our nation’s contribution to civilization is fealty to the words in the Constitution. Our catch phrase is, “Out of many ONE.” You get to be a leader in our free world if you eat at home with chopsticks or silver spoons. Your religion, sex, creed and color should not impede your success in life. But we must insist you legislate or adjudicate with an eye for the common good.

Attempts to undermine the full citizenship of women to please their patrons have created the need for the court partisans to seek work arounds to the legacy of eloquence the nation owes to Ruth B. Ginsberg. She has left little legal wiggle room. The shadow docket should not allow the court to attack women. The court ruled for female equality over 50 years ago. Today there is no urgency to upend that course.

Ellen Starbird

Cape Coral