Tuesday, May 03, 2022


You have heard the news, and may have read Alito’s draft decision, which is every bit the nightmare everyone says it is. (As to the widespread charge that Democrats rather than Republicans somehow leaked the draft, which was immediately offered by rightwingers as The Real Outrage, one would have to be an idiot to believe it, and idiots will.)

Among many other things, Alito makes much of ancient prohibitions on abortion according to “Anglo-American common law tradition,” as one might use that same tradition to defend the burning of witches and torture confessions -- not to mention laws against sodomy, contraception, interracial marriage, et alia. He is also keen on whether a presumed right is “deeply rooted in this Nation's history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty” -- which happen to be the same rationales used by Justice White when he upheld Georgia’s anti-sodomy law in Bowers v. Hardwick

And of course this is the plan:  A return to the before-time where certain members of society had all the rights, on the basis of laws from the eras of slavery and feudalism. (Look up “court,” “sodomy,” and “time immemorial” and see what you get.) 

So there is no reason at all to take seriously Alito’s ridiculous assertion that any other personal liberties that were codified by other Supreme Court decisions will not be affected by this one because “they do not support the right to obtain an abortion.” If they can get this one, they can and will get the others, perhaps while assuring us that the ones they haven’t gotten to yet are still protected -- at least at first. 

It's something to have been alive both for the dawn of Roe and its demise, but it’s important to remember that history is bigger than our individual lifetimes. While Alito and his fellow ghouls reach back to the Middle Ages for their illiberal precedents, we know that there have been times more recent when liberties were affirmed and expanded, and their blessings enjoyed by people still living. History does not suggest this is a one-and-done affair and that we have to slink back to the caves. But we may have to fight to keep ourselves from being pushed into them. 

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