Despite paying outspoken lip service to precedent during public confirmation hearings and in private meetings with gullible senators such as Susan Collins, conservative justices of the U.S. Supreme Court went nuclear on Friday with Roe v. Wade. Overturning this landmark ruling, the Court blew up a nearly 50-year precedent, historically swiping a constitutional right away from Americans. As disturbing as the new Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling is, this now-medieval tribunal makes us wonder what hateful decision may be on the docket next.
In his opinion, Justice Samuel Alito tries to assure the sane among us: “Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.” Not only is Alito’s credibility in the sewer, but what of Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrence? In that separate opinion, Thomas smugly muses the opposite: “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” stressing the Court’s “duty to ‘correct the error.’”
In case someone thinks this is part of some “principled“ conservative reasoning that should be respected as a different view than what we might share, just consider what’s really going on. Griswold is about married couples’ access to birth control, Lawrence prevents states from criminalizing consensual sex between any adults, and Obergefell removed the odious restriction that only a man and a woman may enjoy the benefits, legal and otherwise, of marriage.
Speaking of marriage, what about interracial marriage? Does Thomas think that should be on the chopping block, too? Loving v. Virginia, which was decided in 1967, six years before Roe, established Americans’ right to marry regardless of race. That case played an integral role in the Obergefell case in 2015. While Thomas lists Obergefell as fair game, he conveniently omits Loving, on which his marriage to insurrectionist Ginni Thomas has relied for some 35 years. This prompted Jim Obergefell (the plaintiff in the same-sex marriage case) to call Thomas’ statement “quite telling.” Speaking on MSNBC, Obergefell noted that the Loving case “affects [Thomas] personally, but he doesn’t care about the LGBTQ+ community.” This is good ol’ Republican hypocrisy on display.