Elections have consequences. One of the all-time worst consequences came after the death of human rights trailblazer Ruth Bader Ginsburg, with a third conservative Trump appointee to the Supreme Court. Take that in. “Three conservative Trump appointees” is the nightmare scenario many of us dreaded when Trump was installed to the US presidency.
Going back further, since John Roberts became chief justice in 2005, one could argue he has done more damage than anyone to our democracy using his incremental approach. Whether the federal Voting Rights Act, organized labor laws, or restrictions on political spending by corporations, Roberts had gutted protections using a series of cases to chip away at precedent.
Under the first President Bush, in the 1991 Rust v. Sullivan case, then deputy US solicitor general Roberts signed a brief that asserted Roe v. Wade lacked support in the Constitution’s text and history. SCOTUS ruled in the Bush administration’s favor letting the government forbid abortion-related counseling at federally funded clinics, but declined to review Roe.
It is no accident that the current SCOTUS with the 6-3 conservative majority will hear a case that could cripple Row v Wade, if not completely defeat it. Prior to the 6-3 conservative majority, SCOTUS had consistently refused to hear cases over a pre-viability abortion ban. But now Roberts and the Supreme Court are set to make possibly their most consequential decision yet, in the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Things are looking bleak.
But in September, Roberts broke with the conservatives when the majority refused to temporarily halt the Texas ban on abortions after six weeks. Roberts has also been trying to shore up public confidence in the Supreme Court’s impartiality. Roberts steers the court and assigns the opinion. That means our voices still matter to Roberts. The court will take up the Mississippi case this week. If you’re in DC on Wednesday, December 1st, the Women’s March and the ACLU are organizing. Please join in the demonstrations.
Chicago native Lorraine Evanoff earned her degree in French from DePaul University then became a Certified Financial Manager. She worked as a finance exec in film production for seven years in Paris, then in Silicon Valley during the dot-com era, and later for various Hollywood production companies, notably as CFO of National Lampoon. She is currently living in Los Angeles with her husband.