Yet again, the country has been rocked by unwelcome news about the U.S. Supreme Court and abortion rights. FFRF Director of Strategic Response Andrew L. Seidel hammers the court’s abrogation of its sworn duty in a new op-ed.
Religion Dispatches has published Seidel’s latest piece, “Goodbye Roe, hello violence and an out-of-control judiciary,” in which he is pulling no punches:
The Supreme Court overturned a constitutional right to health care, and effectively overturned Roe v. Wade, by doing nothing. Using the shadow docket, Justice Samuel Alito allowed a draconian dystopian misogynistic law to rob Texans of a basic constitutional right: bodily autonomy. The Texas law bans abortion when a heartbeat is detected, after about six weeks, long before most people know they’re pregnant, and establishes a truly dangerous bounty system that allows private citizens to sue anybody involved in procuring an abortion and rewards them with $10,000 and attorneys fees. There are no exceptions for rape or incest and the law will have little impact on the wealthy, who can simply fly to freer places. As always, this law will not stop abortions, it will only stop safe abortions.
This bounty system will choke the courts and drown abortion providers in lawsuits, which is the real point. If you thought evangelical churches were good at getting out the vote, wait until you see what havoc they wreak with this (preview). The bounties are nothing short of dystopian, more reminiscent of the morality police in Iran or the Taliban’s Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. When paired with our politically divided country and Texas’ new unlicensed open carry law that also took effect today, it’s a recipe for violence, which has already plagued abortion providers. Now their supporters feel like they have a license to hunt (which is not what the law says) and also happen to believe God is on their side. What could possibly go wrong? It’s tempting to say that they learned nothing from the violence on Jan. 6th, but that assumes that the lesson would be peaceful. They learned a different lesson.
The Constitution was subverted with judicial inaction. That’s how broken our courts are. This was only possible because the 5th Circuit is overrun with Trump judges. Captured, infested, overwhelmed — packed. The Supreme Court was only able to gut Roe by sitting on its hands because the 5th Circuit allowed a clearly unconstitutional law — a law that was deliberately unconstitutional — to go into effect. It overruled a lower court judge and cancelled judicial hearings on the law so that it could go into effect and rob Americans of their rights. This is what judicial activism looks like. It was a wanton disregard for the law and their sworn oath.
Seidel compares the court’s shadow docket dereliction here with its eagerness in religious freedom cases. He also cautions people about looking for solutions without addressing court reform. “This is existential,” he explains.
Please read the piece on Religion Dispatches and then share it on your social media so that people are aware of just how much is at stake and how we can solve the problem. Then start calling your senators.