The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 this week to allow a draconian Texas abortion law to take effect, drawing a furious rebuke from Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
The Texas law basically bans abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and allows any resident to sue any woman they suspect had an abortion and anyone who helped her obtain the procedure. It’s a law that has no business existing as it violates the right to privacy and the right of every woman to make her own reproductive decisions.
But rather than block the law as would usually happen when lawsuits are pending, the conservatives on the high allowed the law to take effect on September 1st, with only Chief Justice John Roberts siding with the court’s three liberals in opposition.
The decision effectively overturns Roe v. Wade in Texas, and other red states are now likely to pass similar laws, making the lives of women a total nightmare because they can now be controlled by total strangers under threat of lawsuits if they are even suspected of ending a pregnancy. Even natural miscarriages could result in a lawsuit.
In a scathing dissent, Justice Sotomayor slammed the conservative wing of the court for supporting this law instead of upholding decades of precedent.
“The Court’s order is stunning,” Sotomayor wrote. “Because the Court’s failure to act rewards tactics designed to avoid judicial review and inflicts significant harm on the applicants and on women seeking abortions in Texas, I dissent.”
“Presented with an application to enjoin a flagrantly unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evade judicial scrutiny, a majority of Justices have opted to bury their heads in the sand,” Sotomayor continued. “Last night, the Court silently acquiesced in a State’s enactment of a law that flouts nearly 50 years of federal precedents. Today, the Court belatedly explains that it declined to grant relief because of procedural complexities of the State’s own invention.”
“In effect, the Texas Legislature has deputized the State’s citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures,” Sotomayor said. “Taken together, the Act is a breathtaking act of defiance—of the Constitution, of this Court’s precedents, and of the rights of women seeking abortions throughout Texas.”
“This is untenable,” she concluded. “It cannot be the case that a State can evade federal judicial scrutiny by outsourcing the enforcement of unconstitutional laws to its citizenry. … [The] Court has rewarded the State’s effort to delay federal review of a plainly unconstitutional statute, enacted in disregard of the Court’s precedents, through procedural entanglements of the State’s own creation. The Court should not be so content to ignore its constitutional obligations to protect not only the rights of women, but also the sanctity of its precedents and of the rule of law.”
The Supreme Court just legalized right-wing vigilantism, demonstrating once again that the court under conservative majority rule is irresponsible and does not care about the Constitution. Democrats must end the filibuster in the Senate and pass a law to expand the court. It’s the only way to end fascism on the high court.
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