As conservatives celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision to strip millions of women of their right to choose, historian Michael Beschloss warns that striking down Roe v. Wade could lead to a second civil war.

Friday’s despicable ruling by the six conservative judges on the high court was still shocking despite an earlier leak of the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito in May. It ignored decades of precedent and demonstrated that Alito and several of his colleagues lied to Congress during their confirmation hearings when they declared that Roe v Wade is settled law.

The new ruling strips 80 million Americans of their reproductive rights and medical privacy. And the conservatives on the court are not done yet. In a concurring opinion, Clarence Thomas called for the court to overturn other landmark rulings.

“In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell,” he wrote.

Overturning these rulings would criminalize contraception, privacy in the bedroom, and same-sex marriage. It also opens the door to strike down rulings on segregation, and interracial marriage. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has also already vowed to jam a national abortion ban through Congress, obliterating the idea that this is about state’s rights.

It’s a full-on conservative assault on all our rights. And according to Beschloss, this could trigger a new civil war.

Indeed, half the nation now lives under virtual authoritarian rule just as millions of black slaves did in the pre-Civil War South. While not quite the same, it’s still a miserable way to live. Women no longer have control over their own reproductive decisions and bodily autonomy. They are being threatened with prosecution and even execution. The anger generated by this ruling is powerful. As Republicans continue their assault on democracy and attempt to rig elections, it’s going to create a feeling of powerlessness that will force Americans to turn to violence in the fight for their rights and freedom.

The Supreme Court is now an illegitimate institution that is aiding and abetting the GOP plot to establish minority authoritarian control of the country. Voting may no longer be enough to secure our rights. The question is what will it take to push Americans over the edge? It appears we are reaching that edge today. Many conservatives have desired a second civil war for quite some time. They should be careful what they wish for because people tend to fight harder when they actually have something worth fighting for.

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