Roe v Wade Fallout: Does Clarence Thomas Want to ‘Reconsider’ Gay Marriage and Contraception Rights?
Headline Roundup June 27th, 2022
While Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito argued the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade could not be applied to issues like contraception and same-sex marriage, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested the court should “reconsider” those cases.
The divergence between Alito’s majority opinion and Thomas’ concurring opinion fueled renewed fears that some rights might be less secure than previously thought. Thomas specifically argued that the court should revisit “substantive due process precedents” — including Griswold v. Connecticut (contraception), Lawrence v. Texas (same-sex intimacy) and Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage) — because they resulted in the “fabrication” of constitutional rights. The court’s liberal justices appeared concerned about Thomas’ argument, writing in their dissent that “no one should be confident that this majority is done with its work.”
In response, Democrats like Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) said it was “a very dangerous time for people who care about human rights and civil liberties.” Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told “Fox News Sunday” that same-sex marriage and contraception rights were safe because they did not deal with “the potential for life.”
Coverage in left-rated outlets was more common and often discussed the “danger” to women’s rights and the “fears” of LGBTQ people. Coverage from the right often framed Thomas favorably; the Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) prominently featured a feel-good story on how Thomas “gets away from it all.”
A predictable chorus of critics has risen to excoriate Justice Clarence Thomas for — in the chorus’s view — hypocritically excluding a case that established a constitutional right to interracial marriage from a list of constitutional rights Thomas believes should be overturned along with Roe v. Wade (1973). A very brief sampling of the criticism is included below; the alleged hypocrisy cited by the critics is that Thomas, who is Black, is married to a white woman. Therefore, according to the critics, Thomas is refusing to jettison a constitutional right he enjoys while simultaneously trouncing the rights enjoyed by others.
The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a woman’s right to choose is a reminder that state and local penal codes are littered with lots of regulations rendered moot by court rulings. Like a filing cabinet that’s never cleaned out, these dead laws just sit there collecting dust, presumably never to be heard of again.
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Within a matter of weeks, roughly half of the 50 states will likely ban or severely restrict abortion. We know this to be true because, for the half-century that Roe v. Wade reigned supreme, every Republican in a safely red state told us so.
Now, the Supreme Court has democratized the abortion question, returning the issue that remained in an effectively 50-50 deadlock for 50 years to the states as the Constitution intended.
The same people who brought us half a decade of apoplectic panic about Russia/Facebook/Republicans directly murdering American democracy are now in, well,...