CSotD: Supreme Indifference

Jack Ohman (WPWG) notes the obvious lack of consistency in the pro-life movement, which has a dominant foothold on the Supreme Court.

Whether it rises to the level of conscious hypocrisy or is more along the lines of willful blindness really doesn’t matter to that woman clinging to the overturned Roe boat (a nice and applicable pun).

There was, however, a stubborn selectivity in evidence yesterday.

Mississippi’s Attorney General argued that there is nothing in the Constitution specifically allowing abortion, to which Sonia Sotomayor responded that there are a lot of things — including Marbury v Madison — that are not specifically laid out in the Constitution:

(I)n Casey and in Roe, the Court said there is inherent in our structure that there are certain personal decisions that belong to individuals and the states can’t intrude on them. We’ve recognized them in terms of the religion parents will teach their children. We’ve recognized it in their ability to educate at home if they choose. They just have to educate them. We have recognized that sense of privacy in people’s choices about whether to use contraception or not. We’ve recognized it in their right to choose who they’re going to marry. I fear none of those things are written in the Constitution. They have all, like Marbury versus Madison, been discerned from the structure of the Constitution.


Smart lady, that Sonia Sotomayor. Unfortunately, as Kevin Siers points out, she’s a smart lady who — along with Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan — is clearly not in the majority on the court, thanks largely to the machinations of Mitch McConnell.

I doubt the decision will be surprising, and I doubt whether yesterday’s discussion had any influence beyond, perhaps, helping the majority built a skeleton upon which to drape their verdict.

The biggest barrier the conservatives face is stare decisis, the principle that precedence should be honored unless there are outstanding reasons to overturn it.

As Ari Melber pointed out on Twitter, Brett Kavanaugh was firmly in favor of stare decisis in his confirmation hearings but has changed his mind since then.

To which I would add that potential SCOTUS justices are invariably unwilling to answer hypothetical questions in their confirmation hearings, but they sure don’t mind asking them once they’ve been confirmed.

This exchange was so stunningly hypothetical that I assumed, listening on the radio, it was the Beer Drinker and not Samuel Alito, who should know better and probably does:

Alito’s argument is that we didn’t need to wait until 1954 to recognize the errors in Plessy v Ferguson, but his supposition that the same court that decided it in 1896 would change their mind a year later is utterly ridiculous.

But what answer could anyone make? I ain’t no lawyer, but I know you can’t win your case by pointing out that the judge is being a horse’s ass, even if you preface the observation by saying, “With all due respect, your honor …”


The fix was in, and Ann Telnaes cuts through the bafflegab and pretense to explain exactly where women stand in the eyes of the conservative community.

Not just in this, mind you.

Jen Sorensen dropped this analysis before SCOTUS narrowed things down to the status of women as sinful but necessary child-bearers, which she frames in terms of Nancy Pelosi’s haircut rather than Kamala Harris’s cooking pot, though both examples illustrate her thesis.

And it should be pointed out that this is not an entirely male issue. Replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Amy Coney Barrett was as big a slap in the face to women as replacing Thurgood Marshall with Clarence Thomas was to Black Americans.

Thus spake Ginsburg’s replacement:

It is beneath the dignity of this blog to point out the meaning of the Associate Justice’s maiden name or its relevance to her notion that the current debate is over parenthood rather than pregnancy. though it might be relevant to point out that she has seven children, two of them adopted, while the national average number of kids in an American family is 1.93.


It might also be fair commentary to let Mrs. Betty Bowers add her analysis. In fact, who better?


But it’s not funny, and Marc Murphy notes the impact of allowing decisions to be made by heartless theocrats, including the one who taught at our mutual alma mater, which I would point out has slid onto the far right fringe since the days when Father Hesburgh chaired the Civil Rights Commission, appointed a gay black man to our alumni board and invited Mario Cuomo to come explain how Catholic politicians could support a woman’s right to choose.

I’d say “You had to be there,” but, given where the school stands today, it embarrasses me that I ever was.

I was, however, there when abortion was illegal and I promise you, you can no more stop women from attempting to terminate an unwanted pregnancy than you can stop people from obtaining and drinking alcohol, and I remember far too well the days when young girls died in back alleys and in dorm rooms.

All the pro-life laws ever did was to make safe procedures nearly impossible to find for anyone without the money and privilege and parental support to get a discreet D&C from their family doctor.

The legal jeopardy, and the societal shaming, made hypocrites and liars out of women who had had abortions but were afraid to admit it, until Ms Magazine invited a group of prominent heroes to declare themselves in 1972, a year before Roe v Wade legalized their actions.

Unless you’ve been there yourself — and I include male lovers who have held weeping women in their arms — you need to STFU and MYOB.


And so I salute Dr. MacLeod not only for pointing out the deadly alternative that conservatives offer women, but for accurately untwisting the hanger to show the horrific brutality of how it is used in a world with no safe alternatives.


This war is not over, and RJ Matson shows the blithe disinterest shown to women by the self-righteous prudes who used this same states-rights argument to delay women’s suffrage and to prolong both slavery and then Jim Crow.


8 thoughts on “CSotD: Supreme Indifference

  1. My evangelical neighbors are convinced their pro-life. In conversations with them they are certainly pro-birth, but would rather not face the facts of actually raising a child.

  2. Yesterday they were talking about the abortion pill on the radio. I found Mifeprex online for $139 good for up to 12 weeks of pregnancy delivered in an unmarked box.

  3. Ann Telnaes’ cartoon reflects what I believe to be a common mistaken stereotype among the so-called pro-life crowd – that those who seek abortions are young, unmarried, carefree and careless indulgers in recreational sex. Multiple studies (that I don’t have readily at hand) have shown the inaccuracy of those assumptions. In my own limited knowledge of friends who had abortions, only one of the four was unmarried and another was a grandmother. The adoption argument hinges on other assumptions – that the pregnant woman is healthy herself and that her child will be as well – that are equally open to error. And don’t get me started on that “if you don’t want kids, don’t have sex” argument!

  4. Interesting that a large company cannot mandate vaccines (or masks- or tests) for the health of its employees and customers, but a 12 year old raped by her father can be made to carry it to term before leaving it on ACB’s doorstep.

    And Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed at MS Douglas HS, draws a parallel between carrying babies to term and then not caring to keep them from getting shot to death on the way to class.

  5. @Louis
    Again, that fails to consider the reality that there are couples who are married or in other committed long-term relationships who do not want any or any more children and who know that all forms of birth control can fail. Is it realistic to expect them to just quit having sex?
    I’ve been saying since before Roe v Wade that if even half the money and energy that have gone into fighting about abortion had gone into preventing unplanned pregnancies (education, affordable health care, affordable reliable birth control, etc.), we wouldn’t need to still be fighting.

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