April 19, 2007

Supreme Court Upholds Late Abortion Ban: Right-wing Judicial Activism Run Amok

I’m actually very amused by the turn of phrase against the Right of the term “judicial activism.” It’s a dirty term, polluted by conservative idealogues who were desperately seeking a way to describe even the smallest judicial ruling that they disagreed with. I almost take exception to using it in this situation; but in this case it’s not a matter of agreeing, or a matter of smallness – this issue is huge, and will have a chilling effect on not only women’s rights in America in the future, but also human rights around the world. America is often looked to as an example of human rights, and nations far less willing to allow their peoples the ability to control their own lives, their own destinies, and at heart- their own families, will follow in the footsteps of this decision in a sad and painful way.

By now we all know the Supreme Court’s decision, but the truly sad part is that the Court decided to abandon decades of precedence and prior ruling to uphold the ban, doing exactly what President Bush chose his nominees to do- sway the court of so-called “moral” issues that are critical energizing issues for the conservative base’s religious, evangelical, and socially fascist elements – those people who believe that the government has every right to tell American citizens not only what they can and cannot do with their bodies in a medical situation (a la Terri Schaivo), but those who believe that your body does and should belong to the State, that the government and the church should have every right to enforce and choose when, how, and with what method a woman or a family has a child but cares little about the future rearing of that child, and so on. These are the folks who truly believe that their misguided interpretation of religion, or in other cases their misguided interpretation of what powers a government should have (eg, you can tell me how or when to or not to have a child, but you can’t keep me from arming myself and shooting my neighbors) gives them just cause to impose their will on millions of Americans who are perfectly capable of directing their own lives. It’s saddening.

Even so, the Justices that begged and pleaded with the Senate before their confirmation hearings that they would not bring a political agenda to the court and won votes because of their convincing act have done exactly as they were tapped to do now that they’ve been allowed to make a crucial decision like this. Future women’s and human rights cases will stall and hesitate before coming to the Supreme Court for justice, just as planned, and this opens the door to future abortion bans and reproductive rights restrictions that the anti-choice crowd have been wringing their hands in glee to push through various state and the federal legislatures for years now.

Over at Alternet, there’s an excellent rundown of the turnabout that the most recently confirmed justices made in their attempts to highlight their multi-sided work before and through the confirmation hearings, but their gleeful demeanor at overturning previous legislation at their first real opportunity. As thrilled as the mainstream and progressive communities have been at some of the court’s rulings to date, this proves that all it takes is one incredibly contentious issue (and interestingly, one seat) to swing the court backwards from America’s great tradition of individual rights and freedoms.

[ Supreme Court Upholds Late Abortion Ban: Right-wing Judicial Activism Run Amok ]
Source: Alternet

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