What Constitutional Rights Will The High Court Undo Next?By Cash Michaels, Peacemaker Senior Contributor / July 1, 2022
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The day after the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that Roe v. Wade would no longer give women the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy, a Facebook post put it best:
“Nothing like drinking your first cup of coffee in America where our so-called freedoms are being eroded by the court. Police no longer have to [Mirandize] you. Women have no control over their bodies and you can carry a gun damn near anywhere. Amerikka!”
What the writer was referring to was the High Court’s whirlwind blizzard of jaw-dropping decisions last week that fundamentally changed the America from what most citizens had taken for granted.
On Thursday, June 23rd, by a 6-3 vote, the high justices ruled that in fact police don’t have to advise suspects of their right to remain silent, their right to speak to an attorney, and their right to have an attorney present during interrogations by police, primarily because technically there is no constitutional right to any of that. And thus, suspects who are not Mirandized have no legal basis to later file suit against authorities. All protections are not removed upon arrest, the court said, but essentially, the police are now more protected than ever before.
Before most people could catch their breaths about that ruling, on the same day, again by a 6-3 margin, the conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court shot down New York state’s restriction on who can carry a concealed weapon in public. The ruling reportedly affects six states plus Washington, D.C., and may spur future litigation as to who can and cannot carry a concealed firearm.
And then of course, Friday, June 24th brought the decision to end all decisions. By 6-3, the High Court, decided that after nearly fifty years, women did not have a constitutional entitlement to a medically safe abortion.
So now, states that want to maintain that right for women can. And states that want to outlaw abortion within their borders, can do so as well. immediately. Many advocates say the ruling will hurt poor women of color the most.
“This decision will affect everyone, but the impact will fall hardest on who already face barriers to care: Black and Brown women, those who live in rural areas or have lower incomes and can’t afford to cross state lines for care, young people and LGBTQ people, and women in abusive relationships,” said N.C. Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12).
So legal experts are now asking, “What basic constitutional rights are next on the target list?” Black conservative jurist Justice Clarence Thomas, the longest serving member of the High Court, wrote in his concurring opinion that the court “should consider” looking at it’s past rulings granting the right to contraception access, same-sex relationships and same-sex marriages.
Pres. Biden warned that now “a whole range of rights’ are on the chopping block. The court’s liberal minority wrote that the conservative majority is not done with its work. The LGBTQ community warns that the conservative majority is signaling an era of expanded restrictions on personal privacy.
In short, there is no such thing as “settled law” if the conservative majority follows Justice Thomas’s lead to roll back the rights of the past fifty years on the High Court.
Like a wise man once said, “Elections have consequences.”