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Put on your protest shoes

The majority of the Supreme Court in the Dobbs (abortion) decision wrote that upholding state anti-abortion laws was necessary because abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, is not of long standing in history, and therefore cannot be a “right” derived from the equal protection or substantive due process clauses. Legal gobbledygook? Yep. What’s it really mean?

Justice Samuel Alito says it means nothing more than a decision about abortion. Justice Clarence Thomas says it raises questions about other “rights” such as contraception and same-sex marriage. Justice Stephen Breyer, in dissent, says (in my translation): “Don’t trust the majority! More erosion of rights is coming!” 

Breyer’s right. We have a bunch of personal rights that will evaporate under the court’s reasoning. What are those rights? 



Under “common law” we have a lot of them. The common law is simply those rules and principles that we use in our daily lives to get along with each other. You have the right to have a dog, buy a house, work, walk the street, elect representatives, eat and drink, protect yourself, and be free of invasions of your privacy (your home, your mail, your sleep, your sex life, your beliefs, etc.). 

They used to include a right to abort, but no longer. But doesn’t that mean those other common law rights are also potentially not protected by the Constitution? Damn right! Under Alito’s reasoning, unless mentioned in the Constitution or history, there is no constitutional right to privacy or any other common law right, including Justice Thomas’ interracial marriage. None of the common law rights that govern our day-to-day relationships to each other and our government are now protected under our Constitution. Any state or Congress may now simply take away our right, for example, to own a pet.




It’s time to march in the streets!

Parker Maddux

Basalt


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