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Among the most regrettable, if foreseeable, political consequences of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has been the rise of vehement and prolonged picketing outside the homes of the six conservative Supreme Court justices, both before and after the decision came down June 24.
The key controversy is whether this picketing is protected by the First Amendment or whether it is just the latest version of high-tech intimidation that should be banned by forcibly removing the pickets before violence occurs. Regrettably, too many First Amendment experts, like George Washington Law School Professor Jonathan Turley, have adopted what I termed a generation ago First Amendment exceptionalism. This dangerous attitude turns “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech” into a general mandate offering protection to all sorts of aggressive conduct, when the clause’s proper office is to prevent aggressive legislation from outlawing all forms of dissent displeasing or offensive to the powers that be.
Today, both the federal government and the states take the position that the only response to menacing pickets is to allow them to remain in place, while providing the targets of that picketing extensive security measures to prevent outright violence in ways consistent with recent legislation that affords the justices round-the-clock security “on par with those granted to some members of the executive and legislative branches.” The pickets use bullhorns, and their actions surely inhibit the free entry to and exit from these residences by the justices and their families. The presence of an armed guard only raises the bedlam. Multiple alternative forums are available to protest Dobbs, but this ugly combination of intimidation and invasion of privacy is tolerated as the new normal. Moving the demonstrators to another place would avoid these dreadful complications.
When pro-choice people are asked this question (and I suspect there are some courageous enough to try), I assume the recipients reject the question outright. It doesn’t fit into their world picture and certainly not into their reality. The Left would much rather talk about how abortion affects others in the abstract. Or they like […]
I won’t bother to ask if they respect life, that does not appear to be anywhere on the menu. But do they obey the law with regard to pharmacists and other health professionals to exercise their right to refuse to engage in a transaction that violates their conscience. This is an important question. If Life […]
Last week, the Supreme Court delivered two blockbuster opinions. The first, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, struck down a New York state law provision that required any person who wished to carry a concealed handgun in public to first demonstrate to a public official that they had “proper cause” to do so for self-defense. In practice, this meant that applicants had to show that they faced a special risk above and beyond the ordinary risks that everyone runs in society. The second, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, put an end to the forty-nine-year period in which Roe v. Wade (1973) guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion.
The response to both these decisions was strong and emphatic—from both sides. However, because the six conservative justices stuck together for both decisions, the left howled far louder than the right. Sadly, advocates on both sides treated their positions as self-evident truths, ignoring difficult conceptual and administrative challenges. Thus, in Dobbs, there was no middle ground. Forces on the right took great pleasure in concluding that Dobbs is a “triumph of democracy, constitutionalism, and courage,” and that the court rightly rejected living constitutionalism and returned the question of abortion rights to the people. The liberal dissenters asked not whether the people had the right to regulate abortion but rather whether each woman had the right to decide for herself whether to have a baby. By throwing the issue back into the hands of legislatures, the Supreme Court gave only modest comfort to many states, such as Illinois, that decided to protect Roe, while others—like Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Iowa—sought to reinstate restrictions that could turn the clock back beyond the bad old days before Roe.
Bruen reversed those roles: progressives thought legislative discretion should control, while conservatives took the view that the Second Amendment gives the right to bear firearms strong constitutional protection.
John first penetrated my awareness in the gospels. He was an Elijah, a Jeremiah, an Isaiah, in an age when the prophets had been silent for 400 years, and in an age when, to my young mind, no other prophets were needed. The Son had come. The demon Baal and his profits were now truly and utterly and forever defeated and cast out.
If the feet of the Son trods the mountaintops publishing peace, what is this mere prophet doing here? And the Son tells us, John is the greatest of all the prophets. Not that the Son isn’t a prophet and immeasurably greater than John, but the Son is something that is the epitome of so many titles. Prophet, priest, rabbi, king, shepherd, son … friend. He chides John to baptize Him despite the odd asymmetries of that moment, to fulfill all righteousness. I have read commentaries, but I am still convinced that the full and exact portent of those words will not be shown to me until the fulfillment of the promise of the resurrection of the body, when I ask Him to His face.
The Supreme Court of the United States has overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, ending a 49-year-long interpretation that abortion is a constitutional right. Now individual states have the power to allow, limit, or ban the practice altogether.
“We end this opinion where we began,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the 6-3 opinion (PDF). “Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion. Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives.”
The case decided today was Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which focused on a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The state asked the Supreme Court to strike down a lower court ruling that stopped the legislation from taking effect.
Some people are overly sentimental about animals. They won’t go hunting. They hate the idea of hunting. They cannot even know how their food is made; touching it is disgusting or repulsive to them. They’ll eat meat as long as they don’t know where it comes from.
Then there are the people who take it a step further and become vegetarians.
The recent leak that the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade has injected a wave of hope for pro-lifers across the country. It is almost surreal for those of us who have long supported the culture of life through prayer, financial support, and personal witness. But regardless of the legal outcomes, Christians have another tool in our boxes to support life: defunding the abortion industry by taking our hard-earned health care dollars elsewhere.
Over the past few decades, forces have worked to move abortion from a tragic occurrence to a health insurance line item many unwillingly support through premiums. Word gymnastics and vague, euphemistic language have blurred the procedures included in standard health insurance plans. But the reality is different: if we have health insurance, we’re involuntarily funding the abortion procedures that run counter to a culture of life and Christian Biblical values.
Many of us have felt trapped in a Catch-22, with what we thought were our only options for healthcare. We’ve looked to the law — which certainly requires an admirable degree of faith — to right the wrong. However, as we have clearly seen, many in office have placed little to no concern on what are considered dated moral values, let alone simple and affordable healthcare options. Eight years ago, we realized that legal protections don’t have to be our only option to protect the lives of the unborn.
Politico rocked the nation with its recent exclusive and explosive publication of a mysteriously leaked copy of Justice Samuel Alito’s February 10, 2022, draft majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the apparent decision by at least five Supreme Court Justices to uphold Mississippi’s law banning elective abortions after the fifteenth week of pregnancy. That opinion makes it likely that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade, which crafted a constitutional right to an abortion forty-nine years ago in 1973. The defenders of the Dobbs opinion regard it as a triumph of originalism worthy of “three very enthusiastic cheers.” In sharp contrast, the progressive critics of the decision go to exquisite lengths to express their complete and utter contempt for a decision that according to the League of Women’s Voters “not only strips women and pregnant people of their personal autonomy but opens the door to erode more fundamental rights,” leading “to collective shock and outrage” by pro-choice advocates.
Clearly, with stakes this high it is important to set aside both exultation and despair in order to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the Alito opinion. On the positive side, Alito’s opinion adopts a tone of workmanlike seriousness that is quite circumspect about overruling past precedents, and explicitly disclaims any intention to overrule any other precedent on either women’s or LBGTQ rights. Instead, it treats abortion as “a unique act” that does not impact “in any way” Lawrence v. Texas (2003), dealing with private consensual sexual behavior, or Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), constitutionally protecting same-sex marriage. Instead, it articulates a two-stage argument that dismantles the establishment in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey of a constitutional right to abortion. The first part notes that abortion is not explicitly protected in the Constitution. The second part contends that Roe cannot be defended on some implied “substantive due process” grounds, because it does not meet the standard set out in the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist’s decision in Washington v. Glucksberg (1997), which refused to recognize any right to assisted suicide, namely that “any such right must be ‘deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition’ . . . and ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.’ ”
As Alito exhaustively documents, that standard cannot be met given the impressive array of common law and statutory criminal prohibitions of abortion in effect before the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, at the time of its adoption in 1868, or at any time thereafter. Yet at no point does Alito find any constitutional prohibition against the decriminalization of abortion. Instead, his chief complaint is that Roe “short-circuited the democratic process” that would otherwise lead to some political resolution in the same state legislatures that controlled the law on abortion before Roe. Recall that at the time of Roe, states had dramatically different abortion laws, from Texas’ very restrictive law (at issue in Roe) to New York’s 1970 law, which legalized abortion up through twenty-four weeks of pregnancy and whenever the mother’s life was in danger. Alito then shows that Roe’s legal reasoning “was exceedingly weak,” especially in light of its internal confusions, including its inability to justify different constitutional rules for each of the three trimesters of a pregnancy. Alito leveled the same criticism at Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey (1992), which affirmed Roe’s establishment of a right to abortion whenever state regulations impose an “undue burden on that right.” Hence, he struck down an opinion that could not be justified by the mere passage of time, and that had never gained political legitimacy during the past forty-nine years.
There seem to be various factors in considering a celebration. One is to celebrate the beginning or outset of an event or era, e.g., a birth, a wedding, or the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Another factor to consider in a celebration is the end, or culmination of an event or era, e.g., the […]
A student emailed me asking if we could meet via Zoom. I vividly remember that night and conversation. Our online chat was unlike any other virtual meeting I have ever had. The young woman was visibly shaken. She recounted any number of negative experiences, including the loss of her job because she stood up against discrimination in the workplace.
She was so distraught about her life that she considered ending it.
I had listened to her for the first half-hour and saw the darkness that enveloped her. In the second half of our hour meeting, I began to speak of hope. I explained that my Christian faith gave me hope. I told her stories about my family and workplace injustices done to me. But I pleaded with her not to give up. I said,
I haven’t been busy here on Ricochet even though I continually think of things I’d like to write about. It’s because I’ve been really busy in real life. I’m just telling you this because I feel like you’re an extended family. My husband has been in and out of (mostly in) the hospital during September, […]
My beloved sent this to me this morning. Color me surprised. Madonna is at it again. Being at least partially naked somewhere, talking about how sexy she is, trying to get more likes.
I get it. At 63, it’s probably difficult for even an “icon” like her to get the attention she was used to back in the ’80s and ’90s. She’s had a great run. But when we see pictures of her now, she’s either so made up as to be unrecognizable or else she’s haggard and awful-looking. Now, I’m pretty lackluster when it comes to my makeup and fashion sense. I will never win any awards. However, I’m also not in the public eye.
No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. —Heraclitus
Anyone who thinks that life is too routine and that hardly anything changes has gotten himself into a rut. We can allow ourselves to be numbed by our daily routines, bored with the predictability of our days, and dwell on the many things we don’t have or we’d like to have.
Instead, though, we can notice the richness of each day as we move through it. For me, there are a great many things that pique my attention or give me joy. When I get up early in the morning, I will notice the stillness that rests in the house; somehow that day’s silence has its own soothing quality. Or on my walk, I’ll notice a new blossom on my lemon tree; a walker who has an English mastiff who’s decided to stop and greet me; or an armadillo that scampers blindly to find his breakfast.
I’ve been away. My enthusiasm for posting has been tempered by the travesty in the White House: when the administration has a quality of fractal ineptitude that reveals itself at whatever level and aspect one considers, it’s hard to generate the energy for focused criticism. Why, after all, invest more in the critique than they […]
I’d like to say that it’s rare, but sometimes songs are performed by the wrong people. The “treatment” and production fails the song entirely. Sometimes it’s good! Sometimes, it’s even great…until you hear someone else perform it. Professional or amateur, sometimes …the cover was better than the original. Preview Open
I’ve been steeped in research, gathering photos, matching likenesses to known persons profiled on Wikipedia, and reviewing maps and dates, all the while praying my mind would eventually wrap itself around the largesse of the story, at least to the point I might tell a story that has coherence, drama, a proper arc, and an […]