Editorial: Colorado’s Neil Gorsuch corrupts the U.S. Supreme Court by siding with radical abortion ruling
Long-time Coloradan Neil Gorsuch has helped to sully the once-revered black robes of this nation’s top justices, supporting a politically driven and religiously founded ruling that will hurt women and families across this nation.
Gorsuch earned our support when he was nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court by then-President Donald Trump in large part because of his public assurances — and the private assurances of those who knew him personally — that Gorsuch would not tread upon decades of Supreme Court precedent despite his leanings toward constitutional originalism and conservative politics.
In the end, Gorsuch cast the deciding vote siding with justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Gorsuch had the choice to cast his lot with Chief Justice John Roberts and respect the Constitution, stare decisis, and judicial restraint. He did not select that course.
We were wrong to trust such a man and to trust the men who vouched for him.
Across America, lawmakers are stripping reproductive freedom from women beginning the moment an egg is fertilized. Laws written to be “triggered” in the event Roe vs. Wade were ever struck down are taking effect. In other states, lawmakers are drafting extreme bans having been emboldened by the court’s ruling released Friday that says women have no right to privacy when it comes to medical decisions regarding reproduction.
For evidence of the radical nature of Alito’s majority opinion striking down decades of court precedent, read Chief Justice John Roberts’ concurrence, which is actually more of a dissent. Roberts opposes striking down Roe vs. Wade even as he supports allowing the Mississippi ban on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation to take effect.
“None of this, however, requires that we also take the dramatic step of altogether eliminating the abortion right first recognized in Roe. Mississippi itself previously argued as much to this Court in this litigation,” Roberts writes in his opinion, chiding the court for rewarding Mississippi for changing its position on the matter after the court had already granted certiorari and agreed to hear the case on the question of whether or not a state had a compelling interest to revoke a woman’s right to privacy at 15 weeks of gestation.
Instead, the court has let millions of American women down by allowing their rights to be stripped from them the moment an egg is fertilized. This is a radical position. The court held that from the moment a woman copulates while ovulating the state has a compelling interest in protecting the zygote that might form, long before the developing cells are even successfully implanted in a uterus to begin embryogenesis. The state can intrude upon a woman’s privacy to determine if she can obtain certain medical care given the levels of pregnancy hormones in her body.
Making the ruling all the more outlandish, Alito takes lengths to assure us that all other Americans still enjoy the liberties of privacy and protection from undue government intrusion that they once did. Only pregnant women have been stripped of those rights.
At least Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is honest about where the court is headed in his assessment of the ruling, preparing Americans for a rolling back of individual liberties that will make all Americans, not just pregnant women, less free, less safe in our homes from unjust government intrusion and less, well, American.
We’d be remiss if we didn’t give the court some credit — the final ruling was more coherent than the draft that was leaked — however, only marginally so. The opinion still contains structural deficiencies that leave one looking for more constitutional analysis and any attempt to address basic biology. Instead, the ruling is filled with an over-reliance on analyzing the nation’s history and tradition when it comes to controlling women’s reproduction. It’s a faulty approach to constitutional law that was also applied to the Court’s Thursday ruling that New York’s 109-year-old concealed carry regulations were also unconstitutional.
The Washington Post’s George F. Will called the Court’s ruling on the concealed carry law “a beaut” of a mistake: “On Thursday, the court effectively removed from public debate the essentially legislative choice of balancing the competing values of self-defense and public safety.”
Oh, the irony. That is exactly what Alito charges Roe vs. Wade did with regard to the legislative debate on abortion, an error that he says must be corrected to allow states or Congress — only if they choose, of course — protect the potential for life.
The justices have shown their hand. Their life experiences — political and religious — place a heavier weight on the “potential for life” than on actual lives when it comes to reasonable restrictions on our constitutional rights.
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