• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

What About the Supreme Court?

EVERY FOUR years, progressives are told to vote for a Democrat for president in order to save the Supreme Court. If the Republicans get the White House, goes the argument, they will continue packing the court with right-wing justices, and any number of crucially important rights–abortion, affirmative action, Title IX–will be up for grabs.

Left-wing columnist Norman Solomon recently used this very issue to lecture, “[T]hose on the left who don’t want to back Kerry, even in swing states, are inclined to dodge, or fog over, what hangs in the balance. But this finger wagging ignores the real history of the Supreme Court.

First, it’s not the case that the most liberal Supreme Court justices were nominated by Democratic presidents, and the most conservative by Republicans. Earl Warren, appointed by Republican Dwight Eisenhower, was expected to be a moderate conservative. Instead, he took liberal positions, writing the decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the case that outlawed segregation in public schools.

Justice David Souter, appointed by George Bush Sr., has taken a host of liberal positions, including upholding affirmative action and abortion rights, and ruling that the Boy Scouts should be required to accept gay scoutmasters. By contrast, Byron White–who was placed on the court by John Kennedy–went on to join the conservative wing of the court.

Even more important is that the nine members of the court don’t decide cases in a vacuum. In 1973, when the Roe v. Wade case that guaranteed women the right to abortion was decided, the court was full of conservatives appointed by Richard Nixon. Yet it was one of those appointees–Justice Harry Blackmun–who wrote the majority opinion in support of abortion rights.

Why? Because the legitimacy of the court and the legal system was at stake. Roe v. Wade was decided at a time when a growing women’s movement was bringing thousands of people into the streets to protest–and when opinions were changing about women’s roles at home and in the workplace. And it has been protest–not the makeup of the court–that has been the key to keeping Roe alive.

When two Supreme Court cases threatened to overturn Roe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, huge pro-choice marches in 1989 and 1992 had a clear impact. “A decision to overrule Roe’s essential holdings,” Justice Souter wrote in the 1992 case, “would address error, if error there was, at the cost of both profound and unnecessary damage to the Court’s legitimacy.”

In other words, trying to end the right to choose would spark too much protest and would undermine the system.

NICOLE COLSON writes for the Socialist Worker.

 

More articles by:

NICOLE COLSON writes for the Socialist Worker.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
October 15, 2019
Victor Grossman
The Berlin Wall, Thirty Years Later
Raouf Halaby
Kurdish Massacres: One of Britain’s Many Original Sins
Robert Fisk
Trump and Erdogan have Much in Common – and the Kurds will be the Tragic Victims of Their Idiocy
Ron Jacobs
Betrayal in the Levant
Wilma Salgado
Ecuador: Lenin Moreno’s Government Sacrifices the Poor to Satisfy the IMF
Ralph Nader
The Congress Has to Draw the Line
William A. Cohn
The Don Fought the Law…
John W. Whitehead
One Man Against the Monster: John Lennon vs. the Deep State
Lara Merling – Leo Baunach
Sovereign Debt Restructuring: Not Falling Prey to Vultures
Norman Solomon
The More Joe Biden Stumbles, the More Corporate Democrats Freak Out
Jim Britell
The Problem With Partnerships and Roundtables
Howard Lisnoff
More Incitement to Violence by Trump’s Fellow Travelers
Binoy Kampmark
University Woes: the Managerial Class Gets Uppity
Joe Emersberger
Media Smears, Political Persecution Set the Stage for Austerity and the Backlash Against It in Ecuador
Thomas Mountain
Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed Wins Nobel Peace Prize, But It Takes Two to Make Peace
Wim Laven
Citizens Must Remove Trump From Office
October 14, 2019
Ann Robertson - Bill Leumer
Class Struggle is Still the Issue
Mike Miller
Global Climate Strike: From Protest To Power?
Patrick Cockburn
As Turkey Prepares to Slice Through Syria, the US has Cleared a New Breeding Ground for Isis
John Feffer
Trump’s Undeclared State of Emergency
Dean Baker
The Economics and Politics of Financial Transactions Taxes and Wealth Taxes
Jonah Raskin
What Evil Empire?
Nino Pagliccia
The Apotheosis of Emperors
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Passion for Writing
Basav Sen
The Oil Despots
Brett Wilkins
‘No Friend But the Mountains’: A History of US Betrayal of the Kurds
John Kendall Hawkins
Assange: Enema of the State
Scott Owen
Truth, Justice and Life
Thomas Knapp
“The Grid” is the Problem, Not the Solution
Rob Kall
Republicans Are Going to Remove Trump Soon
Cesar Chelala
Lebanon, Dreamland
Weekend Edition
October 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Becky Grant
CounterPunch in Peril?
Anthony DiMaggio
Fake News in Trump’s America
Andrew Levine
Trump’s End Days
Jeffrey St. Clair
High Plains Grifter: the Life and Crimes of George W. Bush
Patrick Cockburn
Kurdish Fighters Always Feared Trump Would be a Treacherous Ally
Paul Street
On the TrumpenLeft and False Equivalence
Dave Lindorff
Sure Trump is ‘Betraying the Kurds!’ But What’s New about That?
Rob Urie
Democrats Impeach Joe Biden, Fiddle as the Planet Burns
Sam Pizzigati
Inequality is Literally Killing Us
Jill Richardson
What Life on the Margins Feels Like
Mitchell Zimmerman
IMPOTUS: Droit de seigneur at Mar-a-Lago
Robert Hunziker
Methane SOS
Lawrence Davidson
Donald Trump, the Christian Warrior
William Hartung – Mandy Smithburger
The Pentagon is Pledging to Reform Itself, Again. It Won’t.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail