With Roe headed to the states, every vote this fall matters | Monday Morning Coffee

Speaking for a tyrannical minority, the Supreme Court widened the cracks in our national foundation

June 27, 2022 7:20 am

Hundreds of protesters rally in Harrisburg on May 14, 2022, to promote abortion access (Capital-Star photo).

(*This piece was updated at 7:53 p.m. on Monday, 6/27/22 to correct the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices to voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.)

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Ever since she was old enough for me to tell her anything, I’ve been telling my daughter that she could grow up to be whatever she wants to be, that no obstacle, big or small, would ever stand in her way.

I’ve told her that she’ll set her own destiny — that she’ll write the story of her life, and that only she can determine the way it turns out. I’d always believed it to be true. And after watching her grow and become the amazing young woman that she is, it’s always seemed like she believed it too.

Then, last Friday, in a ruling that speaks not for the majority of Americans who want abortion to remain safe and legal, but for a tyrannical minority that’s spent decades working toward this moment, *five people, four of them men, all of them accountable to no one, blasted a hole right through that narrative; as they struck down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that provided a constitutional right to abortion, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the 1992 ruling that codified that right.

Because fundamental to the belief that you set your own destiny is the freedom to control your own body, to make decisions about how, when, and whether you choose to have a child — if at all.

And when my brave, proudly out child looked at us and told us she feared for her own safety, for her own future, the faces of millions of people nationwide fearing the same thing, looked back at us.

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 21: Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas speaks at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Clarence Thomas has now served on the Supreme Court for 30 years. He was nominated by former President George H. W. Bush in 1991 and is the second African-American to serve on the high court, following Justice Thurgood Marshall. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Because if the state can force you to give birth, if it can take away that fundamental control, then it’s entirely possible for the state to take away other freedoms that Americans have taken for granted for generations.

Indeed, in chilling terms, Justice Clarence Thomas opened the door to just such an eventuality, arguing that high court precedents establishing rights for LGBTQ Americans, along with the right to access contraception, now also are fair game.

Thomas wrote that those rulings “were demonstrably erroneous decisions,” once again speaking for a tyrannical minority, not the majorities of Americans who both support access to contraception and equal rights for LGBTQ Americans.

And if that’s the case, are all of the high court’s super-precedents, from Brown v. Board of Educationwhich desegregated the public schools to Loving v. Virginia, which struck down bans on interracial marriage, now also vulnerable? It’s not hard to conceive of that being the case. 

If we’re to follow the logic of Justice Samuel Alito, none of those rights conferred by those historical rulings were specifically enumerated by the slave-owning, landed white men who were conspicuously silent about women when they crafted the young nation’s foundational document.

WASHINGTON, DC – MAY 03: A pro-choice activist holds up a sign during a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade May 3, 2022 in Washington, DC. In a leaked initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico and authenticated by Chief Justice John Roberts, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey should be overturned, which would end federal protection of abortion rights across the country. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

But through decades of jurisprudence, often at terrible cost, those rights were won. Black Americans and women were granted those core freedoms. In 2015, love won, and those freedoms and protections were granted to LGBTQ Americans.

That march forward has never been perfect. We’re reminded continually that progress cannot be taken for granted. It’s a reality driven home by the civil rights marches of the last two years, and most viscerally by the would-be fascists who tried to topple the 2020 election.

But besides taking away the rights of millions of people, the high court did something just as damaging — it took a torch to its own credibility; it demolished its standing as a guarantor of the protections in the document each justice took an oath to uphold and protect.

On Saturday, for the first time in generations, Americans woke up in a country demonstrably less free and less equal than it was the day before.

And with the battle over abortion rights now moving to the states, and with my daughter and millions of people who can become pregnant looking to recover the freedoms that rightfully are theirs, they’ll have to do what the generations before them did: they’ll have to fight for them.

And with our collective freedoms, our shared humanity on the line, it’s going to take all of us to wage it.

(Image via Pittsburgh City Paper).

Our Stuff.
In this week’s edition of The Numbers RacketCassie Miller dives into some recent Brookings Institution data that sheds light on the nation’s millennial population, from Portland to Pittsburgh, including where they live, how many own homes, and the poverty rate among them.

A national group dedicated to electing Democratic governors is pressuring Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor to turn over any video footage he may have recorded while in Washington, D.C. on the day of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Our partners at City & State Pa. have the story.

Whether you want to be a first time homebuyer or are facing eviction because of a job loss due to the pandemic, the Urban League of Philadelphia’s housing counseling program can help. Our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune have the details.

En la Estrella-Capital: El presidente Joe Biden le pidió el miércoles al Congreso y a las legislaturas estatales que otorguen una prorroga temporal a los impuestos de la gasolina, pero miembros de su propio partido y los Republicanos parecieron oponerse, lo que hace que parezca poco probable a nivel federal. Y citando el aumento de los precios del combustible y los bienes de consumo, mientras que las ganancias corporativas se disparan, los Demócratas de la Cámara de Representantes celebraron el miércoles una audiencia sobre los aumentos de precios corporativos que, según dicen, exacerban la crisis inflacionaria.

On our Commentary Page this morning: From The Conversation, some key reads on what the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling means for reproductive health. And here’s what happens when honest private citizens are targeted by fascists, opinion regular Dick Polman writes.

Local students and supporters taking part in a national walk-out for abortion rights in Philadelphia, Pa. on 5/26/22.(Photo by Daniella Heminghaus, for the Capital-Star)
Local students and supporters taking part in a national walk-out for abortion rights in Philadelphia, Pa. on 5/26/22.(Photo by Daniella Heminghaus, for the Capital-Star)

The debate over abortion rights will take center stage in the campaigns for U.S. Senate and the Governor’s Office, the Post-Gazette reports.

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Josh Shapiro rallied for abortion rights with other officials in Philadelphia on Saturday, WHYY-FM reports.

WITF-FM runs the table on the abortion legislation now before the General Assembly.

With that in mind, the culture wars are front and center in the state Capitol, USA Today’s Pennsylvania Capital Bureau reports (paywall, via GoErie).

The Morning Call considers what the end of Roe v. Wade means for healthcare in the Lehigh Valley.

Liberal prosecutors in red states are promising not to enforce abortion reports.

And PoliticsPA asks its readers what they think of the high court’s ruling.

With the June 30 deadline days away, PennLive updates on the latest on negotiations over the state budget.

Historian Jon Meacham addressed the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce, telling them ‘strong democracies require strong people,’ LancasterOnline reports.

A former Pennsylvania teacher is backing the call for educators to carry guns, the York Daily Record reports (subscriber-only).

The Inquirer explains how Philadelphia will spend almost $1 billion on policing and violence prevention programs.

The Citizens’ Voice attended PrideFest festivities in Public Square in Wilkes-Barre over the weekend.

Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:


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What Goes On
The House comes in at 12 p.m. today. The Senate has canceled its session for the day.
10:30 a.m., Capitol Steps: Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, holds an event on preventing fentanyl overdoses.
11:30 a.m., Main Rotunda: House and Senate Democrats respond to the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling.
12 p.m., Harrisburg Hilton: Sen. Ryan Aument, R-Lancaster, addresses the Pennsylvania Press Club.
1:45 p.m., Capitol Steps: The state Democratic Party gives its response to the Supreme Court’s ruling.

As of this writing, Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

Heavy Rotation
Here’s an old favorite from U2, reminding me that B-sides are often way better than what a band actually releases. From the ‘Rattle & Hum‘ era, it’s ‘Hallelujah, Here She Comes.’

Monday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link
The Colorado Avalanche beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Sunday, winning the Stanley Cup for the first time since 2001.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.