Do shows like this make a pretense of doing comedy anymore or is it straightforward activism now?
I suppose the photoshop of Alito counts as comedy. Sort of?
We had an assassination plot against a justice foiled just a few weeks ago. The marshal of the Court is now urging local law enforcement to do more to keep protesters away from the justices’ homes. We’ll probably arrive soon at the point where the Court’s members need to travel with a security detail at all times, assuming we’re not there already. Egging on liberals to confront the Court’s members whenever they’re encountered in the wild amidst that atmosphere is unwise.
Not unprecedented as a tactic. But unwise.
Samantha Bee on the Roe repeal: “We have to raise hell in our cities, in Washington, in every restaurant Justice Alito eats at for the rest of his life. Because if Republicans have made our lives hell, it’s time to return the favor.” pic.twitter.com/Z97gRtJfF0
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) July 4, 2022
At least one person post-Dobbs has been arrested for making “terroristic threats” towards the Court. The head of DHS told “Face the Nation” yesterday that the “threat environment” towards the Court has risen since the ruling and that the department is prioritizing accordingly:
On Sunday, DHS Sec. Mayorkas said that there has been a “heightened threat environment over the last several months” over several volatile issues. Not just over the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. pic.twitter.com/euW1ujmNDQ
— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) July 3, 2022
The scary thing about the Dobbs aftermath is that there’s no “cooldown” period. Most major Court rulings go off like a bomb, where there’s an initial shockwave that passes and then those in the blast radius regain their bearings. The fact that there’s so much sudden legislative activity on abortion makes the end of Roe feel less like a bomb than a major earthquake followed by months of aftershocks. And the more aggressive states are in trying to limit abortion, the more intense the aftershocks get:
New abortion ban bill introduced in SC Senate would prohibit anyone from telling a pregnant woman that she could go to another state for an abortion, prohibit anyone from driving her there, and prohibits a website from providing info about abortion. This cannot stand.
— Vicki Ringer (@vickiringer) June 30, 2022
Abortion remains legal in Montana thanks to a decision of the state supreme court there but it’s now banned by trigger laws in each of the surrounding states. Can a pregnant woman in Idaho or the Dakotas lawfully travel to Montana for an abortion? It’s unclear. Can an abortion provider in Montana be sued in one of those surrounding states for performing an abortion on a resident of those states? Also unclear. And so:
Planned Parenthood of Montana will no longer provide medication abortions to patients in South Dakota and three other states with “trigger laws,” according to an all-staff email sent by organization President and CEO Martha Fuller Thursday…
Fuller said in the email to comply with the change, all medication abortion patients would be required to provide proof of residency.
“The risks around cross-state provision of services are currently less than clear, with potential for both civil and criminal action for providing abortions in states with bans,” Fuller said in the email.
And so the aftershocks continue, rattling some unwell people who aren’t stable even on a good day. Congress should begin thinking about expanding Secret Service jurisdiction to include the nine justices.
The long-term solution for Democrats to their Roe problem is to follow the lead of Republicans and put enough justices on the Court to overturn Dobbs. But how long would that project take? Lefty Ed Kilgore is pessimistic:
The political conditions necessary for Democrats to re-flip the Court are exceptionally daunting. They’d have to hold on to both the White House and the Senate for long enough to get lucky with conservative vacancies. Democrats have a decent chance to maintain control of the Senate in 2022, but the 2024 Senate landscape is horrible for them (three Democratic seats, and all ten Republicans seats up that year were carried by Trump twice). And obviously, a 2024 Democratic presidential win is hardly a safe bet.
Beyond that problem for Democrats, the kind of Supreme Court vacancies we’ve seen since 2016 are significantly less likely. Scalia was 79 when he died; Ginsburg was 87. Kennedy retired at 82, Breyer at 83. The oldest justice today (Clarence Thomas) is 74; Trump’s three justices are under the age of 57, mere tykes by Supreme Court standards.
As time goes by, moreover, the prospect of simply re-establishing Roe and Casey as precedents will fade; progressive justices would almost certainly need to reach agreement on a new foundation for abortion rights, likely centered on equal-protection claims rather than the shaky ground of substantive due process on which Roe and later Casey rested. All this will take time and then preparatory litigation, with conservatives bitterly fighting a rearguard action.
It could be another 50 years and by then science may have delivered cheap contraception that’s all but foolproof, undermining the argument for legal abortion on demand. I think liberals will focus on legislative solutions instead of re-engineering the Court, chiefly by codifying a basic national right to abortion the next time they regain control of the federal government — assuming they can resist the temptation to push unpassable legislation that insists on a right up to the moment of birth. Although the end of Dobbs won’t convince Democrats to give up on abortion rights, it might temper the left’s expectations about what’s realistically feasible as a policy matter. That would be some progress at least.