Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be stunned by Supreme Court on abortion and the right to vote
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg knew that voting rights and reproductive choice laws are not abstract legal ideals,” Jessica A. Levinson of Loyola Law School told CNN. “But she may have been amazed at the breadth and depth of the court’s rulings to gut the protections for access to polling stations and a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion.”
Barrett also provided the critical vote earlier this month when the court cleared Texas law that prohibits abortion before most women even know they are pregnant to go into effect pending appeal.
And the last term she was in a majority when the court broke with traditional ideological lines and upheld two controversial Arizona provisions that restricted how ballots could be cast.
Abortion rights advocates fear Barrett’s votes will undermine Ginsburg’s abortion legacy.
At her confirmation hearing in 1993, Ginsburg said, âThere is something central to a woman’s life, to her dignity.
“It’s a decision she has to make for herself,” she continued, “and when the government controls that decision for her, she is treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own. choice.”
On the bench, she has spoken out several times in favor of reproductive rights.
âThis way of thinking reflects old notions about women’s place in the family and under the Constitution – ideas that have long been discredited,â Ginsburg said.
In a concurring opinion in a 2016 case in which the court blocked abortion restrictions in Texas, Ginsburg wrote to highlight what would happen to poor women if the restriction were allowed to go into effect. “When a state severely restricts access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to rogue unlicensed practitioners,” Ginsburg said, adding “at the risk of their health and safety.”
âMost people who have an abortion never need to go to the hospital, do they? she asked, continuing to dismantle every argument for the law, point by point.
“You have just rejected entirely what Congress considered essential – that women receive these services without hassle, at no cost to them,” she told a government lawyer.
“Justice Ginsburg has said time and again that we will never have true gender equality without women with reproductive freedom,” said Amanda Tyler, a former Ginsburg paralegal who wrote a book with the justice at the time of his death.
âThe two are inextricably linked,â Tyler said.
The majority – including Barrett – said that while the court would not weigh on the constitutionality of the law, it would allow it to come into force pending appeal. “It is not clear whether the defendants named in this lawsuit can or will seek to enforce Texas law against the plaintiffs in a manner that would allow our intervention,” the majority wrote.
Chief Justice John Roberts, dissenting, wrote that the law was “unprecedented.” He said he would have blocked the law to give the courts a chance to consider procedural matters.
“Presented with a request to ban a clearly unconstitutional law designed to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights and evading judicial scrutiny, a majority of judges choose to stick their heads in the sand “she said.
Ginsburg would not only have disputed the case on the merits, but those who know her have said she would have denounced the procedural tactics.
âGinsburg was a consistent voice for procedural integrity in court,â Tyler said. “She reportedly rose up against the court allowing such a restrictive law to come into force in direct violation of a long-standing precedent and while the court has a merits case pending before it involving the same fundamental issues. ”
“We now see how deeply regrettable his absence from court is, given that his vote could have prevented Texas law from coming into force,” Tyler concluded.
Right to vote
In the area of ââvoting rights, the court has also evolved since Ginsburg’s death.
Ginsburg dissented, citing the umbrella metaphor and calling the Voting Rights Act “one of the most consistent, effective, and amply justified exercises of federal legislative power in our nation’s history.”
With Ginsburg off the bench last term, the court heard a case involving two provisions of Arizona’s electoral law that critics said violated a separate provision of the Voting Rights Act.
Judge Samuel Alito wrote the 6-3 majority opinion upholding the laws and noting that the state had a “very legitimate interest” in fraud prevention.
Judge Elena Kagan responded fiercely with dissent, noting that judges had “no right” to remake the law.
“What is tragic here is that the Court has (once again) rewritten – in order to weaken – a law that stands as a monument to American greatness and protects against its lowest impulses,” wrote Kagan.
In his dissent, Kagan cited Ginsburg eight times.