LIVE BLOG: Partisan GOP SCOTUS Hacks Hear Arguments In 15-Week MS Abortion Ban
Today is a terrible day at the Supreme Court.
The nine justices, most of whom are partisan Republican hacks, and several of whose nominations and confirmations were entirely illegitimate, will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case over whether Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban — and by extension all pre-viability bans — is constitutional. In other words, this is the case that could overturn Roe, or gut it beyond recognition.
10:02: We begin with Scott Stewart, solicitor general of Mississippi, who starts with some bullshit white man whining about how Roe has put some kind of dark stain on the Supreme Court.
10:04: First question is from Clarence Thomas, who would like to know whether we are talking about "privacy" or "autonomy" today, or whether we are talking about "abortion." Scott Stewart doesn't want us to think "abortion" is part of "privacy" or "autonomy."
10:05: Clarence Thomas just asked a SECOND question! What is he, some kind of judge who speaks now?
10:07: Stephen Breyer wants to know which stare decisis principles should be used to overturn Roe. Specifically, what is so special about Roe that it shouldn't be treated the regular way precedent is treated. Is it because Roe and Casey make some people SO MAD and they have FEELINGS about it?
10:10: Breyer is not amused by this notion that somehow Roe and Casey shouldn't be treated with the respect of literally any other case, and is demanding Scott Stewart please 'splain him it, with his words.
10:16: Sonia Sotomayor cuts in to note that there hasn't been any legal controversy since Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) over whether the line for legal abortion should be viability, asserting that Mississippi now wants the Court to come up with something new and different. Also she notes that the Mississippi House literally said out loud that it passed this 15-week ban, and a more recent six-week ban, because there are new (partisan hack) justices on the Supreme Court.
Sotomayor wants to know whether they'll ever get that "stench" off them if people believe "everything" -- anything involving rights, including the Second Amendment, she says -- the Supreme Court decides is political.
10:17: Hahahaha, this dipshit Scott Stewart just said there have been "medical advances" in the last 30 years in learning about "fetal pain." Sotomayor responds that it is a "small fringe of doctors" who believe in this horse paste-grade folderol the moron is speaking of right now.
Here is more about "fetal pain" myths, and here is the Daubert standard Sotomayor just referenced, when discussing what kind of unscientific bullshit that asshole white conservative men are allowed to bring into the Court.
10:21: So again, Sotomayor would like to know exactly what real scientist this rube has who can explain why "viability" is not the right standard here.
10:22: MISSISSIPPI IDIOT: "Viability" is not in the Constitution!
SOTOMAYOR: Neither is YOUR FACE.
10:25: Sotomayor slowly explaining that we have used the spirit and structure of the Constitution to figure out, like goddamn grownups, whether things that are not specifically written in the Constitution are constitutional. Stewart responds that Roe and Casey are different because of these reasons he just found in his butt right now.
10:26: We are curious how the Supreme Court likes it when babbling Mississippi buffoons tell the Supreme Court how the Supreme Court works.
10:27: Sotomayor is like no, I am sorry, none of your arguments make any sense.
10:28: SOTOMAYOR: Do you really think that nobody will try to challenge other cases like marriage equality if we suddenly come up with new standards for due process and overturn Roe?
STEWART: Durrrr durrrrr durrrrrr.
SOTOMAYOR: "How is your interest anything other than a religious view?" Notes that philosophers have been debating this since "the beginning of time."
STEWART: Words that do not admit out loud to the Court that Christian supremacists believe their religious views SHOULD BE the law.
10:30: Sotomayor like oh by the way, when do we consider the lives of women, specifically poor women? Should the state be able to choose to put women at medical risk and make them poorer by forcing them to finish pregnancies based on their religious views?
Stewart says Mississippi ALWAYS is thinking about women's rights. You betcha.
Oh now Samuel Alito comes in with a gotcha question, because he thinks he's so clever. He wants to know if there are any secular philosophers who believe life begins at conception. Get it? Because if there are, Alito thinks that means this isn't religious, IPSO FACTO Q.E.D.
10:35: Stewart reasserts his argument that Roe and Casey are bad because UNBORNDED BABBIES and therefore they are not Constitution because what is the Constitution if not a beautiful picture of UNBORNDED BABBIES?
At least we think that was his argument, we were too busy making a jerk-off motion in our brain.
10:37: Roberts notes that the only question they actually granted cert on was whether all pre-viability abortion bans are unconstitutional, and now the Mississippi fuckers have come in demanding they overturn Roe and Casey. Roberts is very curious why the sudden change and why they are not hearing any arguments about the thing they are supposed to be arguing today.
10:40: ROBERTS: OK wait, do we only ignore stare decisis if we really really really REALLY don't like past decisions, or is there any law involved here?
STEWART: The first thing.
10:42: This is "Scott." Doesn't everyone want "Scott" deciding what you're allowed to do with your body today?
10:46: And now we move on to the sane arguments. Julie Rikelman for the Center for Reproductive Rights.
By the way here is a fun fact about Scott Stewart:
A thing you should know: Scott Stewart, who today will argue that the U.S. Supreme Court should overturn Roe v. Wade, was the Trump administration's top lawyer defending family separations in federal court.— Jacob Soboroff (@Jacob Soboroff) 1638367399
And here's some dumb wingnut we've never heard of.
I'm not impressed with MS attorney Scott Stewart. A huge historic moment in American history. He's not responding well. This is disappointing.— Jeff Hunt (@Jeff Hunt) 1638372823
10:50: Clarence Thomas is asking Rikelman about unrelated cases that have nothing to do with abortion, but about states regulating things that happens to fetuses in utero, apparently trying to catch her in a gotcha of some sort. She didn't take the bait.
Rikelman responds to a question from Chief Justice Roberts about whether 15 weeks vs. "viability" would even really matter, taking the opportunity to explain some of the reasons people end up needing later abortions, especially in terms of lack of access. Roberts is pretending he's stupid, asking why 15 weeks isn't long enough for people to decide if they want to do abortions to UNBORDNDNED BABBY.
Rikelman is again going through reasons people are unable to access abortions they need within that framework.
10:57: This tweet from Elie pretty much sums up the conversation between Rikelman and the chief justice:
Roberts: Is there any evidence that 15 weeks is so much worse than viability?\nReproductive Rights lawyer: [data data data]\nRoberts: \u201cPutting the data aside\u2026\u201d— Elie Mystal (@Elie Mystal) 1638374146
Meanwhile, Amy Coney Barrett wants to know why abortion is necessary when you can just drop your baby off at the fire station.
11:07: We are going back and listening to Sam Alito's questioning to see what a hack he was this time, God what an airhead he is.
11:10: Alito's entire argument is that if a person doesn't want to be pregnant, that doesn't change regardless of viability, and also because Alito is a religious conservative moron he is pretty sure UNBRUDORNEDED BABBBIES!!1!!1 have a burning desire to have lives no matter whether they are viable or not.
Pretty sure Alito thinks newly fertilized eggs have opinions.
11:14: Golly, we are far behind now! Why did we rewind just then? Did we think we were going to hear some kind of "interesting law talk" from Samuel Alito? LOL OK.
Fast-forwarding now to try to get back those lost five minutes of our life.
11:18: Stephen Breyer is very concerned about how the SCOTUS is going to handle stare decisis in light of people's views of the court as an entirely political actor. Breyer is very concerned about such things, especially when he's deciding not to retire to make sure Joe Biden can nominate his replacement, instead of risking that the next Republican white supremacist president could replace him.
11:19: Alito wants to know if abortion was a recognized right in 1868 when the 14th Amendment was adopted. This is one of his "gotcha" lines of questioning that he thinks are very clever. Then he asks Rikelman for her "best case" for ending a pregnancy. We guess he thinks he's a clown game show host on "Who Wants To Have An Abortion" or something.
Justice Alito leaning on what courts did or didn\u2019t do before the end of the IS Civil War. Think about that. #DobbsvJackson— Maya Wiley (@Maya Wiley) 1638375414
And then Brett Kavanaugh gets to ask more questions, because he's qualified to ask questions about people's reproductive choices.
11:27: Hahahaha remember during his confirmation hearings -- no, not the part about all the sexual assault allegations -- when Kavanaugh was all "Roe is settled law" and that was good enough for Susan Collins?
Anyway, he just listed a bunch of times when the court overruled precedents, not that he totally wants to do that today.
11:29: Rikelman just noted that nothing has actually changed in the last 30 years regarding women's interest in controlling their own damn bodily autonomy.
11:32: Now we are hearing from US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar. What, you thought we were almost done?
11:33: Prelogar notes that the Court has never taken away a right this huge. Thomas starts by asking what right we are talking about. Prelogar responds that it's autonomy, integrity, equality, privacy, and, you know, ALL OF THEM KATIE. And yes, abortion!
11:37: Prelogar says if the Court overturned Roe, then it would be tantamount to telling women that we made a mistake and they actually can't be trusted with their own rights.
Breyer, meanwhile, is really annoyed with the laundry list Kavanaugh gave a few minutes ago of times the Court overturned itself, because that's a thing he's into right now we guess.
11:42: Hey are you all ready for the dumb airhead Alito show again? That twit is using his time to argue that because Plessy was egregiously wrong the day it was handed down, then we should probably also strip women of their bodily autonomy because his fucked up patriarchal worldview says women shouldn't have bodily autonomy. We think we are hearing him correctly?
Anyway, Prelogar isn't playing his game.
11:45: Yeah kinda weird!
It's wild that a third of the Supreme Court was appointed by a man who attempted to overthrow the United States government, and we just continue to let those judges hand down decisions.— Ian Millhiser (@Ian Millhiser) 1638369911
11:51: Roberts seems to think that because there are also people who wouldn't be able to access abortion before viability even if they wanted them, then it somehow shouldn't matter if the ban is at 15 weeks or viability or whatever.
Of course there is the whole thing about how viability, by definition, means the fetus can exist separately from the parent, as Prelogar points out.
Clarence Thomas would like to talk about unrelated cases again about exposing fetuses to cocaine in utero.
11:56: Annnnnnd Gorsuch asked a couple dickish questions and Brett Kavanaugh reminded us that he's on the Supreme Court and gets to decide what people do with their reproductive organs and that's how far America has fallen. Kavanaugh just really thinks decisions like this should be left up to the "people." Then Amy Coney Barrett said some shit, and the Mississippi douche got to do a quick rebuttal and then it was over.
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