The New York Times Very Concerned You Might Be Butthurt About People Exercising Constitutional Rights
Roe v. Wade, guys.Roe v. Wade. I know you’re probably shaking your head sadly at the mere mention of that travesty, because even if you support a woman’s right to choose when she gets to grow a baby inside her belly, you probably consider it the worst decision ever decided by the Supreme Court. It makes Dred Scott look like Brown vs. the Board of Education, amirite?
At least that’s how the New York Times says you’re supposed to feel! According to this article in Sunday’s paper, everyone hates Roe, or at least everyone quoted in the story. It seems that people are pretty worried that the Supreme Court might decide gay folks should be allowed to marry each other because it could cause the kind of political turmoil that has followed in the four decades since Roe.
Instead of letting state legislatures fight about abortion forever (SPOILER: they did anyway), those mean old justices decided that women should just be allowed to make decisions about their own bodies. The nerve. And now everyone hates Roe. “That general view is widely accepted across the political spectrum,” the New York Times intones wisely.
To prove it, the Times quotes someone who disagrees with the premise that gay marriage might be another Roe:
But Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a lawyer for the two couples challenging California’s ban, said the Roe ruling was a different case on a different subject and arose in a different political and social context. The decision was “a bolt out of the blue,” he said, and it had not been “subject to exhaustive public discussion, debate and support, including by the president and other high-ranking government officials from both parties.”
“Roe was written in a way that allowed its critics to argue that the court was creating out of whole cloth a brand new constitutional right,” Mr. Boutrous said. “But recognition of the fundamental constitutional right to marry dates back over a century, and the Supreme Court has already paved the way for marriage equality by deciding two landmark decisions protecting gay citizens from discrimination.”
A “bolt out of the blue”! Wow, Roe v. Wade sounds pretty terrible. If only the court had let state legislatures do their jobs, they could have … kept violating a woman’s right to choose, I guess? And that’s good because … people sometimes don’t like other people exercising their civil rights?
So if you think the job of the Supreme Court is to stick a saliva-covered finger into the wind and figure out the best way to make sure people on opposite side of the political divide don’t fight because that gives you sads, then yes, Roe v. Wade is a terrible precedent and God forbid the justices make marriage equality the law of the land.
But if you, like every sixth grader in America, believe the job of the Supreme Court is to figure out what our rights are and make sure the laws don’t violate them, then landmark decisions establishing broad civil rights protections are pretty much the best thing the Court can do. But then you’re probably gay-marrying an aborted fetus right now.