Overturning fundamental SCOTUS rulings and what this means for the future

Riley Carroll and Aisla McKay

When we initially began writing this co-op piece, the majority draft leak intending to overturn the landmark civil rights case Roe v. Wade had just been released. Now that the decision has continued, Roe v. Wade has outlawed safe abortions, instilled fear in uterus-bearing Americans and has arguably become the largest step back our federal government has made in decades. 

The fundamental ruling of Roe v. Wade granted U.S. citizens the right to an abortion and other reproductive services, but overturning allows states to rule individually on the matter. Without the federal protections for Roe v. Wade, accessibility to safe abortions will decrease dramatically. There are 13 alleged states that would outlaw abortions completely including: Arkansas, the Dakotas, Idado, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. Therefore, there will be 13 states banning safe and reliable abortions.

Now that this 49-year-old judgment has been dismantled, the reality of upholding more recent civil rights cases like Obergefell v. Hodges will dwindle. In Alito’s draft opinion, a slew of landmark civil rights cases previously ruled upon by the Supreme Court have been deemed “incorrectly decided.” He then continued to directly cite Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that protects same-sex marriages because of the 14th amendment’s Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause. But because neither landmark case is explicitly written in the constitution, these decisions that grant us civil liberties will crumble, one after the other. 

In opposition to the Supreme Court majority, the majority of Americans stand in support of abortion rights. A study by the Pew Research Center shows that about 61% of Americans believe that abortions should be allowed in any or all cases. Since the Supreme Court’s final decision ruled in favor of their draft and in opposition to the vast majority of the American population, the judicial system’s credibility will diminish. Even so, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas claims the Supreme Court will not be “bullied” by protests in stark opposition.

Though we cannot change the Supreme Court justices’ minds or the makeup of the judicial panel, it is imperative to vote for change in our state governments to assure our prosperity and freedoms. Voting for state and local officials that advocate for civil and social justices can help us amend state constitutions. By adding amendments to state constitutions, certain rights like gay marriage, interracial marriage and abortion rights can be guaranteed by states and cannot be denied by the federal government. Attend protests, sign petitions, urge your representatives to take action and do not lose hope. This fight is not over.