“The Nation’s history and traditions”

Hello Commie:

We are nearing the end of our week’s Florida getaway after the Catskills house sale. Yep, been on the beach. I have been reading Hemingway…

[On Amelia Island, Florida. From A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway, 1964.]

So if I use run on sentences you won’t be too shocked but we were exhausted by the house closing and for the first time in my family’s history since I think 1858 or so when the first ones arrived in the U.S. from Europe that I know of with Dad in Pennsylvania now none of us have any foothold whatsoever in New York State. That makes me a bit sad. But the world rotates on.

This is in reply really of course to your email ranting about the Supreme Court leak. You want my initial reaction? Okay. Remember this, back when women were basically “silent” in politics?:

[Click to expand.]

What has been revealed by that leak is Justice Samuel Alito (the decision’s apparent author, speaking for the other four “conservatives”) in particular – he being an Italian-American as I am (about 5/8ths), I feel he has some nerve hankering back to a past such as that above in which our ancestors were generally not wanted by many in that very same America for which he is clearly so politically nostalgic – believes a woman’s right to choose to end a pregnancy even in the first 12 weeks, as is commonly legal now even in Roman Catholic countries in Western Europe, is not a right because it was not a right in that American “past.” He writes: “The inescapable conclusion is that a right to abortion is not deeply rooted in the Nation’s history and traditions.”

Politico notes of Alito’s view:

Much of Alito’s draft is devoted to arguing that widespread criminalization of abortion during the 19th and early 20th century belies the notion that a right to abortion is implied in the Constitution…

…“Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. Zero. None. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right.”

In that paragraph just above, he seems to feel that since abortion was illegal and decriminalizing it was never discussed widely before (he believes) the “latter” 20th century (evidently he was among women privately talking together in a situation involving an unwanted pregnancy in “1850,” eh?), a lack of public mainstream political debate is somehow proof of something.

One hardly knows where to start with that sort of muddled historical thinking. Indeed he should be impeached for being that clueless in making no allowance for the fact women did not even VOTE nationally until 1920 and few held high elective office until the 1960s. That fact being also a huge part of our “Nation’s history and traditions,” WHEN, pray tell, would de-criminalization of abortion have come up in, for example, the elections of “1860” or ”1820” or any others pre-1920 when all candidates were male and all voters male? (Aside from some local areas and in a few states mostly from the 1880s.) Seriously.

[Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com]

Alito’s historical hot air there is also him using a sledgehammer to smash an eggshell. Everyone already knows the right to an abortion in Roe comes somewhere from “implied rights” in the Constitution – Roe in part at least from a “right to privacy” even though “privacy rights” are not mentioned explicitly in the document. It is incredible a Supreme Court justice could wonder aloud as to WHY abortion was not “explicitly” stated… in a document that was written initially entirely by MEN in 1787.

Relatedly President Jefferson had in 1803 bought the massive Louisiana territory from France in the belief that as president he had “the power” to do that under the Constitution even if it explicitly said nothing about a president buying half a continent from a foreign power. However, the notion of “implied powers” that exist in the Constitution stem in law really from we also know – as we learn in Political Science 101 in U.S. universities – the John Marshall (Yes, that John Marshall) court ruling in McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819. That ruling is why we now have the likes of the FCC, FDA, and FAA and so many other federal government agencies and efforts – for there is nothing in the Constitution about telecommunications, food and drug inspection, and jet aircraft either.

And were not pro-slavery laws also part of our “Nation’s history and traditions?” Similarly, laws that banned women from voting? But those were altered by constitutional amendments, not “implied powers,” so presumably Alito and his “conservative” colleagues are okay with those at least. Thank goodness.

[Civil War Union Fort Clinch, Amelia Island, Florida. Photo by me, 2022.]

However, the likes of same-sex marriage, or anything else that has over two centuries come out of “implied rights” is clearly in danger of being invalidated under Alito’s and such “conservatives'” narrow view of the Constitution. So this is not just about abortion rights for women. It is also a broad assault on the constitutionally “implied” that could set a dangerous precedent and do untold damage for decades to come.

Appalling too, three of the Court’s newest justices (Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett) are sullied due to having been appointed by a president who lost the popular vote in 2016 by some 3 million and therefore got into office only due to slipping through the Constitution’s Electoral College as a “minority” president (the Electoral College was never intended by the founders to elect a “minority” president, but unfortunately as we know now it can), then in January 2021 he attempted in polite terms to set aside the November 2020 election he lost by 7 MILLION votes and also LOST in the Electoral College and stay in office regardless in the biggest effort to subvert the will of American voters since Confederate secession in 1860-61. More accurately, that repeated-bankrupt conman failed casino owner idiot fascist tried basically to overthrow the government to satisfy his own vanity and ambition. One can only guess how angry that behavior would have made first president George Washington. It is little wonder too now that more and more Americans also question the Electoral College’s legitimacy and continued existence.

Let’s see, so where are we now in 2022? Dear Leader Trump dirtied the presidency with his inability to leave office as a “good loser” in the manner of every previously defeated president since John Adams in 1801 and that unpresidential behavior, coupled with his continuing mouthing off since, has led a large percentage of Americans for the first time to question the legitimacy of our elections. His “confederates” who invaded the U.S. Capitol at his instigation on January 6, 2021 soiled the halls of Congress. (Every time I see a member on the floor giving a speech now, I think on the fact that briefly our Congress was violated by those “confederates” waving their MAGA brownshirt-equivalent flag.) Now the Supreme Court seems to be going the same route – damaged by Dear Leader appointees. But why shouldn’t that be so, too? What makes the Supreme Court any different than the executive and the legislative branches that it should not be besmirched by Dear Leader and his “confederates?”

I so hate living in interesting times. I’m going back to the beach later and try to forget all this.

[In Command of History, by David Reynolds, 2004. Photo by me, 2022.]

Maybe I will read some of him today.

One good thing may come out of it if Roe v. Wade is officially struck down. As was the case before 1972, in states where abortion is outlawed (again) well-to-do pregnant women who need one will of course travel to states where the procedure is still legal; it is, as is always the case in the U.S., going to be the poorer who are most burdened. Yet if women overall are to be forced to have children, they are hopefully more likely than ever before going to start to seek at the voting booth perhaps universal free healthcare as well as free childcare.

For if government is going legally to demand they bear children, given they vote now in greater numbers than ever before women – unlike in Alito’s pre-1920 America – hopefully will demand in return that that government bear much more of the cost for those children both during the pregnancy and after birth. One supposes Dear Leader’s “conservatives” are fully prepared for what is then likely to follow the overturn of Roe: They will have laid the groundwork for a victory eventually for “socialist” healthcare. Because that’s what the European healthcare they profess to loathe does: pregnant women and mothers get a mass of government-paid assistance and help with child-rearing that is unknown to American women.

Oh, and presumably men – who are also necessary for pregnancies we recall – are going to be chased by government RELENTLESSLY for child support payments if they run from their male responsibility… as was too often the case in Alito’s U.S. ”good old days.”

Anyway, I suppose you have a Bernie sign up already for 2024. Stop it. He will not be the next president. You people in Vermont are nuts.

R.J.

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