Fifty Years …

On this day in 1973, exactly 50 years ago, the United States Supreme Court decided in the case of Roe v Wade to decriminalize abortion and give women the right to make decisions about their own bodies.  The vote was 7-2 with only Justices Rehnquist and White voting against it. Until seven months ago, June 24, 2022, we thought we would be celebrating the 50th anniversary of this momentous decision, but instead we are once again fighting to be treated fairly, fighting in many cases for our very lives.

Members of the Supreme Court on April 20, 1972. Front row, from left: Justices Potter Stewart and William O. Douglas; Chief Justice Warren E. Burger; Justices William J. Brennan Jr. and Byron R. White. Back row, from left: Justices Lewis F. Powell Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Harry A. Blackmun and William H. Rehnquist. (John Rous/AP)

Above is the Supreme Court of 1973.  It would be another eight years until the first woman justice, Sandra Day O’Connor, would take her seat on the Court in 1981.  In June 2022, when the decision in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization was handed down, there were three women on the Court, and yet women’s rights were slashed.  Six days after the Dobbs decision, a fourth woman, Ketanji Brown Jackson, would take her seat, bringing the number of women on the court to a historic four.

Formal group photograph of the Supreme Court as it was been comprised on June 30, 2022 after Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson joined the Court. Seated from left are Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Samuel A. Alito and Elena Kagan. Standing from left are Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil M. Gorsuch, Brett M. Kavanaugh, and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Credit: Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Even prior to Roe v Wade, in most states a woman could have an abortion if the pregnancy threatened her life, but since the decision in the Dobbs case, many states have even taken that right away.  The woman is left to die, else forced to travel to a friendlier state where her life is deemed to have some value.

Since the founding of this nation, when it was written in the Declaration of Independence, signed on August 2nd, 1776, that “… all men are created equal,” leaving women out altogether, we have been fighting to be included in that ‘equality’.  Women have had to fight for the right to own property, to divorce their husband, to receive equal pay for equal work, and perhaps most importantly, to vote.  To this day, the nation has failed to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, that would codify equal rights for all citizens, regardless of gender.  The Equal Rights Amendment was first proposed in December 1923, nearly 100 years ago, and still has not managed to pass.  Its history is long and convoluted, albeit interesting.  If you’re interested, check out this article in History.com.

Now, I could make a damn good argument for why I think the Supreme Court made a huge mistake in their ruling on Dobbs, but you likely already know the argument.  Instead, I’d like to pose a question, one that has bothered me ever since I was old enough to ponder such things:

Why are women considered somehow lesser beings than men to begin with?

Is it because of that religious myth that man was created first, and woman was an afterthought created from a rib bone of a man?  Is it because we are typically smaller?  Is it because our voices aren’t as deep?  Is it because we don’t have that all-important extra appendage (I’m trying to keep it family-friendly here so as not to offend)?  Seriously, I have never understood why we are still, after all these thousands of years, considered somehow … substandard.

Women have proven themselves in every field – law, medicine, education, politics, science, business – and yet we are deprived of our rights simply because we are women.  We still struggle against that ‘glass ceiling’ in the corporate world, though we’ve come a long way.  Look at the demographics of the U.S. Congress … the most recently elected House of Representatives has 29% women, and in the Senate, 25% … though women comprise some 50.47% of the population. And this is a 59% increase from a decade ago!  You can probably guess which political party has the highest percentage of women … and it isn’t the Republican Party.

Talk is cheap.  Saying that women have equal rights, but denying them the right to even make decisions regarding their own health choices, is hypocrisy.  A man can walk into a doctor’s office and walk out 15 minutes later with a prescription for Viagra that will enable him to engage in sex all night long if he chooses, but a woman is denied the right to even birth control in many states.  A woman who is raped and becomes pregnant cannot get an abortion in many states today, but must be forced to live with the results of a crime for the rest of her life, while the child’s sire sits in a bar bragging about yet another ‘conquest’.

I don’t understand it, will never understand it, but I know it’s wrong.  Today, we should be celebrating 50 years of Roe v Wade, 50 years of women’s rights, of respect for women.  Instead, we are back to square one … no wait … we are actually at square minus one, because birth control is harder for us to get now, and even in cases where a woman’s life is at risk, abortion is illegal in many states.  We were actually better off 50 years ago.  All thanks to Justices Alito, Thomas, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, Barrett, and Chief Justice Roberts.  I hope that someday, somehow, it comes back to haunt each and every one of them.

Justice Alito Assured Senator Ted Kennedy That He Would Not Overturn Roe v. Wade

It’s one thing to acknowledge that politicians will tell lies to get elected to office. We may not like it, and some tell small lies while others tell whoppers, but most people accept that there are some lies told by politicians. However, Supreme Court justices are NOT politicians, do not stand for election but rather are appointed for life, and thus we should be able to hold them to a higher standard. To say that today’s Court is a disappointment would be an understatement. Read what Diane Ravitch shows us about the lack of integrity of one Justice Samuel Alito.

Diane Ravitch's blog

The New York Times reported that Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito assured Senator Ted Kennedy that he would not overturn Roe v. Wade. He said repeatedly that he respects precedent and considered Roe to be settled law. Seventeen years later, Justice Alito wrote the scathing opinion overturning Roe v. Wade and asserting that it was wrong from the start.

How should Americans react when they learn that at least three of the 6 justices who voted to overturn Roe are liars?

Senator Edward M. Kennedy looked skeptically at the federal judge. It was Nov. 15, 2005, and Samuel A. Alito Jr., who was seeking Senate confirmation for his nomination to the Supreme Court, had just assured Mr. Kennedy in a meeting in his Senate office that he respected the legal precedent of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 court decision that legalized abortion.

“I am a believer in precedents,” Judge Alito…

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Conservatives??? HAH!!! I Think NOT!

As he so often does, Robert Reich hits the nail spot on the head in his take on the term ‘conservative’ as it is used to describe Republicans.  Read on …


How to handle radical Republicans

Stop calling them conservative. And take steps to genuinely conserve America

Robert Reich

July 11

This morning, I heard a commentator allude to “Mitch McConnell and other conservative senators.” Yesterday, a news report described the upcoming Alaska Republican primary as pitting Trump’s “conservative wing against Murkowski’s more moderate base.” I keep seeing references to the “conservative majority” on the Supreme Court.

Can we get real? There is nothing conservative about these so-called “conservatives.” They don’t want to preserve or protect our governing institutions — the core idea of conservatism extending from Edmund Burke to William F. Buckley and Barry Goldwater. They are radicals, intent on wrecking these institutions to impose their ideology on everyone else.

The Supreme Court’s Republican appointees have all but obliterated stare decisis — the conservative principle that the Court must follow its precedents and not change or reverse them unless clearly necessary, and with near unanimity. Recent decisions reversing Roe v. Wade, elevating religious expression over the Constitution’s bar on established religion, questioning Congress’s ability to delegate rule making to the executive branch, and barring states from regulating handguns, all call into question the legitimacy of the Supreme Court as an institution.

Meanwhile, Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, are abusing the filibuster and undermining the legitimacy of the Senate.

Throughout much of the 20th century, filibusters remained rare. But after Barack Obama moved into the Oval Office in 2009, McConnell and his Republican senate minority blocked virtually every significant piece of legislation. Between 2010 and 2020, there were as many cloture motions as during the entire 60-year period from 1947 to 2006. Now McConnell and his Republicans are stopping almost everything in its tracks. Just 41 Senate Republicans, representing only 21 percent of the country, are blocking laws supported by the vast majority of Americans.

At the same time, Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress and in the states have upended the centerpiece of American democracy, the peaceful transition of power, and undermined the legitimacy of our elections.

They continue to assert without any basis in fact that the 2020 election was stolen. Trump encouraged an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and threatened the life of the Vice President. Republican state legislatures are enacting legislation to suppress votes and take over election machinery.

Make no mistake: Republican appointees to the Supreme Court, most Republicans in Congress, and Trump Republican lawmakers across America are not conservative. They are radicals. They have embarked on a radical agenda of repudiating our governing institutions and taking over American democracy.

It is time to stop using the term “conservative” to describe them and their agenda.

And it is time it to fight back: Enlarge the size of the Supreme Court and limit the terms of justices. Abolish the filibuster and then pass laws most Americans want — protecting voting rights and reproductive rights, and controlling guns. Criminally prosecute Trump and his insurgents.

These are conservative measures. They are necessary to conserve and protect our governing institutions from the radicals now bent on destroying them.

A Dose of Needed Optimism

Jeff and Greg … they started On the Fence Voters several years ago. Life has a way of changing the best laid plans, so we haven’t heard much from Greg in the last couple of years (I owe you an email, Greg … I haven’t forgotten … I’m just perpetually behind!), but Jeff has worked hard to get the message across. Today, we get to not only hear Greg’s voice once again, but see some great, inspirational photos! And, he’s nudging us all to get out there and do our part, telling us that our voices DO make a difference! Thank you both, Jeff & Greg! Loved the photos and loved the chat between you two!

On The Fence Voters

On the heels of my last post, which was on the dark and pessimistic side, I’d like to head in the opposite direction. And, by the way, I’d like to thank everyone who commented on that post. All of them were thoughtful and encouraging. Frankly, I need that!

Four years ago, my long-time good friend Greg called and asked me if I was interested in starting a blog. We were both angry and sick over the Parkland, Florida mass shooting and wanted to do something about it. Instead of complaining about how things were going in this country, it was time to put our anger into words and try to make a difference.

Since that day, it hasn’t quite worked out how Greg had intended. He could not contribute to the blog as he had planned. Life was dealing him lemon after lemon, and it wasn’t working out.

However…

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The Week’s Best Cartoons 7/2

This week, as has been the case for many weeks/months of late, there was plenty for the political cartoonists to choose from.  Recent Supreme Court rulings and Tuesday’s televised hearing of Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony to the January 6th committee are, naturally, the main topics and the cartoonists have done a great job showing us the drama and angst that defines our nation today.  You won’t find much in the way of mirth, but there is a certain dark humour woven into it all.  Please be sure to click on the link at the bottom of this post to see the rest of the cartoons!  Thank you, TokyoSand, for finding some of the best ‘toons from this past dark week.


Click here to see ALL the ‘toons!!!

Today Is A Dark Day

So, there were no surprises in the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health, but nonetheless it was a gut punch for at least half the people in this nation.  We knew this was to be the outcome, for we read Justice Alito’s leaked opinion on May 2nd and our jaws dropped then, just as they did this morning.

What hypocrisy that yesterday the Court ruled it illegal for states to do ANYTHING to restrict the rights of gun owners, and today the same Court ruled that it is perfectly legal to do EVERYTHING possible to restrict the rights of women.  It should be noted that the majority of gun owners are, in fact, males.  Well, my friends, we women know where we stand.

But it isn’t going to stop here, and Justice Clarence Thomas, husband of insurrectionist Virginia Thomas, has already made that perfectly clear …

“We should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell. We have a duty to correct the error established in those precedents. After overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated.”

The cases he refers directly to are:

  • Griswold v Connecticut – a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects the liberty of married couples to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction.
  • Lawrence v. Texas – a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that sanctions of criminal punishment for those who commit sodomy are unconstitutional.
  • Obergefell v Hodges – a landmark civil rights case in which the Supreme ruled that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by both the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I have lost all respect for the United States Supreme Court, for they have taken this nation into darkness, have shirked their duty to the U.S. Constitution, to the nation, and to We the People.  Today, the Court is but another arm of the right-wing of the Republican Party, doing not what is in the best interest of the people, but what is demanded by the religious fanatics who would control every aspect of our lives.

The majority of people in this country want gun laws that will protect us and our families from such incidents as Uvalde and Buffalo.  The majority of people in this nation believe women should have the right to make their own health decisions.  But the will of the majority matters not on this dark day, for the spate of recent decisions have all gone against what the majority of people in this nation want.  This can only lead me to believe that in some sense, we are already living under an autocratic government if the will of the majority can be completely disregarded while the will of the few wins the day.  Today, it was women’s rights, but tomorrow …

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me

Poem by Martin Niemöller

U.S. Supreme Court v Common Sense

Ever since the former guy got the chance to nominate a second (Brett Kavanaugh) and then a third (Amy Barrett) Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, I have been skeptical that the Court could manage to remain fair and non-partisan.  When the preliminary decision on Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization that could overturn the 1973 ruling on Roe v Wade was leaked back in May, my worst fears were confirmed, and this week they have been confirmed yet again – twice.


Congress Shall Make No Law …

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”  This is the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and is known as the Establishment Clause under which the federal government and all governments under it, cities, states, territories, etc., are prohibited from establishing or sponsoring religion.  In the words of Justice Stephen Breyer …

“The very point of the Establishment Clause is to prevent the government from sponsoring religious activity itself, thereby favoring one religion over another or favoring religion over nonreligion.”

In layman’s terms, since freedom of religion is important … freedom to observe any chosen religion or no religion at all … it is unfair for government funds that come from We the People in the form of taxes be used to support any one religion.  That is the basis for the 16th Amendment.  But on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the case of Carson v Makin involving a Maine law that forbade public money to go to religious schools.  Under that law, if a town does not have a secondary school aka high school, parents may get vouchers from the state to pay for their children to attend a private school, but not a religious school.  Certain parents took umbrage, for the school that was available to them allowed LGBTQ students and these parents did not wish their children to attend school with LGBTQ kids and thus they petitioned the state for vouchers to send their children to a religious school whose entrance requirements largely eliminated the possibility of an LGBTQ child enrolling.

On Tuesday, the Court ruled in favour of the parents and in so doing, the Court in essence demolished the 16th Amendment and said that there is no longer a separation between government and religion.  This will no doubt be seen as a red-letter day for the bigots and no doubt many more will follow suit in the near future.  I wonder, though, how loud the furor will be when some parent chooses to obtain the vouchers and use them to send their kids to a Muslim or Hindu school?  Wait for it, for I’m betting money that those religious bigots will have their knickers in a knot when that happens.


That 2nd Amendment … yet again

And then yesterday, the Court made what I consider to be yet another grievous error in judgment in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v Bruen.  Quite simply, since the United States Congress has steadfastly been unable or unwilling to pass any meaningful gun legislation, the State of New York passed its own law that prohibited most people, unless they could show need, from carrying a gun in public.  Makes sense, right?  If you claim you need a gun to protect yourself and your family from a home invasion, as most gun nuts claim, then you don’t need to take it to the library, grocery store, or a restaurant.  But, the gun nuts said it violated their 2nd Amendment ‘rights’.  For the record, the Amendment in question here reads …

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Period.  There is no more.  Nothing that says all people have the right to own killing machines that are capable of killing 20-30 people within a minute or two.  Nothing says the average Joe even has a right to own a gun, let alone carry one in public. I guess that Justices Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, Thomas, Barrett, and Chief Justice John Roberts care more about pandering to the gun nuts than protecting our children.


So, to recap the results of these two Supreme Court decisions, we will now be forced to financially support religious education, even those of us who do not believe in or follow any religion, and … we and our families will continue to be in danger any time we leave our home, for we can’t be sure that dude sitting next to us in a restaurant or on the bus isn’t ‘packing heat’.  Way to go, SCOTUS.  Within the next week or so, given that the Court will be in summer recess around the first week in July, there are two more contentious cases that will be ruled on:

  • The aforementioned Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization whereby unless the Court has done a 180° reversal from May’s leaked ruling, women’s rights will be placed in the meat grinder and shredded forevermore (or until 100 years from now when the current Justices have left and some with a conscience have replaced them.)
  • West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency where the State of West Virginia is claiming that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should not be allowed to set rules and regulations around greenhouse gas emissions. Given their recent rulings, I look for them to rule in favour of West Virginia, and if they do, you will hear me ranting some more, for this is our lives and the lives of future generations that’s at stake here!

WOMEN ARE PERSONS, NOT COWS! REPEALING RvW TURNS WOMEN BACK INTO COWS!

We women have been ranting endlessly since the draft of the Supreme Court decision that will almost certainly become final next month reversing the long-standing Roe v Wade was leaked. I’ve done my share of ranting, and I ain’t done yet! But when a man is as passionate on the issue as we women are, I sit up and take notice! Our friend rawgod posted this earlier today and I think it deserves a wider audience. Thank you, rg, for your passionate defense of women’s rights!

Ideas From Outside the Boxes

The following is a comment (slightly altered) I just sent to a woman who wants to see Roe vs Wade repealed. She thinks women should not have a choice to abort a fetus, because to her, the (potential) life of a fetus is more important than the life of the woman carrying that fetus. We were carrying on a written conversation when I had a kind of epiphany. I had heard people saying RvW is more important than just the right to choose. It has deeper implications. Then, in an instant, I saw what repealing RvW really meant. Here is my response:

Please allow me to add, I appreciate that without women there would be no human race. Women are the mothers of all. But that does not mean women are “Only Mothers!” Women have lives too, and motherhood as birthers of children is secondary! Until a woman is ready…

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Let Da Snarky Snippets Roll …

Okay, friends, it’s been a while since I’ve let the snark roll and today I think it’s high time!  It’s building up and causing me to be a very grumpy ol’ gal, so hold onto your hats while I share just a wee bit of my angst this afternoon …


Equal Justice Under Law

Those are the words engraved above the main entrance to the Supreme Court Building.  Apparently, some of the nine justices sitting on the Court today never look up as they are entering the building.  Per Justice Clarence Thomas, husband of the notorious January 6th coup supporter …

“I do think that what happened at the court is tremendously bad. I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them and then I wonder when they’re gone or destabilized what we will have as a country, and I don’t think the prospects are good if we continue to lose them.”

That “tremendously bad” thing he was talking about wasn’t his wife’s contribution to the attemped coup last year, nor was it the draft of the decision to reverse Roe v Wade, but rather the fact that the draft was leaked.  Now, a couple of points here … there is much speculation that it was leaked with full knowledge and support of at least one of the justices.  More to the point, though … speaking about “undermining the institutions” … what is being undermined is the purpose of the institutions, what they are intended to accomplish.  The U.S. Supreme Court is intended to hear disputes and make a final decision based on the Constitution and on what is best for the people of this nation.  In a number of recent rulings, they appear to have made their decisions based on what the Republican Party wants, not what is best for any of us.  So, Clarence …


Another one speaks up too late

Former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, has written a book ironically titled A Sacred Oath.  It is yet another ‘tell-all’ book about the former guy’s ignorance and inhumanity.  Now, I haven’t read the book … I may or may not, I’m as yet undecided … but I’ve read a few reviews and snippets that were published in the media.  In the book, Esper apparently tells that Trump wanted to shoot at civilians protesting against racism in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and suggested that the Pentagon launch Patriot missiles at drug laboratories in Mexico — saying no one would know the United States was responsible.  This one thing exemplifies the utter stupidity of the former guy and proves that we barely dodged the bullet from 2017-2021.

My question for Mr. Esper is this:  WHY THE SAM HELL didn’t he make this public as it happened, rather than two years after the fact???  Does he expect to be hailed a hero for letting us know how close we came to being shot for exercising our 1st Amendment rights, or how close we came to starting a war with our ally, Mexico?  I’m quite sure there are some interesting, nay fascinating, tidbits in Mr. Esper’s book, but I have zero respect for him, for he could have gone to the proper authorities, could have stood before Congress and told what he knew back in early 2020, and it might … just might have been enough to finally convince the U.S. Senate to finally convict and remove the criminal from the Oval Office.  WHY did he wait?

Today, we face the very real threat that the former guy will run for office again in 2024 and a truly catastrophic threat that he could win, which would be the end of this nation as we’ve known it.  Mr. Esper could have been a hero, but instead he continued to be a loyal lapdog to a madman and is now attempting to profit from it via book royalties.  Apparently his ‘Oath’ wasn’t so ‘Sacred’ to him after all, eh?


Summer of Rage

Summer doesn’t officially begin for more than a month, but it has already been dubbed the “Summer of Rage”, as a result of the many protests supporting women’s rights, specifically Roe v Wade, across the nation this past weekend.  In Washington D.C., more than 20,000 protestors marched in protest of the Supreme Court’s pending decision to overturn Roe, and similar protests occurred in nearly every major city in the nation.  The people are making their voices heard loud and clear, but it is doubtful whether it will have any impact on the decision by the Court, since the nine justices are guaranteed their job for life and have no need to even consider the voice of the people.

Members of Congress, on the other hand, do serve at the will of the people and after the Senate refused to support women’s rights last week, it may well be that certain Republicans will face an uphill battle.  Frankly, I hope every damn one of Republicans in both chambers of Congress who are up for re-election this November lose by a landslide.  Apparently, most of them did not get the memo stating that women are people too.  Women’s rights are Civil Rights.  We are not some strange space aliens who must be controlled, nor are we objects created solely for men’s pleasure, as most Republican males seem to believe.  Summer of Rage, eh?  Looks like it’s gonna be a long, hot summer.

TokyoSand’s Week’s Best Political Cartoons

As she always does, TokyoSand has taken the time to scour the media for the best political ‘toons of the week.  Political cartoons are appealing because they sum up a situation using few or no words, whereas the rest of us require hundreds or even thousands of words to try to explain the why, what, when, where and hows of what is happening in our world.  Thank you, TS, for all your hard work in finding these gems!


This is only a sampling, so be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons at TokyoSand’s Political Charge!!!