June 24, 2022
The end of Roe v. Wade could be just the beginning of an effort to strike down many more of our most cherished rights.
With its decision, the Supreme Court seems to be casting doubt on the validity and legality of unenumerated rights—any right not specifically written in the Constitution. That’s chilling, because many of the rights we take for granted today are unenumerated—our society has changed a lot since the 1700s, and the laws that govern us have had to change to keep pace. Now all this progress is under threat.
If the Supreme Court can strike down an established, 50-year-old precedent like Roe, what other rights could be at risk? Let’s take a look.
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Marriage Between People of Different Races
Loving v. Virginia (1967) legalized marriage between people of different races—and it’s probably not much of a shock to discover that the slave-owning Founding Fathers did not include that right in the Constitution.
It took 30 years after the Loving decision for polls to finally show that a majority of Americans supported marriage between people of different races. Today, public sentiment has dramatically shifted (94% approve of it), but right-wing politicians are already talking about overturning Loving and leaving decisions about interracial marriage up to the states.
The right to privacy isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, but Griswold set an important precedent about the limits of government intrusion into our private lives that has been referenced in many cases about same-sex marriage and abortion—a precedent threatened by the Roe decision.
Behind the legal maneuverings is a longstanding Republican-backed effort to conflate abortion with contraception and make it harder to obtain birth control.
Marriage Between People of the Same Sex
But, as in the Griswold case, the ruling depended in part on the Due Process Clause, which protects basic rights that are not specifically addressed in the Constitution.
Justice Alito’s anti-Roe argument, which has been criticized as a misunderstanding of history and a misreading of the Constitution, nonetheless calls that interpretation of the clause into question.
Lawrence v. Texas (2003) struck down a Texas law that banned sex between two people of the same sex. That monumental decision came out less than 20 years ago! And yet, today, it may be in jeopardy.
Why? Because once again the Due Process Clause was critical to the ruling, which means our right to love who we love and keep the government out of our bedrooms could now be under threat.
It’s Time to Take Action
The list of rights secured by Supreme Court decisions is long, especially when it comes to privacy, parenting, and the family. To name just a few more:
- The right to procreate
- The right to custody of your children
- The right to control the upbringing of your children
- The right of adults to refuse medical care
Following the logic of the Roe decision, they could be struck down too—after all, none of them can be found in the Constitution. If the Court’s anti-Roe reasoning holds sway, then we may be about to witness the dismantling of a series of rulings and precedents that protect the fundamental rights of millions of Americans.
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Do A Waffle Lotta Good With Every Waffle Cone!
Your waffle cone just got even sweeter! From Oct. 3 to 17, we’re donating $1 for every waffle cone purchased in Scoop Shops to Advancement Project, a national civil rights organization working to progress human rights and build power in local communities.
3 Easy, Dorm-Friendly Recipes
Now that you've moved in and met the new roommate, it's time to start perfecting those late-night munchables. Luckily we have 3 that you're going to be making on repeat this semester.