Last month, Justice Samuel Alito insisted that the Supreme Court’s critics are wrong. The Court is not “a dangerous cabal” that is “deciding important issues in a novel, secretive, improper way, in the middle of the night, hidden from public view,” he said. Reading aloud from a piece I wrote in the aftermath of the Court’s recent ruling on an abortion law, Alito insisted that it was “false and inflammatory” to say that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision had been nullified in Texas.
Alito’s speech perfectly encapsulated the new imperious attitude of the Court’s right-wing majority, which wants to act politically without being seen as political, and expects the public to silently acquiesce to its every directive without scrutiny, criticism, or protest. (As if oblivious to the irony, Alito’s office set ground rules barring media outlets from transcribing or broadcasting in full the speech at the University of Notre Dame, in which he delivered his complaint.)
Last month, that conservative majority allowed Texas’s most recent restrictions on abortion to go into effect. Without exceptions for rape and incest, the Texas law bars abortions after six weeks, before most women know they are pregnant, and deputizes citizens to sue those who “enable” abortions after that period for a $10,000 bounty. At midnight on the day after the law took effect, the Republican appointees on the Court, except for Chief Justice John Roberts, insisted that a procedural scheme adopted by anti-abortion activists for the precise purpose of avoiding judicial review had tied their hands. [Continue reading…]