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Misogyny is a hell of a drug


Dahlia Lithwick on the contempt for the rights of women behind the Supreme Court overruling Roe in an unsigned opinion with one kinda-substantive paragraph of laughably bad faith fake-procedural bullshit at midnight on a Wednesday:

The cynic in me stands by the claim that they never intended to do in the open what could be done through sloppy subterfuge; that blaming irascible Texas wackiness, throwing up their hands and sighing that a law that was designed to evade judicial scrutiny somehow should evade scrutiny, and then slinking off to bed in the hopes that nobody would care much was always the most appealing strategy. But a careful look at the shoddy, contemptuous jurisdictional reasoning of the five justices in the majority suggests something even darker. It’s not just that the majority of the Supreme Court functionally ended abortion rights for most women in Texas last night merely because they could. And it’s not just that they did so because—as is so often the case with impressionistic, frayed shadow docket reasoning—their personal feelings about the constitutional right to abortion are quite robust. It’s almost impossible to not go one further and declare that the court opted to end virtually all abortion rights in Texas, in the full knowledge that they were blessing an unconstitutional and brutal piece of lawless vigilantism, because it’s only about women.

Forgive the hyperbole, but how else could the five justices in the majority—in the fullness of knowledge that by Wednesday morning Texas women would be isolated, terrified, and medically and psychologically endangered as a result of their own inaction—hide behind odious mansplaining about the “complex and novel antecedent procedural questions” that force them to stand by as clinics are shuttered and frantic women beg for services? In 2016, the Supreme Court conceded that a woman is 14 times more likely to die by carrying a pregnancy to term than by obtaining an abortion. The Texas law has no exception for rape or incest. And at six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks past a last missed period—vast numbers of women are unaware that they are pregnant.


Don’t even bother asking what the five justices on the majority of this court would have done with a hypothetical California law that conscripted citizen bounty hunters into reporting their suspicions about a neighbor’s unlawful gun possession. That order would have been 20 pages long, full of robust and muscular constitutional claims and outraged howls about broken Second Amendment promises. But a court that comes to you in the dark of night, without logic or reason, whispering soothing words about how “this order is not based on any conclusion about the constitutionality of Texas’s law” as it upends the constitutionality of Texas law? That is the stuff of ancient gaslighting, reserved for those moments in which Power is explaining to Women that they are just being hysterical, and to kindly lie back and enjoy it.

This is truly one of the lowest moments in the mostly ignominious history of the Supreme Court of the United States.

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