How the Supreme Court decision revoking abortion rights is a symbol of the influence of the Trump years

Of the Court’s nine judges, five, including three judges appointed by Donald Trump
during his tenure, voted to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade, who protected abortion across all 50 states.

Lecturer at the University of Lille and historian specializing in the history of law and justice in the United States, Simon Grivet tells us more.

The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to reverse the right to abortion. How can this reversal be explained?

In the United States, religious feeling is much more lively and stronger than in Europe, especially within Protestantism. For many evangelical churches, this issue of abortion has become absolutely central. This concern is also relayed by the Catholic Church.

In the 1970s, these two religious groups made it their mission to enter politics and systematically put this subject at the center by saying: “We will vote for the candidates who are for life”, that is to say against abortion. These movements also had a strategy of winning over the magistracy which proved to be very effective.

However, the share of people calling for a complete ban on abortion does not exceed 30% in the United States…

It’s always like that when we do polls in the United States, which is a very large country with more than 300 million inhabitants. These kinds of national polls missed regional nuances. You have a lot of states in the south, some in the Midwest or rural states in the Rockies, where there is a majority of people against abortion.

LREM announces filing a bill to include the right to abortion in the French Constitution

How is this decision a symbol of the influence of the Trump years?

The strategy of this religious and republican right began in the 1980s when Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House. But his first choices did not work: in 1992, the magistrates thus decided to safeguard the right to abortion at the last moment…

The Republicans then chose people who were staunchly anti-abortion. Work has also been done by a lobby, the Federalist Society, very influential in the major law universities where it recruits the most brilliant diplomas. His speech was to say: “If you think the right to own a gun is fundamental and if you are against the right to abortion, then join us: we will push your ideas into the spheres of power”.

When Trump launched his campaign in the summer of 2015, for this religious right, he was not credible. He’s a TV man, married three times, his personality is suspect. It’s a bit like Patrick Sébastien who gets into politics. But he will hold a very Islamophobic discourse which pleases them. Very quickly, his advisers will tell him: “If you want the votes of this religious right, you have to be against abortion”.
Donald Trump will therefore become opposed to abortion and make an alliance with this religious right by saying: “If you support me, I will appoint the magistrates who please you, that is to say those chosen by the Federalist Society lobby” .

When Trump wins the election in 2017, he immediately has the opportunity to appoint a first judge; then a second, when Judge Anthony Kennedy retires. In the fall of 2020, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at age 87. Brilliance of the Republican senators, who will install a third judge, Amy Coney Barrett, very Catholic and very opposed to abortion. This is how they gradually assembled this majority of five judges opposed to abortion.

Could the Supreme Court threaten other rights?

A particularly extremist judge, Clarence Thomas, present since 1992, thinks that basically, if it is not written in the text, we cannot. He believes that we should go back to contraceptive rights, the rights of LGBT people…

He is currently the only one to have this radical and extremist idea. But if this is the case, I think there will be a reaction from public opinion and from the other branches of government, because there is too abrupt a shift.

Joe Biden called on voters to take action in November during the midterm elections. What can these elections change?

The House of Representatives will be re-elected as well as a third of the Senate. The ideal scenario for the Democrats, but which seems unlikely today, would be to increase the Democratic majority in the chamber and win a few senator seats that would allow the adoption of a federal law guaranteeing the right to abortion.

Thursday, June 24, the Supreme Court of the United States also affirmed for the first time that Americans have the right to carry weapons outside their homes…

This decision invalidates a New York State law that is more than a century old conditional on obtaining a license).

This text was considered too restrictive compared to what the Supreme Court considers what should be understood of the second amendment, that is to say an individual right to self-defense which can know only very few limits.

The Supreme Court of the United States would be ready to annul the right to abortion

Collected by Nicolas Faucon