As a blanket content advisory…if you plan to read this when it comes out, you’ve seen the news from the past week and know where this will go. If you come to this post later, this post gets into the 2022 Supreme Court decisions, including some of the ground that I covered in my post Supporting the Right to Choose.

In other words, expect guns, uteri—which my spell-checker swears is the correct plural and not a cute joke—civil liberties, violence, and so forth.

The U.S. Supreme Court Building

That out of the way, over the past week, the Supreme Court has decided to allow states to treat abortion as murder—maybe worse than murder, in some cases—and made it easier for people to carry concealed weapons. Over the past few weeks, they’ve also called for banning other people just living their lives, including Clarence Thomas’s concurrence in the abortion case, asking people to bring cases before them to overturn precedent.

Let’s look at these issues in the abstract and mostly independently.


I’ve already spoken about abortion rights at length. I even wrote about Dobbs when the draft opinion leaked, so I won’t rehash it beyond a summary.

Embryos do not have personhood, and never have, except in the context of giving men an excuse to control women’s bodies. You already have me on record pointing out how the anti-abortion movement sees people as “extremists” when they oppose fertility clinics throwing away entire trays of embryos, mass abortion. I’ve mentioned that no government counts fetuses for the census, welfare, political representation, or anything productive.

To this, I will add that Justice Kavanaugh’s concurrence opinion says that he would support a federal abortion ban. Those of you who said that Kavanaugh would live up to his promise in his confirmation hearings owe your colleagues an apology. Those of us who assumed that he would keep his promise for exactly as long as he believed that Susan Collins had a chance at re-election, take a victory lap. Those of you who identify as Brett Kavanaugh, you and your fellow Trump appointees should resign and follow your destiny as a beer spokesman.

We need abortion rights, for an entire list of reasons. One major reason that always bears repeating: You can’t really tell the difference between a random miscarriage and an abortion. I don’t remember if I’ve made the point, before, but investigating someone for murder on what probably counts as the worst day of their life seems cruel, but I can guarantee that we’ll see it frequently.

If the Supreme Court wants to allow abortion bans because sometimes racists support abortion—an actual idea that Alito floats in his decision—then they should stop pretending to serve as “originalists” or “textualists,” because racists love to limit the scope of discussion to the prevailing thoughts when society normalized racism. They should resign from a court created by people who largely believed that government should support their buying and selling of humans of certain ethnicities like livestock.


Also decided this week, the court found in NYSRPA v Bruen that a century-old New York law couldn’t ask for a justification for a concealed weapon permit.

Look, I don’t oppose gun rights, to a certain extent. I hate guns and find them useless, but if you want to put your family at risk, because you fear some potential home invader more than the increased risk of suicide or accidental homicide, sure, go wild. If you don’t feel manly enough unless you have a gun nuzzled against your hips, I don’t think that your impotence should become my concern, if you don’t make it my concern.

Not that anybody would ask me, but I would handle gun violence by adapting know your customer laws in business: When someone uses a gun in an illegal manner, make the entire supply chain liable for the damage, because every link in that chain failed to understand the business of their customers. Most critically, if someone misuses your gun, victims should hold you responsible for negligence, because you either lent it to someone who had a bad plan or you failed to secure it properly. I feel that this works, because we have those rules for money, and the Supreme Court keeps telling us that money also needs absolute protections.

Regardless of my fantasy, the only reason to carry a concealed weapon is murder. You can’t claim to want it for self-defense, because a weapon that nobody knows about has no value as a deterrent. A potential attacker needs to know that they incur an added risk in attacking.

By contrast, concealment allows you to get closer to a prospective victim or to lure someone closer with the intent of killing them. Both of these qualifies a premeditated murder. Maybe we should need to explain why we need to hide the danger in approaching us…

Miranda Rights

We all know the scene from TV and movies: The detective discovers that his old nemesis has returned, out on the street because his lawyer got the case dismissed on a technicality. Now, the detective needs to ignore his colleagues and superiors in favor of a rogue investigation to put the hated enemy away for good.

The Supreme Court decided that those TV detectives need a break. In Vega v Tekoh, Samuel Alito says that ignorance of your rights makes a perfect excuse for letting the police violate them. Actually advising a suspect of their rights, he dismisses as unnecessary, or at least doesn’t believe that we should blame the police for taking advantage of someone who doesn’t realize their right against self-incrimination.

Unspoken in all this, if we can’t sue the police for failing to advise suspects of their rights, then they might as well coerce confessions—most of which will turn out false—out of those suspects without a defense attorney present. After all, if the police don’t need to inform people of their rights, that presumes that people already know, and if they already know, then they will assert those rights, if they want to. Right? Right…?

Of course not. But think about how this interacts with Dobbs, above—arresting a teenager on suspicion that they might secure an abortion for a pregnancy with an abuser—and you can see why Sam Alito thinks this will work out fine.

Other Rights

As mentioned, Alito, Thomas, and Kavanaugh all left “land mines” in their writing on these cases, warning their next targets. Kavanaugh merely welcomes a hypothetical future nation-wide abortion ban.

However, Alito and Thomas both insist that Roe v Wade looks like a lot of other cases in Supreme Court history. And as I’ve mentioned before, that list includes marriage equality (gender- and race-based, plus to prisoners), non-reproductive sex, contraception, forced medical procedures (including sterilization), and others.

We also saw in Carson v Makin that the rights that this Supreme Court will always uphold, beyond gun rights, center on the right of fake-Christians to use government money to indoctrinate children on hate.

And we can see conservative groups around the country fight to exclude transgender individuals from society and prevent the teaching of any history that makes them feel uncomfortable.

They definitely have a vision of the future of the United States, and it doesn’t look like any of our national ideals.

Adding This Up

Look, I realize, and often point out, that Republicans hope to make us all fear and suspect each other, to make their policies seem sound. Their policies all revolve around exclusion and hurting people to prevent them from disrupting the “order” that keeps them down. Even the most progressive conservative fears letting a guilty criminal go free or giving help to someone who doesn’t deserve it far more than they care about harm to innocents.

Revolutions, Peaceful and Violent

However, this week, it feels like the Supreme Court crossed a line that they’ll regret. I often think back to the JFK quote.

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

This court keeps undermining voting rights and the right to protest. They keep expanding the powers and reducing the accountability of police. They just told fully half the country that they should expect the state to force them to bear children, even of their own abusers. Justices Alito and Thomas in particular have signalled that everybody who doesn’t present as a white, cisgender, heterosexual, Christian man has some sort of target on their backs, next. And speaking of targets, they also told all Americans to expect an increase in homicides. Notably, Thomas softened Alito’s view slightly, by excluding interracial marriage from his hit list, for what I assume must involve careful judicial view and not his personal marriage. Regardless of that detail, when you tell the majority of the country that they should expect that you will force the government to consider the majority’s lives outright illegal, you almost guarantee uprisings.

Self-Sustaining Fear

Again, they partly intend that result. Any violence—even minor property damage—associated with any uprising will quickly become “evidence” for the right that “those people” don’t have the refined civility that they have, and so the oppressed groups need harsher treatment to bring them in line. Their philosophy doesn’t work, unless they have reason to fear people. However, if uprisings become large or persistent enough, then that impacts their power. The inane anti-vaccine trucker protests failed, but the principle of disrupting commerce has power, at least when your side actually has the numbers to make it work. I’ve written many times about how the government has all but explicitly said that they can’t survive a general strike that lasts for more than six business days. Sam Alito might well see himself as high priest of a theocratic ethnostate, but when investments crash, his elitist friends won’t exactly want to attend his cocktail party.

How Far Represents Too Far?

I mentioned earlier that Clarence Thomas quietly omitted interracial marriage on his list of desirable Supreme Court precedents to overturn that he cribbed from Alito’s draft. While we can’t know for sure, he probably did so because he, as a Black man, married a white woman. You might recognize Ginni Thomas’s name from her role in trying to overthrow the democratically elected government, last year.

Her interest in overturning rule of law to keep a bigoted fascist in power, though, probably has nothing to do with her husband working to dismantle a pluralistic society.

Regardless of that, I also have to wonder about Sam Alito’s role in rolling back the last century. Like the Thomases, he has a personal stake in social progress: As any older Italian- or Irish-American will gladly tell you (at length), about how people didn’t really consider Italian or Irish people white until around World War II. Completely tone-deaf, they’ll liken their parents’ or grandparents’ difficulty in finding a well-paying job to chattel slavery or ethnic cleansing. Seriously, I’ve heard more than one Irish person talk about how he identifies with Native Americans, because stores used to have “No Irish” signs under their “Help Wanted” signs.

In any case, while I keep imagining Alito as a Japanese man when his name comes up, he has an Italian heritage. And I find it funny that he doesn’t think that, as he rolls back progress, the bigotry that he enables won’t ultimately come for him and his family.

Tick, Tick…

It gets worse for them, though. I wonder whether they’ve actually considered the physical danger that they put themselves in. After all, even though they need fear and distrust, when you turn a person’s life into a crime on the level of murder and make murder easier, I can only see one inevitable result: A subset of people already at risk of life in prison or extrajudicial execution will solve their problems by assassinating right-wing politicians. Certainly, if I hypothetically found myself at risk of life in prison for a miscarriage or the identity of a spouse, for example, I’d at least weigh whether I had anything to lose by trying to ⚞cough⚟ open up some seats on the Supreme Court, and I can’t honestly tell you that I’d land on the side of peace and bipartisanship.

I don’t wish violence on anyone, of course, and I don’t recommend violence as anybody’s course of action. Really, I’d rather that you not live with the guilt of taking lives, and I say that in a more serious tone than when I advised people against preparing to put DIY abortion techniques into practice. But I will absolutely laugh when Republican leadership starts suddenly acting like their deaths should have blame attributed to anybody’s hands but their own.

The Fictional Version

Yes, I’ve felt tempted to transcribe and release an abridged version of the novel where a man in a bat-suit rushes around the world assassinating right-wing leaders, or at least the parts where he does that. That seems petty, though. Maybe we can learn about Presidential candidate Greenleaf P. Stubbs and his untimely demise some other time.

Seriously, though, they keep provoking people and making it easier to shoot people, so I have no idea why they don’t think that’ll splash back on them.


Credits: The header image is 7W9A9324 (50138445142) by Senate Democrats, made available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.