Reactions to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade are pouring in, some are measured, and some are dangerous.
After the decision overturning Roe, pro-choice protesters showed up at the Supreme Court to decry it.
And Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) was seen joining a group of protesters.
One individual shouted into a megaphone, “This decision,” and Ocasio-Cortez, along with her fellow demonstrators, responded, “Illegitimate!”
Watch the video below:
BREAKING: Congresswoman @AOC has arrived in front of the Supreme Court and is chanting that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade is “illegitimate” and calls for people to get “into the streets” | @TPUSA pic.twitter.com/jNkCYDrLtz
— Drew Hernandez (@DrewHLive) June 24, 2022
This rhetoric is not helpful and does nothing to try to drive constructive action.
While there is nothing wrong with an elected official joining a protest against a decision they disagree with, calling its legitimacy into question is a problem.
How exactly is this decision illegitimate? The Supreme Court has the authority to overturn decisions even if they are decades old. It’s happened before. And every justice on the court was appointed by the duly elected president and confirmed by a majority of the Senate.
Just because you don’t like the outcome of the decision does not make it illegitimate.
And Roe v. Wade, which has been the law of the land for 50 years, established a right to an abortion based on an interpretation of the 14th Amendment. The right to an abortion is nowhere explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.
That is a risky method to establish that something is a protected right because, as we have now seen, a different set of justices can disagree with that interpretation and strike it down. There are ways to ensure that a right is enshrined in the Constitution, such as passing an amendment.
As the decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health case stated, “Abortion presents a profound moral question. The Constitution does not prohibit the citizens of each State from regulating or prohibiting abortion.”
“Roe and Casey arrogated that authority. We now overrule those decisions and return that authority to the people and their elected representatives,” it added.
Labeling a decision illegitimate is dangerous and opens the doors for Americans to label other decisions illegitimate and ignore them.
For example, what if the court overturns decisions granting the right to carry firearms by arguing that the Second Amendment was only referring to militias? Conservatives could then use this precedent to say, “Well, we’ve had this right for years, and now it is being taken away, and it says ‘shall not be infringed.’ This is illegitimate, and we will not comply.”
Where does it end if our elected officials start to attack the legitimacy of decisions? Who gets to decide what decisions are legitimate and which aren’t?
This is not something you can just put back in the bottle whenever you feel like it. And it’s not going to end well for the country.
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