A judge’s written comment on the US Supreme Court’s decision to bury abortion rights has raised fears that other progressive gains, including same-sex marriage and contraception, could also be wiped out.
Clarence Thomas, one of the most conservative judges on the court, wrote that “we should reconsider in future cases” involving data protection.
Thomas cited Griswold v. Connecticut, which enshrined the right to contraception in 1965; Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws criminalizing same-sex relationships in 2003, and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 ruling that protects marriage for all.
Same-sex marriage remains a high-profile goal for Republicans and the religious right in the United States.
Thomas argued that since the decisions were based on the same provision of the Constitution on privacy as on abortion rights, the court “had a duty to correct the error found in those precedents.”
He also argued there was a need to analyze whether other passages of the Constitution “guarantee the myriad rights” created by the right to privacy.
Thomas – whose wife Ginni Thomas made false claims that Donald Trump won the last election – was the only judge to make such arguments from the nine justices who sit on America’s Supreme Court.
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But the court’s shift to the right under Trump, who appointed three new conservative judges, has Democrats, activists and progressive groups fearing his future verdicts.
“Judge Thomas specifically called for a reconsideration of the right to marital equality, the right of couples to make their birth control choices,” Biden said Friday.
“This is an extreme and dangerous path that the court has now led us down.”
In a sign of concern within the court itself, the three left-leaning judges, who dissented from the majority, also said the abortion decision “endangers other rights, from contraception to same-sex intimacy and marriage.”
The court’s ruling specifically addressed the fears, saying: “We have stated unequivocally that ‘[n]Everything in this opinion should be understood as challenging precedents unrelated to abortion.’”
Judge Brett Kavanaugh also addressed the concerns in his unanimous opinion, writing, “I stress what the court is finding today: the overturning of Roe does not constitute the overturning of those precedents and does not threaten or challenge those precedents.”
But that will do little to deter those who point to statements by some judges upon their appointment – including Kavanaugh – that suggest they would not vote to oust Roe.
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