A Fourth of July Reflection

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            During the Fourth of July weekend I reflected on the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the State of the Union. This post contains a portion of my reflections.

            If ever there was a time to reflect deeply on our Independence, it is now! The Executive Office has been controlled by radical partisan misfits from both parties for almost six years. The Congress is controlled by school yard gangs fighting to control the playground. And the Supreme Court is currently trying to undo the legislative actions of previous Courts post haste. In truth, this State of Disunion is driven by chaos. How can we reclaim ordered governance from this mess?

            Since the Supreme Court tackled a number of Constitutional Issues this term, let’s start where there seems to be some rationale for action. During the weeks of June 20 – 24, 2022 and June 27 – 30, 2022, major decisions with respect to guns, public prayer, religious education, and abortion were decided by the Roberts Court. Readers are encouraged to read New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn., Inc. v. Bruen, Kennedy v. Bremerton School Dist., Carson v. Makin, and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This post will focus on Dobbs v. Jackson, and it isn’t clear when, or if, the others will be addressed. Just keep in mind that a serious reading of a Supreme Court decision is much more intense than reading commentaries on the internet or in print. But I’m prepared to understand the Court Opinion well enough to explain its importance to my family.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

            Let me start by saying that Dobbs vs Jackson has not ended all access to abortions. It has empowered communities, i.e., states, to regulate abortions in the name of the residents of those states. Since this is the people’s will in those states, it represents the will of the people as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. If a state does not support abortion, a federal mandate to support abortion violates the autonomy of that state’s republican form of government (Art.4 Sect. 4). When Roe v. Wade elevated abortion rights to the Constitutional level, it circumvented the criteria for establishing that right via Constitutional Amendment. Although this reflects my view of the impact of Roe v. Wade, it appears that the current Supreme court must have decided something similar. (My view is based on reading Roe v. Wade quite a while ago.)

            My initial approach to Dobbs v. Jackson is to read the Syllabus. Let me quote the court’s decision: “Held: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.” Although this statement confirms my initial view, the Court’s argument is the key to determining whether the claim is valid. This is where the real work begins.

            The Syllabus begins by looking at the rationale for claiming abortion is a Constitutional right as stated in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833. The Court examines the fact that Casey relied on Roe via stare decisis. So, pages 8 – 32 of Dobbs are dedicated to determining if the validity of using stare decisis supports a Constitutional right.

            At this point, the Court recalls that Roe based its defense of abortion on the right to privacy. It notes that Roe appealed to the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments and references Roe v. Wade 410 U. S., at 152–153. Let’s take a minute to examine Roe at 152 – 153.

Roe v. Wade 410 U. S., at 152–153

            The Roe decision states: “The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right to privacy.” It references a number of court decisions relying on the Amendments listed above. It then recalls a number of previous court rulings which provide “implicit” support for declaring “These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed ‘fundamental’ or ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,’ Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U. S. 319, 325 (1937) are included in this guarantee of personal privacy. They also make it clear that the right has some extension to activities relating to marriage, Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12 (1967); procreation, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 541 – 542 (1942) …”

            The Court then declares that the Fourteenth and Ninth Amendments are “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.” I’m looking forward to reading the Dobbs decision and the analysis of this shoddy reasoning, I’m really interested in their comments on Roe’s inclusion of “valid reasons” for a female getting an abortion. They list the following: (1) “medically diagnosable harm even in early pregnancy”, (2) Maternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the woman a distressful life in the future. (3) Psychological harm, stressed mental and physical health due to childcare (4) “distress, for all concerned” created by the “unwanted child” (5) problems associated with “bringing a child into a family already unable, psychologically and otherwise, to care for it.”

            Wow! Did they really put this into print?! I intend to address these reasons in a follow-up post, but for now I encourage the reader to reflect deeply on these reasons for abortion. Consider them in light of the following insight offered by a guy named Theodore Roosevelt.

            “In one of Daudet’s powerful and melancholy books he speaks of ‘the fear of maternity, the haunting terror of the of the young wife of the present day.’ When such words can be written of a nation, that nation is rotten to the heart’s core.” [The Strenuous Life: Essays and Addresses, 1902, page 4, from a speech given in Chicago, April 10, 1899]

Declaration of Independence

            One of the most quoted lines from the Declaration of Independence is

            “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness…”

            How would the authors of this statement view the above statements from Roe v. Wade? How would Theodore Roosevelt [a Progressive at heart and in politics at one point] react to Roe?

Is there any way this Declaration applies to people who do not believe in a Creator? On what basis do they define their unalienable rights? How do they define and value Life? Liberty? Happiness?

The most quoted line from the Declaration continues

            “– That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their Powers from the Consent of the Governed…”  

            Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, how will “Consent of the Governed” be determined? Will state legislatures codify Roe v. Wade? If so, will they amend their Constitutions using the Amendment procedures of their current constitutions? I do hope they will apply the principles of a republican form of government as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

            Let me be direct. Under no circumstances will Joseph Biden or Nancy Pelosi be unchallenged in their efforts to legislate Roe v. Wade at the federal level. Federal tax dollars will no longer be allocated for abortion. All tax-paying citizens do not support abortion; I do not support abortion. State taxes for abortion should not apply to all taxpayers. Recall the following complaint against King George III: “For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent.” (Of course, this is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed in another post.)

            Independence Day is no longer a party commemorating the past. It is a day to recommit to our republic form of government. It is a day to begin re-establishing a Constitutional government based on the checks and balances of the Executive branch, the Congress, and the Judiciary. God Bless America.

            And as always, in the words of Edward R. Murrow, “Good night and good luck.”

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