Many are concerned other rights will lose federal protection following recent SCOTUS decisions
Conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his concurring opinion of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that cases concerning contraception and same-sex marriage should be revisited
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After seeing the US Supreme Court last week overturn the Roe v. Wade abortion rights precedent, others are concerned the nation’s highest court might also decide to roll back other rights not specified in the Constitution, leaving issues such as same-sex marriage and the availability of contraceptives for the states to decide.
“It’s not just this decision, I’ve read Justice Thomas wants to go back on other things, gay marriage and contraception, I think we’re entering into some really scary times,” concerned citizen Tom Chiromante said.
From those I met walking the streets, to those who took to the streets during Friday’s reproductive rights rally, many are noticing that tucked inside the ruling was a concurring opinion from conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, in which he pushed the court to revisit cases related to contraception and same-sex marriage.
He’s saying that this ruling undermines things and those things can now be looked at,” Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti said. “All the other justices seem to have said that this is a very particular type of ruling, narrow, but some people don’t have the same trust in some of these justices as they once did.”
Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his majority opinion, that a ruling that abortion rights are not protected by the 14th Amendment, which says the government can’t take away people’s liberty arbitrarily, shouldn’t be seen as putting other precedents unrelated to ending fetal life in danger.
“Some would argue, depending on the methods of contraception, some could consider some methods to be tantamount to abortion and it’s, you know, it’s possible that Dobbs is opening up those lines of challenge,” Tulane Constitutional Law Professor Keith Werhan.
Werhan says all of the court’s recent opinions show more of an originalist view of the constitution and how the court applies this ruling in the future is unknown.
With same-sex marriage, Werhan doesn’t see the same kind of concrete state interest, however, he says that could change.
“If the conservative movement decides that same-sex marriage becomes a big issue again and this is something that they want to challenge and it becomes a partisan identifier for conservatives, it’s entirely possible the court these justices will feel the same about same-sex marriage as they do about abortion,” Werhan said.
Werhan believes people will start testing the boundaries of this new Supreme Court.
“Justice Thomas is probably the intellectual leader of this conservative court and he is writing that opinion to invite challenges,” Werhan said.
Any cases challenging contraception or same-sex marriages would have to make their way through lower courts first and then four Supreme Court Justices have to agree to review the case. Legal experts said that process could take at least 1-2 years.
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