For more than 230 years, it is now absurd that in modern society American judges believe that the Constitution can dictate the life of society.
During the thousand years of the Roman Empire, the Augurs were among the most powerful people. Their job was to predict the future and tell the people what to do in light of their findings.
How did they predict this future? They examined the entrails of dead birds and studied the flight of other birds to reach their conclusions.
We now have modern day Augurs. They are called members of the Supreme Court of the United States.
They too study the words of dead men, in their case the leaders who created the US Constitution in 1787 in Philadelphia.
According to the majority appointed by the Republicans to the Supreme Court, abortion must be blocked because these deaths have never mentioned it or provided for a provision in the Constitution.
The Constitution also fails to mention women, slavery, and the fact that a black person was only three-fifths of a white person when it came to voting.
The idea that one can read a centuries-old document and decipher what it contains and what it says about the world today is absurd.
But many Republicans believe it is. Called originalists, they dominate the Supreme Court as we sadly saw in last week’s Roe v Wade ruling.
In their opinion, there is nothing to say other than what is in the Constitution. Like the Augurs, they examine every detail and speak out with judgments that affect millions of Americans.
Last week, one of their decisions will allow millions of Americans to bear arms without question, while the Roe decision removed the constitutional right to abortion.
In their wisdom, Supreme Court justices have made America a more dangerous place. Anyone can now carry a gun outside their home. And women in states like Texas and Kentucky no longer have control over their own bodies.
In recent times, Ireland has created the perfect example of what happens when a woman needs an abortion, but the law says otherwise. The 2012 case of Savita Halappanavar involved a young Indian woman living in Galway who had had a difficult pregnancy. Doctors told her she could not have an abortion due to Irish law which stated that as long as the fetus’s heart was beating the procedure was not permitted.
Savita died following their judgment which created the firestorm that legalized abortion in Ireland in 2018.
If you went back, say, 30 years and said Ireland would allow abortion, and some US states wouldn’t, you’d be called crazy.
The fact is that not only abortion, but banning contraceptives and same-sex marriage are also on the Supreme Court’s blacklist, according to Justice Clarence Thomas himself.
What kind of country do we live in that this kind of nonsense can be tolerated, based on the interpretation of a document that was fine for its time but is now hopelessly outdated.
Roe’s reaction across the United States gives hope that, finally, the Supreme Court’s dangerous rulings are having an impact.
Extreme Republican policies are suddenly in plain sight for everyone. We are awaiting the first case of a pregnant woman who is not allowed to have an abortion and who suffers the disastrous consequences.
Anyone who thinks a young girl should be forced to carry the fetus of a rapist, or someone close to her, has truly lost touch with reality. Yet there are many such crimes every year.
The status of women in America is now clearly second class. Their concerns and issues have been buried by this incredibly outdated Supreme Court edict.
We can only hope that Democratic voters will turn out in large numbers in November to retain the majority in the Senate and House. If that happens, lawmakers need to codify Roe v Wade into federal law.
*This column first appeared in the June 29 edition of the weekly Irish Voice, sister publication to IrishCentral.