Same-sex marriage and contraception: the Supreme Court’s next targets

Same-sex marriage and birth control at risk
Roe v. Wade was the basis for other rights
Justice Samuel Alito denies it
A decision that concerns the right to abortion only
Judge Clarence Thomas expressed his wish to reconsider other rights
“An extreme and dangerous path the court is taking us on”
Not an issue in this case, but maybe down the road
Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)
Banning contraception
Privacy is a constitutional right
Contraceptives are a matter of privacy
Free from government intrusion
Lawrence v. Texas (2003)
Striked down Texas law
Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)
Rights come not from ancient sources alone
No historical basis
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to impeach two justices
“They lied”
Neither justice gave straightforward answers about ruling on Roe
Could they be impeached?
Same-sex marriage and birth control at risk

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to end the nationwide right to abortion has sparked speculation, even by President Biden, that other landmark rulings could now be on shakier ground, including those that legalized same-sex marriage and birth control.

Roe v. Wade was the basis for other rights

"Roe recognized a fundamental right to privacy that has served as the basis for so many more rights that we have come to take for granted," Biden said at the White House on Friday, hours after the court struck down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Justice Samuel Alito denies it

In a 78-page opinion, associate justice of the Supreme Court Samuel Alito, stated that the legal logic at the heart of the conservatives' decision to overturn Roe v. Wade would not apply to other cases.

A decision that concerns the right to abortion only

"To ensure that our decision is not misunderstood or mischaracterized, we emphasize that our decision concerns the constitutional right to abortion and no other right. Nothing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion," he wrote.

Judge Clarence Thomas expressed his wish to reconsider other rights

Despite Alito's statement, Justice Clarence Thomas suggests otherwise. "In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell," he wrote, referring to court rulings that protect contraception, same-sex relationships, and same-sex marriage.

“An extreme and dangerous path the court is taking us on”

On Friday, Biden also called out Thomas' suggestions. "He explicitly called to reconsider the right to marriage equality, the right of couples to make their choices on contraception," the president said. "This is an extreme and dangerous path the court is now taking us on ."

Not an issue in this case, but maybe down the road

"In saying that nothing in today's opinion casts doubt on non-abortion precedents he means only that they are not at issue in this very case," wrote Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)

Because the right to privacy is not directly outlined in the U.S. Constitution, it took years to develop the legal theory that has become central to these types of cases today. Griswold v. Connecticut, which first established the right to use birth control, was a key part of that process.

Image: Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition/Unsplash

 

Banning contraception

The Griswold case concerned a nearly century-old Connecticut law banning the use of all forms of contraception. The challenge was brought by Estelle Griswold, the executive director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, after her arrest for opening a location in New Haven.

Privacy is a constitutional right

In a 7-2 vote, the justices ruled that marital privacy is in fact protected against state bans on contraceptives, and helped establish the idea that privacy is a constitutional right, even though the Constitution does not explicitly guarantee it.

Image: Tobias Tullius/Unsplash

Contraceptives are a matter of privacy

"Would we allow the police to search the sacred precincts of marital bedrooms for telltale signs of the use of contraceptives? The very idea is repulsive to the notions of privacy surrounding the marriage relationship," wrote Justice William Douglas.

Image: Holly Stratton/Unsplash

 

Free from government intrusion

Griswold has since become a major precedent, referenced later in opinions about abortion and same-sex marriage, all of which found that people have the right to be free from government intrusion when exercising fundamental rights.

Lawrence v. Texas (2003)

One night in 1998, police were called to the home of John Lawrence, a gay man. Police entered his unlocked apartment, where an officer said he saw Lawrence having consensual sex with another man. Under a Texas law that banned gay relationships, Lawrence and his partner, Tyron Garner, were arrested.

Striked down Texas law

In a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court voted to strike down the Texas law, overturning a previous decision from 1986 that had reached the opposite conclusion. Among those dissenting was Justice Clarence Thomas.

Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)

Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage nationwide. In Ohio, Jim Obergefell had brought suit in order to be recognized as the surviving spouse of his deceased partner, John Arthur. The justices voted 5-4 to declare same-sex marriage a constitutional right.

Image: Alvin Mahmudov/Unsplash

Rights come not from ancient sources alone

"The right to marry is fundamental as a matter of history and tradition, but rights come not from ancient sources alone. They rise, too, from a better informed understanding of how constitutional imperatives define a liberty that remains urgent in our own era," wrote Kennedy, who joined the court's four liberals.

Image: Clay Banks/Unsplash

No historical basis

The conservatives, led by Roberts, wrote that the liberals' interpretation of the 14th Amendment, had crossed a line into "converting personal preferences into constitutional mandates." Just as Alito has said in his draft opinion to overturn Roe v. Wade, Roberts wrote in 2015 that a historical basis for same-sex marriage did not exist.

 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to impeach two justices

In a Sunday interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, New York Democrat Ocasio-Cortez said that she thinks the justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh were dishonest when discussing Roe at the hearings.

 

“They lied”

During the interview, Ocasio-Cortez said that they lied, and added that “there must be consequences for such a deeply destabilizing action and hostile takeover of our democratic institutions.”

 

Neither justice gave straightforward answers about ruling on Roe

Justice Kavanaugh declined to directly answer whether the decision was “correct law”, and justice Gorsuch followed a similar tactic. He refused to say how he would rule on Roe, noting that the decision was “a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court that had been reaffirmed.”

 

Could they be impeached?

The House can impeach a federal judge by a simple majority vote. Conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds majority. Only one Supreme Court justice, Samuel Chase, has been impeached in American history.

Más para ti