After a draft to abolish the anti-abortion ruling was pushed through in early May, the actual verdict by the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday came as no real surprise. The (approving) reasoning of Clarence Thomas, one of the six conservative judges, shows that he now wants to have further judgments reviewed.
It is about the judgment of Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). With this final decision, the Supreme Court justices granted married couples a right to privacy in their marriage – including the right to use contraceptives. This judgment was also included in the fundamental decision on abortion (Roe v. Wade) from 1973, which has now been overturned.
Judge Thomas also spoke about the Lawrence v. Texas from 2003 allowing same-sex couples to have intimate relationships. In 2015, the Supreme Court also opened up marriage to same-sex couples (Obergefell v. Hodges). In republican and evangelical circles, whose overlap is very large, this judgment is increasingly being questioned. Clarence Thomas has now taken it up with the Supreme Court.
Judge Samuel Alito, as the author of the majority opinion, had written in the judgment that this would only be about abortion and that further fundamental judgments were not up for discussion. But his colleague Clarence Thomas obviously sees it differently. In his affirmative reasoning, the judge said the court should reconsider rulings guaranteeing free access to contraception, protection of same-sex relationships and marriage for same-sex couples.
Thomas did not address the Loving v. Virginia (1967); but recently even some Republicans have allowed themselves to be swayed into questioning even that decision. At that time, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that people of different skin colors should not be forbidden from marriage.
Clarence Thomas is an African American married to a white woman. His wife, Ginni, made headlines recently because she was closely associated with former US President Donald Trump when, before and on January 6, 2021, during the Electoral College’s vote determination, Trump questioned the outcome of the election. Whether and to what extent Trump called for an uprising against the state is currently the subject of a commission of inquiry. In this context, text messages from Ginni Thomas to Trump also surfaced.
At the end of June, the highest constitutional court will go on summer break. In recent days, the judges along their appeals – six conservative judges against three liberal judges – have issued various very far-reaching judgments that deeply infringe on the rights of US citizens.
While a majority in the US Senate surprisingly became possible for a first cautious regulation to limit the ownership of firearms after several gun rampages shook the nation in recent months, the US constitutional judges have now once again confirmed the second amendment to the constitution. This allows weapons to be carried outside of the home. With this decision on Thursday, a corresponding law in the state of New York became obsolete.
At the end of their court year, the constitutional judges also commented on the landmark judgment of Miranda v. Arizona on the right to remain silent – and limited the rights of citizens against the police. Until now, citizens had to be instructed about their rights (“Miranda Rights”) when they were arrested; otherwise they could sue later. This is no longer possible in this form.
The judges also published a judgment on the separation of church and state. “A wall of separation between church and state”: Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of the USA, had established this as a firm principle that has never been shaken; but for some time now. This week it was again about the often discussed question of whether the state or the federal states have to provide money for schools that are supported by a religious community or offer religious education. The judges answered in the affirmative.