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Green Is The New Black

CONSCIOUS SCOOP: Overturning Roe v. Wade & More

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In just one term. the incredibly conservative Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, gutted Miranda rights, and ended federal regulation of greenhouse gases. What is even happening to the state of democracy?!

Roe v. Wade

On Friday, June 24, the United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to overturn the historic Roe v. Wade decision, robbing women of the nationwide right to abortion. This ruling comes almost two months after the draft of the decision was leaked by an unknown source on May 2.

The overturning of Roe v. Wade immediately strips women in over a dozen states of the right to an abortion. 13 states have passed “trigger laws” since the Roe decision, laws which stipulate that they will ban abortion immediately after Roe protections are overturned.

72% of people in the United States oppose the overturning of Roe. But public opinion has no bearing on the Supreme Court’s decision, as all nine justices on the court are unelected, serving lifetime terms. Many social movement organizations are calling not only for the protection of abortion rights but the abolition of the Supreme Court, citing the undemocratic nature of the institution.

“Today’s ruling proves that the Supreme Court does not exist to protect the rights of the American people, it does not exist to foster and protect equality and constitutional rights,” said Elizabeth Birriel, feminist activist and managing editor of Breaking the Chains. “It exists to push forward the reactionary right-wing agenda.”

“I just hope that people aren’t deterred from the struggle,” she continued. “That people use their rage, their anger in a way to push forward the fight back, and the revolutionary struggle, and to unite across all movements to fight for a better world.”

Climate restrictions

The Supreme Court curbed the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to broadly regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants, a major defeat for the Biden administration’s attempts to slash emissions at a moment when scientists are sounding alarms about the accelerating pace of global warming. When the Supreme Court limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to combat climate change last week, Republican attorneys general and conservative legal activists cheered the ruling.

Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law, said the ruling “could be cataclysmic for modern administrative law.”

“For a century, the federal government has functioned on the assumption that Congress can broadly delegate regulatory power to executive branch agencies. Today’s ruling opens the door to endless challenges to those delegations — on everything from climate change to food safety standards — on the ground that Congress wasn’t specific enough in giving the agency the power to regulate such ‘major’ issues,” Vladeck said.

Also, Miranda rights are under threat!! It is a mantra that fans of American cop shows around the world can rattle off by heart: “You have the right to remain silent,” a police officer advises a suspect under arrest. “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you can’t afford an attorney, one will be provided to you.”

The so-called “Miranda warning,” routinely administered by American law enforcement since the 1960s, came into the national spotlight last week when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police officers can’t be sued for not advising detained suspects of their right to remain silent during an interrogation.(Read: a lot more unlawful detentions where even the arrested individual cannot be a witness to their arrest and have the right to not say anything. Who are they serving? The police or the people?)

Hope In The Dark

The overturn of Roe v. Wade in the United States, leading to the significant curtailing of abortion rights, and the continual news of climate disaster among many other events might lead to a sense of hopelessness that the change we want will not come. In times like these, Rebecca Solnit’s writing about how social movements have grown throughout history in her book Hope in the Dark offers some guidance:

”To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.

I say all this because hope is not like a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. I say it because hope is an ax you break down doors with in an emergency; because hope should shove you out the door, because it will take everything you have to steer the future away from endless war, from the annihilation of the earth’s treasures and the grinding down of the poor and marginal. Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope.”

In the book, Solnit also quotes the Brazilian educator Paolo Freire from the opening words of his Pedagogy of Hope, on how hope is closely related to struggle:

“I do not understand human existence, and the struggle needed to improve it, apart from hope and dream…. I am hopeful, not out of mere stubbornness, but out of an existential, concrete imperative…Without a minimum of hope, we cannot so much as start the struggle. But without struggle, hope, as an ontological need, dissipates, loses its bearings, and turns into hopelessness. Hence the need for a kind of education in hope.”

In such times, it is imperative that we continue to organise together, and in so doing build a shared hope that can power us through the despair into building something better: Donate money to your local abortion fund, practical support organisations, independent clinics, etc. Share good, accurate information so abortion seekers can obtain the care they need. Encourage prosecutors not to go after pregnant people.

FEATURED IMAGE: via Pexels | IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Police vehicle with its blue emergency light turned on

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