Who is Captain of this Ship?

            I don’t agree much with this Supreme Court. I think that this term’s decisions are bad for the America that we live in today and bad for the future of our country.

            But I do agree with the Court on some things. I agree that if we want to protect rights in this country; eliminate violence; and save humanity from the devastating effects of natural disasters like wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, landslides, and severe storms we need action. That action is not supposed to come from our courts. But it can.

            The Court is right when it says that if we want to improve our lives, it is up to Congress and our legislatures to pass laws to make those improvements. I think gun violence is a scourge that can be stopped. I think sensible gun laws are a way to do that. I also think that if you want to have a gun in your home to protect yourself and your family, you should be able to have one. In Connecticut our legislature acted to pass gun legislation to put a damper on gun violence. I know that based on statistics Connecticut is the sixth safest state in terms of gun violence per capita. Good numbers. So say what you will, but our legislature was able to take action to protect its citizens and their rights.

            The Court is also right when it says that there is no specifically enumerated right to bodily autonomy in the Constitution, unlike the rights to bear arms or freely express religion. I disagree for a number of reasons with the Court’s decision in Dobbs, most importantly because I believe that women have a basic human right to determine what they will do with their bodies. For many like me, there is not even a question.

            But if we want to protect a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, it is incumbent on our legislative bodies to act. In Connecticut our legislature has formally passed legislation protecting a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. I wish there were a Constitutional provision explicitly saying the same thing. But if we want one, we can get one by having our Congress act. That is Congress’s primary role, after all – not the Court’s, not the President’s.

            Our nation has evolved throughout its history over the last 250 years. Like the nation, I think that our interpretation of our fountainhead document, the Constitution, also must evolve to consider the lives we live today, and not the lives that mostly white men lived when they wore pointy hats and rode horses.

            Climate disasters are real. Gun violence takes lives of innocent men, women, and children daily in this nation. And women are certainly more than vessels for the propagation of humanity. The Court’s decisions in the last term seem to misunderstand the realities of Americans’ daily lives. And the majority decision-makers blithely hid behind process when it remained within their power to improve the lives of Americans.

            Sure, the legislative branch is directly empowered to pass laws that improve lives. But when it fails, as it most assuredly has for much of this decade, our other branches of government have a moral obligation to step in and direct the ship. This Court failed to do that this term, and as a result millions of American lives have become so much more difficult.

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