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Pro-choice demonstrators with posters showing bullseyes on women's bodies

Women hold self portraits of themselves with bulls eye and arrows covering their reproductive organs in Boston on May 16, 2022 in protest of the leaked draft Supreme Court decision that would overturn Roe v. Wade. (Photo: Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

This Is Not the Culmination of the Right-Wing Legal Movement—It's the Dawn of It.

The unelected hard-right faction now in power on the Court is poised to allow the most restrictive laws possible to be applied to women's bodies while ruling hands-off of regulating corporations whose products are harming our planet.

Lisa Graves

The reactionary, right-wing legal movement powered by dark money appears to be on the brink of achieving a nearly 50-year goal of reversing Roe v. Wade.

The leaked draft opinion obtained by Politico confirms the worst fears of anyone who took the reactionary right at its word: It's simultaneously not a surprise and a punch to the gut.

The most partisan Supreme Court justices in a century are at the brink of using their power to attack the popular will.

The imminent reversal of Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, however, does not represent the culmination of the right-wing legal movement, but rather the dawn of it.

As the Federalist Society's Leonard Leo foreshadowed in 2019, "I think we stand at the threshold of an exciting moment in our republic, the revival of our structural constitution by the U.S. Supreme Court."

"I don't think this has really happened since…before the New Deal, which means, no one in this room has probably experienced the kind of transformation that I think we are beginning to see," he told members of the Council for National Policy at a closed-door meeting in 2019.

The Court now appears poised to step through that threshold and turn back the clock decades to the pre-New Deal era, which will have profound implications for both our democracy and our lives.

Everything from same-sex marriage and contraception to environmental protections and laws outlawing discrimination are now at grave risk.

For example, the Supreme Court will also hand down a decision this summer in West Virginia v. EPA, which revolves around the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, a law that never has and never will go into effect, according to the Biden administration.

While the outcome of that case will likely have a monumental impact on future efforts to ward off the existential crisis posed by climate change, it could also have far more reaching repercussions for how policy is enacted by federal agencies.

The Court's six Republican-appointed justices have already signaled they are open to challenging what's known as "Chevron deference," a long-established legal precedent where federal courts defer to federal agency's reasonable interpretations of how to administer statutes rather than their own.

With an increasingly broken Congress where the majority will can so easily be thwarted by an intransigent minority party beholden to powerful special interests, reversing Chevron would be a huge win for the fossil fuel industry and its fight against common sense regulations to mitigate climate change.

More simply put, the reactionary faction installed on the nation's highest court could potentially kill much of the power federal agencies use to protect the public interest, essentially relegating them—and our ability to regulate corporations more broadly—to the dustbin of history.

Our only hope is that people rally together to reject this gross overreach and hold accountable those who have sought to use the Court to roll back our rights.

Because some very special interests hostile to women's reproductive rights and to corporate regulation are deeply tied to the packing and capture of the Supreme Court, America now faces extreme rulings by that judicial body, which is governed by no binding ethical restrictions.

The unelected hard-right faction now in power on the Court is poised to allow the most restrictive laws possible to be applied to women's bodies while ruling hands-off of regulating corporations whose products are harming our planet.

This juxtaposition where a woman's right to control her destiny is under assault while the Court protects the most powerful corporations from regulations that affect the destiny of our planet demonstrates just how out of control that faction is.

Abortion is more popular than the current president and the past one. And most American people want our federal government to help mitigate climate change. But the most partisan Supreme Court justices in a century are at the brink of using their power to attack the popular will. 

Our only hope is that people rally together to reject this gross overreach and hold accountable those who have sought to use the Court to roll back our rights. This regressive agenda has been bankrolled by some very wealthy and secretive individuals who do not have the courage to be honest with the American people about who they are, what interests they represent, and the future of America they envision, where women's rights are nullified but the extremist agenda of a few of the richest is exalted.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Lisa Graves

Lisa Graves

Lisa Graves is executive director of True North Research, which investigates and exposes those distorting American democracy and public policy. She is the leader of  BOLD ReThink, which is focused on responding to the Powell Memo and advancing bold alternatives. The former executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, she served in that role from 2009 to 2017. Previously, Graves was Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Office of Legal Policy/Policy Development and served as Chief Counsel for Nominations for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Patrick Leahy.

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