Deadly series of rulings from a derelict court
The derelict Supreme Court has made its stance clear in three rulings that side with death and put profit, power, and hypocritical piety before the well-being of people in the United States and on this planet. Forget women’s health, gun control, and the climate crisis. These rulings — overturning Roe v. Wade, overturning laws limiting the carrying of concealed weapons, and eviscerating the ability of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon emissions that drive the climate crisis, which affects people globally — are literally deadly.
Today is a day to rage at their arrogance and overreach but then to act with others to expand and reform the Supreme Court; pressure elected officials at every level of government, from federal to local, to put the well-being of people and this planet first; and organize to elect officials who truly represent the will of the people — i.e., the majority public support for abortion, for gun control, and for action to combat the climate crisis.
The writer is a professor of social epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Focus should turn to getting big money out of politics
Re “Supreme Court’s gutting of the EPA’s oversight of greenhouse gases leaves the fight to us” by Bill McKibben (Opinion, June 30): We have taken democracy for granted for too long. As a result, Lincoln’s cherished vision of government of, by, and for the people is a pipe dream. We now live in an oligarchy controlled by large corporations and ultrawealthy elites who use their vast financial resources to keep our elected leaders on short leashes. That is why we cannot stop our government from providing the fossil-fuel industry with more subsidies and tax breaks than the clean energy industry, even though doing so amounts to collective suicide.
The solution? Muster the political will to amend the Constitution and overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in order to get big money out of politics, and do so quickly, before we cross a climate tipping point. Is your member of Congress a cosponsor of the We the People Amendment? If not, what’s stopping you from picking up the phone and asking him or her to do so? That’s how democracy is supposed to work.
Issues such as abortion do belong with the people and their elected officials
The Founding Fathers would have strongly supported the recent Supreme Court decision on abortion, but not because the subject was abortion. They would have viewed it as unacceptable that a non-representative unelected court makes major societal decisions. The Constitution has two goals: define who should make what decisions, and set forth a limited number of rights to enable a functioning democracy.
In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the court ruled that major societal decisions should be made by the people through their elected officials. Along with many others, I support abortion rights and the Supreme Court ruling. Abortion rights could have been settled decades ago, and abortion might have been allowed in every state, but with different constraints, if the elite had chosen not to bypass the democratic process.
The divided country we have is a direct consequence of elites (both parties) advancing their viewpoints through the courts, presidential directives, and government agencies rather than through the hard work to convince people and engage in the democratic process of making laws. That shortcut is destroying the legitimacy of government.