Opinion: It's Not the Supreme Court's Job to Enforce the "Christian Agenda"

Walter Rhein

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As American citizens, we are taught to be grateful for our constitutional freedoms. However, many Americans don’t seem to be aware that we have rights beyond what is explicitly stated in the Constitution.

The conservative Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is a disturbing precedent that puts at risk many of the rights we take for granted.

For example, the original ruling of Roe v. Wade helped to establish a citizen’s right to privacy.

In a 7–2 decision written by Justice Harry Blackmun (who was chosen because of his prior experience as counsel to the Mayo Clinic), the Court ruled that the Texas statute violated Jane Roe’s constitutional right to privacy. The Court argued that the Constitution’s First, Fourth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments protect an individual’s “zone of privacy” against state laws and cited past cases ruling that marriage, contraception, and child rearing are activities covered in this “zone of privacy.” The Court then argued that the “zone of privacy” was “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” This decision involved myriad physical, psychological, and economic stresses a pregnant woman must face — Alex McBride

The right to privacy represents one of the many areas where the Constitution lacks clear and definite language. Yet, most Americans understand that these are indisputable rights.

Americans must also keep in mind that the Constitution was written in 1787.

Written in 1787, ratified in 1788, and in operation since 1789, the United States Constitution is the world’s longest surviving written charter of government—Constitution of the United States

It goes without saying that a lot has changed since 1787. The framers of the Constitution knew that they couldn’t possibly cover every freedom that citizens had a right to expect.

They included language to protect freedoms that weren’t expressly designated with the wording of the Ninth Amendment.

The Ninth Amendment of the Constitution states: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Because the rights protected by the Ninth Amendment are not specified, they are referred to as “unenumerated.” — Unenumerated Rights

Unenumerated rights become established through social activism, historical precedent, and decisions of the Supreme Court.

Unfortunately, the modern Supreme Court recently made a decision to strip all Americans of unenumerated constitutional rights.

Clarence Thomas has already indicated that he does not intend to stop at Roe v. Wade. He has already mentioned other specific cases which have established freedoms that are not explicitly stated in the Constitution.

In a concurring opinion with the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade, Justice Clarence Thomas said the Court should now reconsider rulings that protect same-sex marriage, same-sex relationships, and contraception — Dan Tracer

Americans should be very concerned about the stated ambitions of the conservative Supreme Court. The rights of all Americans are not limited to the specific and original text of the Constitution.

Our rights are established through history, political activism, and decisions of the Supreme Court throughout the decades. That our modern, conservative Supreme Court is already taking action to strip citizens of their rights is deeply disturbing.

Attacks on unenumerated rights are just as dangerous as attacks on rights specifically outlined in the Bill of Rights. It could be argued that attacks on unenumerated rights are worse because those attacks limit the ability of citizens to retain protections as society evolves.

It’s scary to think that a conservative Supreme court made up of several justices who were appointed by presidents who failed to win the popular vote is taking such dramatic action to strip Americans of constitutional rights. These actions do not represent the will of the people.

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Walter Rhein is an author with Perseid Press. He also does a weekly column for The Writing Cooperative on Medium.

Chippewa Falls, WI
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