This week was a lot. The Supreme Court released several major decisions, including one that overturned Roe v. Wade. People debated holding teens accountable for their actions and being “Canceled at 17.” Steph Curry was the NBA finals MVP. The Top 40 could be better. And Beyoncé released a new song.
1. Supreme Court of the United States: DOBBS, STATE HEALTH OFFICER OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, ET AL. v. JACKSON WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION ET AL.
The Supreme Court of the United States released its decision for Dobbs, State Health Office of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization et al. Unsurprisingly, the court overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 6-3.
The decision and concurring opinions are hypocritical, ahistorical, and, as noted in the dissent by justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, “no one should be confident that this majority is done with its work.” The dissent continues that “the majority could write just as long an opinion showing, for example, that until the mid-20th century, ‘there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain [contraceptives].’ … So one of two things must be true. Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.”
I have yet to read the whole decision, but I did read the dissent, starting on page 148, in its entirety and I highly recommended everyone do the same.
The majority decision on Dobbs, written by Samuel Alito, claims the court isn’t going after other substantive due process rights, “cases where the court has protected a constitutional right through the due process clause,” but that should not be trusted, as the dissenting justices wrote. In a concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas “urges his colleagues to overturn all of the court’s substantive due process rights. These would include Griswold, Lawrence, Obergefell—all of which Thomas specifically named in his opinion.”
Those cases tremendously impact the everyday lives of Americans: “Without Griswold, states would be free to ban contraception, even for married couples. Without Lawrence, police could arrest people for engaging in sexual activity previously outlawed by so-called ‘sodomy laws.’ (Though this would primarily affect people in same-sex relationships, it could also conceivably apply to a significant number of heterosexual couples as well.) And without Obergefell, states would once again be free to deny Americans the right to unite themselves in marriage to the person they love.”
ReWire News Group has long been my go-to source for reproductive justice reporting—something that I’ve stated numerous times in this column. In response to the SCOTUS decision, “Jessica Mason Pieklo and Imani Gandy process the Court’s decision to overturn the right to abortion set by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.”
Last week, Lux Magazine, Verso Books, and Haymarket Books hosted “a discussion of the state of reproductive rights, lessons from different parts of the movement, and how we win.” The panel featured Laurie Bertram Roberts, Monica Raye Simpson, Rockie Gonzalez, and Farah Diaz-Tello, and it was moderated by Lux editor-in-chief Sarah Leonard. In anticipation of Friday’s decision, the panel “debate[d] strategy and tactics with those leading the fight to expand the reproductive justice movement, and it will be shared widely with activists engaged in this struggle.”
One of the most important things for people to do right now is to get involved in their local reproductive justice organizations and coalitions that have been doing this work for years.
SCOTUS’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health came only a day after the court “[struck] the types of laws that limit who can legally carry handguns in public” in its decision on New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. Decided 6-3, the case “involve[d] a 109-year-old New York state law which requires anyone who wishes to carry a handgun in public, whether openly or concealed, to demonstrate ‘proper cause’ before they can obtain a license to do so. An applicant must show ‘a special need for self-protection distinguishable from that of the general community or of persons engaged in the same profession.’”
Together, these decisions now mean that guns are less regulated than the bodies of birthing people in this country.
Texas teenager Brooke Alexander found out she was pregnant just “two days before the Texas Heartbeat Act banned abortions once an ultrasound can detect cardiac activity, around six weeks of pregnancy.” At the time, Alexander was considering having an abortion. Now, Alexander has twin daughters. This story, and Texas’ ban, will become all the more common as “roughly half the states in the country are expected to dramatically restrict abortion or ban it altogether, creating vast abortion deserts that will push many into parenthood.”
New York Magazine’s cover story, “Canceled at 17,” by Elizabeth Weil has gone viral this week as people across journalism debate the framing of the story. The article tells of the fallout “after a teenage boy shared nude pictures of his girlfriend without her consent.” After the incident, the boy, Diego (all names are pseudonyms), appears on a list in the girls’ bathroom of “People to look out for.” Diego is socially ostracized but faces no legal or administrative repercussions.
One of the main critiques of the story is that it frames Diego as the victim, while characterizing ex-girlfriend Fiona to a beautiful object. In the story, Weil equates consequence with cancellation, and she spends little time addressing the systematic failures of the school that left students reliant on whisper networks, as this thread by Soraya McDonald notes. Further, as McDonald noted in another thread, the story uses inconsistent racialized language, describing teenage girls as “women of color” and boys as “Black,” while also not specifying if any of the “women of color” are Black girls. Additionally, some of the language in the piece fetishizes the physical appearance of high school students and includes bizarre details like Diego going to four proms.
The Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics, winning the NBA championship, led by Stephen Curry. In the world of basketball, “there are Golden State Warriors fans, and there are Curry fans.” The championship win, along with being named finals MVP, cemented Curry’s legacy as a titan of the sport.
Standing at only 6’3”, Curry is small for a basketball player, and thus “creates spatial advantages by simply shooting from farther away than ever before,” writes Andrew Liu. “He has collected an arsenal of different shooting forms: going left or right, backward or forward, shooting over or underneath defenders, off one leg or two, spotting up or off the dribble. It only works because of the dexterity and control of his fingertips, providing airtight ball handling abilities and freakish accuracy.” The margin of error for his skill is small, and “being a Curry fan means taking a leap of faith that no matter how ugly the bad games can look, he will somehow figure it out when it matters.”
Earlier this week, before the Supreme Court decisions, I spent time catching up on pop culture. First, my friend recommended this podcast to me. Then, as I was watching Kimberly Nicole Foster reveal her May Pop Girl Pyramid, she mentioned this exact episode my friend had been begging me to listen to.
Host Wesley Morris is joined by academic and critic Daphne A. Brooks “to ask whether expanding the canon is even the right way to think about this.” In addition to listening to this podcast, I highly encourage exploring some of Brooks’s recommendations.
Honestly, I don’t like Beyoncé’s new song, “Break My Soul.” The best part of the single is Big Freedia—but the rest of it I could honestly do without. I do agree with one of my friends, however, and think it will remix very well.
Hopefully her forthcoming album will be better.