Alito’s way

BC Pires
BC Pires



CARLITO’S WAY was a 1993 Al Pacino/Sean Penn movie about a Puerto Rican ex-con trying to go straight after his release from prison, and Alito’s Way is about a US Supreme Court Justice this week trying to make any woman who doesn’t carry a pregnancy to term go straight to prison. So the two are connected, even if Pacino and Penn are a lot more palatable than Alito.

Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion of what is likely to become the majority judgment of the US Supreme Court overruling an American woman’s half-century-old constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy was leaked this week, as is now well known by everyone in the world who is not desperately fighting to make a living.

In near-hysterical language no one could think was judicial, except people who believe every zygote is exactly the same as Zoe Kravitz, Alito declared the Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade (which, with Planned Parenthood v Casey, recognised the constitutional right) was “egregiously wrong from the start…its reasoning...exceptionally weak and...far from bringing about a national settlement...Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division” on abortion.

Now, 70-per-cent-plus of Americans broadly agree abortion should be permitted up to the second trimester and at any time in cases of rape or incest.

Put another way, only three in ten oppose abortion in any form.

The division is deep but the majority opinion is much clearer than Alito’s draft judgment.

Nevertheless, Roe v Wade will be repealed and abortion will be prohibited in all cases, even where a father rapes his own daughter, because five wacky self-declared Republican Supreme Court judges, all of them appointed by Republican presidents who lost the popular vote by millions, care more about defending “the unborn” (whatever the firetruck that means) than the people charged with keeping alive the born (every woman).

And at least one of those five judges, the Beer Liker, declared under oath he considered Roe settled law that could not be overruled and, ergo, may now have opened the possibility of a sitting Supreme Court judge being charged with perjury.

Things do not look good for the place that would like to think of itself as the Land of the Free.

But, this morning, when laughs are so hard to come by, I want to sidestep the hard realities of the increased suffering of the poor, and the huge increase in their numbers – because the surest way to increase poverty is to force women to have babies they cannot afford – and explore the comic possibilities of the other constitutional rights now jumping up in steelband.

Alito declared these other rights were different from the right to abortion because they did not result in the destroying of a “potential” life. But another committed Republican judge – a phrase not so far away from “another judge who should be committed” – could easily lay waste to them, in language as injudicious as Alito’s (though it would be hard to approximate his religious zeal).

Those rights are: the right to interracial marriage (recognised in Loving v The State of Virginia, made into a thoroughly boring movie, despite its crucial importance and potential sensationalism); the right to contraception (Griswold); the right to engage in private, consensual acts (Lawrence v – who else? – Texas); and the right to same-sex marriage (Obergefell).

If you want to crack yourself up, think about the number of Americans who will be devastated to have those rights taken away. If the polls of five decades are to be trusted, seven out of ten Americans will be shattered.

But none of them will be Republicans.

It could be said that, post-Roe, Zoe Kravitz’s a-- is both figuratively and literally dark.

And here’s another jokey thought for what is going to be a long future under an American Supreme Court whose vision of paradise on Earth is The Handmaid’s Tale coming to life: no sex outside marriage, missionary position only within it; uneducated women more or less permanently pregnant; no homosexuals; and, Lord be praised, no Negroes lying with white women.

If the US Supreme Court is right about Roe, how long will it be before all rights conferred by amendments to the Constitution, which were not envisaged by the Founding Fathers, are similarly overruled or annulled?

The new America will have an old flag.

BC Pires is not going to be appointed Honorary American Consul to Port of Spain


"Alito’s way"

More in this section