Beware of fascists claiming to bring us the gift of national unity. Of all the dizzying lies in Associate Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the claim that this decision will dull the political controversy over this issue may be the most brazen. In truth, it is hard to think of a more efficient way of promoting disunion, the traditional American term for the specter of national disintegration. The wave of extreme anti-abortion legislation originating in states like Texas and Missouri already appears to target residents of other states who might “aid and abet” the soon-to-be-a-crime of a woman getting an abortion. In response, states like Connecticut are passing legislation to protect their residents against such overreach by states located hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
In the wake of Alito’s decision becoming “the law of the land,” this interstate animosity will only grow, and it is inevitable that the federal courts will be asked to sort it out. Do Alito & Co. imagine they will then be able to craft a ruling that will let Texas enforce its unjust laws on citizens of Connecticut, and that that will sort out the mess they themselves have just created? Such things been tried before: the odious Chief Justice Roger Taney imagined he had “solved” the issue of slavery for the country once and for all with his infamous 1857 Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case, wherein he opined that Black people had no rights White people were bound to respect. Nice job, Roger. Four years later the Civil War broke out.
In our own time, it hardly needs saying that national unity is already frayed to the breaking point. Aggravating the already existing divisions on an explosive issue like abortion is the work of political arsonists, not “conservatives,” much less jurists worth the name. And the animosity will only intensify due to the MAGA movement’s limitless desire to drag America into their grotesque fantasy of a past Golden Age, which is already leading them into attempts to ban contraception, persecute LGBTQ people, round up the undocumented, etc. Now that there is nothing left of the Supreme Court’s reputation as a neutral arbiter, now that it is openly an asset of the far right, it offers nothing to a bleeding nation but the brass knuckles of naked power wielded in the service of injustice.