December 6, 2022

In Moscow, Idaho, Rebekah Merkle, 45, said that, like slavery and antisemitism, abortion was the product of the denigration of a class of humans. “If the Supreme Court is willing to do this, I think they will absolutely be vindicated as the heroes later,” said Ms. Merkle, a mother of five.

But, she added, the court “certainly seems more politicized to me than it used to be, and part of it is because politics have gotten so ugly recently.”

As Janna Carney, 35, picked up lunch near the downtown Los Angeles office where she works as a creative director in advertising, she said, “I liked the idea they couldn’t be owned by anybody, because you can’t vote for them, they’re not running campaigns.” Now, she said, she has trouble regarding the justices as neutral arbiters.

The country seems to have slipped so far into “red team vs. blue team” thinking that “we don’t have these nine impartial judges, we count them as team members,” she said. “It feels like our whole system is crumbling. It feels like we’re Rome and this is the fall.”

In Oakland, Calif., Cesar Ruiz, 27, a tech worker, said he kept remembering that five of the justices were appointed by presidents who took office without a popular majority, at least in their first terms. When news of the leaked draft flashed on his cellphone, he said, “I remembered in high school, learning about the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade and all the civil rights we gained in those years. Now an unelected, undemocratically appointed court is about to just wipe that out.”

In St. Louis, Jordyn McFadden, a first-year law student at Washington University, said the leaked draft made her see the Supreme Court both as “tyrannical” and “just another political body.”

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