Letter: Where did Justice Alito get it wrong on the Constitution?

Posted 5/8/22

To the editor:

As the usual political actors ratchet up their rhetoric after the leak of the first draft of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision, we need to true up what they are …

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Letter: Where did Justice Alito get it wrong on the Constitution?


To the editor:

As the usual political actors ratchet up their rhetoric after the leak of the first draft of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson decision, we need to true up what they are claiming to reality. From President Biden to the cabal of abortion apologists in Rhode Island, including Gov. McKee, House Speaker Shekarchi, and the Senate Democrat leadership of President Ruggerio, Majority Leader McCaffrey, and Majority Whip Goodwin, they assert that Justice Samuel Alito’s draft robs women of their so-called right to abortion. Of course, it does nothing of the sort.

The draft decision does nothing to change any law in any state; it simply undoes some of the most egregious ideological decisions in Supreme Court history in Roe and Casey. Dobbs justly sends this crucial issue back to the citizens and their representatives. As Justice Byron White wrote in his dissent, the arbitrary 1973 Roe decision was an “exercise in raw judicial power.”

Justice Antonin Scalia dissented from the cobbled together 1992 Casey v. Planned Parenthood decision reaffirming Roe. That additional confusion fabricated the undefined “undue burden” standard, the changeable viability threshold, which was ignored, and decreed that Casey would end the abortion controversy definitively. Justice Alito in Dobbs systematically dismantles that pretense point by point.

Scalia wrote presciently then, “It is no more realistic for us in this litigation than it was for him in that, to think that an issue of the sort they both involved — an issue involving life and death, freedom and subjugation — can be ‘speedily and finally settled’ by the Supreme Court …” (Comparing Casey to Justice Taney and the vile Dred Scott decision that codified slavery and the inferiority of some human beings due to their race.)

The Dobbs draft rectifies these errors. 

The challenge to the hypocritical politicians is twofold. First, in lieu of emotional hand-wringing, let them show specifically where Justice Alito got it wrong on the Constitution and undoing the errors of Roe. Secondly, for those who like Senators Ruggerio, McCaffrey, and Goodwin, still claim they are personally in favor of protecting tiny human lives, what changed in the nature of the separate life that is undoubtedly present in the wombs of mothers that makes them now expendable?

Those who claim to be personally opposed, but support upholding the 2019 law, expose themselves as profiles in cowardice. If the issue was another, for example if laws on the books upheld segregated water fountains in 1952, would they have us believe that legislative integrity requires them to defend what is written while they maintain personal virtue? Such a deceptive integrity is not one of courageous leadership but reveals them to be submissive to the current Democrat narrative. Instead of leading, they smirk, hiding in the Senate cloakroom with their partners in political expediency.

Now, planning to leverage the Dobbs leak controversy, some of the same legislators who pushed through the 2019 R.I. bill “codifying” abortion at all stages of gestation have filed bills in both the R.I. Senate and House to repeal the law that prevents the state from using public funds to pay for abortion. Their “newspeak” title for these bills is “Equity in Abortion Coverage.” A budget office study calculated for them that funding abortions in lieu of live births could save the state $5.4 million a year. Would it not be far better for taxpayer money to help these children and families to stay healthy rather than spend our money to take their lives? The reductionist rationale in these cold computations is breathtaking. Tell your rep and senator you want no part of this and will hold them accountable in elections.

Jack and Rita Parquette

15 Birch St.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.