America | Failing | People | 27th June 2022 | Virtual Wire
Major changes in two landmark rulings have put America's justice system, and the future of its citizens, into question.
Supreme Court Expands the right to possess Guns
The Supreme Court ruled on June 23, to expand the individual right of an American to possess guns, striking off the strict gun control law, enacted in 1913, in New York State. The Supreme Court had already recognised the right in the Heller Vs. District of Columbia case, 2008 and had scrapped the gun control laws in the national capital of Washington D.C.
The Nature of the Ruling
The 6-3 majority ruling, backed by the conservatives, claimed to protect the right to keep and bear arms, under the Second Amendment of the U.S Constitution, for self-defence purposes. The ruling proved to be a magnificent win for not only gun owners across the state but the members of the National Rifle Association too. The judgement has received criticism from liberals, and Democrats in the Senate including President Joe Biden, who deemed gun violence to be a national embarrassment, in the light of the recent Buffalo and Uvalde massacres. Even though the U.S Senate has a bipartisan Gun Control bill, the capitalistic and haphazard nature of this ruling puts the lives of millions of Americans at stake, considering the analogy of which places are "sensitive" for carrying firearms and which are not; who is to be considered fit for exercising the right and who is not.
Roe Vs Wade Overturned
The historic Supreme Court judgement on the Roe Vs Wade case, which legalised abortions, was been overturned by a conservative bench, on June 24.
What is the case all about?
In 1970, Norma McCorvey, a single, pregnant woman from Texas filed a suit, against the district attorney of Texas Country, Henry Wade, challenging the law prohibiting abortions in the state. To protect her privacy, she used the name, Jane Roe. At the time, the Texas law prohibited abortions, unless done to protect the life of the mother. This was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1973, on the grounds of violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S Constitution, which guarantees a pregnant woman's right to abortion. The Supreme Court allowed the termination of pregnancies up to the point of foetal viability, the time after which a foetus can survive outside the womb.
What has changed? Why is it bad?
The current ruling, authored by Justice Aliyo, has overruled the claims of Roe and moved to ban abortions across the U.S. This clearly infringes the fundamental right of a woman to go for a safe and legal abortion. It also raises the risk of pregnancy-related deaths and illegal, unsafe abortions, which shall not only harm the foetus but the mother also. The ruling does not appeal to grave situations including unprotected, non-consensual sex and rape. It does not demarcate the role and responsibilities of the male parent, who is equally accountable for the pregnancy and lays strict norms on the use of appropriate contraceptives. Both these judgements have indeed altered the fabric of the social structure in America, which claims to be progressive in its mindset.