Skidmore professor, constitutional scholar, and author Beau Breslin says the Alito Court’s reversion to states’ rights on abortion policy violates the original purpose of a constitution:
What tends to happen is that courts, the Supreme Court in particular, forget the function of a constitution. A constitution does many things, but its main goal is the limitation of the power of majorities. Anytime there’s a rights-oriented decision that pits the majority against the minority, it’s the responsibility of the court to seriously consider the protection of minority interests. Our four major institutions of the federal government all represent different constituencies. The House of Representatives represents local constituencies, the Senate represents states, and the president represents the nation as a whole. What’s left are the unaccountable, undemocratic, life-tenured, fixed-salary, federal court judges, and their responsibility is to be the voice of those who don’t otherwise have a voice in the political process. There’s a rationalization for cases like Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade because you’re protecting the interest of minorities. But today the court is throwing things to the states. That’s just throwing it back to the majority. That doesn’t make sense from a Supreme Court perspective [Dr. Beau Skidmore, interview with Clay S. Jenkinson, “What If Every Generation of Americans Wrote Its Own Constitution?” Governing, 2022.09.04].
Basic rights should not vary or disappear when an American crosses state lines. South Dakota should not be able to say that women, Indians, or visitors from Minnesota lose their bodily autonomy or freedom of speech when they travel from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls. A Supreme Court that prides itself on “originalism” needs to get back to the original purpose of the Constitution and provide uniform protection of rights for all Americans against the tyrannies that have sprouted in certain regressive states.