Some Democrats and media figures have engaged in patently absurd and wild speculation about future potential Supreme Court rulings on a wide variety of issues following the leak of a draft opinion on an abortion case that would overrule the Roe v. Wade precedent set in 1973.
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and former Attorney General Eric Holder did exactly that Thursday when they expressed concerns that the high court could conceivably overturn prior precedents on issues like contraception, interracial marriage, same-sex marriage, and even segregation in public schools, Fox News reported.
More fearmongering on the Supreme Court
Former AG Holder appeared on Mitchell’s “MSNBC Reports” program Thursday to discuss the recent Supreme Court leak on abortion as well as the ongoing politicized investigation and prosecutions of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot of 2021.
“How unprecedented, first of all, is the leak?” Mitchell asked. “And the way they came down in terms of breaking precedent, ignoring stare decisis and deciding to completely overrule Roe v. Wade after 49 years.”
Holder acknowledged that the leaked draft opinion was “unprecedented” and a “serious” matter that “needs to be addressed.” However, it was “what’s contained in that leaked opinion” that he believed was the truly concerning thing that everybody needed to “focus” on.
“Looks like they’re going to overturn Roe v. Wade, inconsistent with the notion that you would adhere to precedent that people have relied on over the last 50 years. It’s an attack on the right to privacy,” he said.
“And so, the question has to be asked, is it only abortion that is going to be at risk, or is same-sex marriage going to be at risk? The regulation of contraception, is that going to be at risk? Even interracial marriage,” Holder added. “All of these are based on the right to privacy, which this opinion in its form as we saw it, really goes at the, that — that — right to privacy.”
Cites ruling that overturned prior precedent to warn against overturning prior precedents
Mitchell then asked with regard to the Supreme Court, “And if they care so little about precedent and overruling precedent, what about Brown v. Board of Education? What about other major civil rights rulings of the 60s?”
Rather ironically, according to Newsbusters, the Brown v. Board of Education ruling she cited that ended segregation was itself a major decision that overruled the prior precedent set nearly 60 years earlier by Plessy v. Ferguson that had allowed for “separate but equal” racial segregation.
“Well essentially, that’s a question that you might have said, ‘Well, you’re going too far, Andrea,’ and yet you think about those Trump judges who when they were questioned about is Brown v. The Board of Education a super-precedent or something you would not re-examine, they waffled on that,” Holder replied. “And that always, kind of, struck me. How could you waffle on Brown v. The Board of Education? And yet, they did.”
“Now, I’m not saying they’re going to reinstitute Plessy v. Ferguson and we’re going to have a whole system of racial apartheid again. But I think that shows a mindset that they are not going to adhere to the extent that they should to precedent,” he continued and went on to warn that the court was currently considering cases on other major issues like affirmative action, gun control, and voting rights.
Setting aside Mitchell’s own ironic ignorance about past precedents routinely being overturned by the Supreme Court, it is noteworthy that Holder belied his purported credentials as a former attorney general by mentioning the non-existent notion of an untouchable “super-precedent” as well as his assertion that the rulings on interracial and same-sex marriage revolved around a right to privacy when, in fact, they were centered on the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.