Slate journalist Dahlia Lithwick claimed on Tuesday that 2016 was the last “great” time for women and the legal system, prior to the election of Donald Trump.
She appeared on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” to promote her new book “Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America” which host Joy Reid described as an account of “extraordinary women” like Stacey Abrams and Sally Yates who worked to fight against “Trumpism.”
“In a constitutional democracy, enduring power lies in the people who step into the fight and by that yardstick, the women who stood up to defend the Constitution in the Trump era and who remain in the fight for democracy and equality today held the line,” Reid quoted.
Reid also quoted another section of the book which claimed that oral arguments for the 2016 Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt case was “the last truly great day” for women in America.
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“I sometimes think of the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision on March 2nd, 2016, as the last truly great day for women and the legal system in America. It has become at least for me a marker of the end of history, but completely in the wrong direction,” Lithwick wrote.
In Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court ruled 5-3 in June 2016 that Texas could not place restrictions on abortion services that created an undue burden on women.
Following Trump’s election in November 2016, however, the Supreme Court changed until a new conservative majority overturned Roe v. Wade this June, returning abortion restrictions and rights decisions back to the states.
Despite female Trump-appointed Justice Amy Coney Barrett voting to overturn the 1973 abortion case, Reid insisted that Barrett is arguing on “the other side” of progress while Lithwick claimed she has a “very theology-inflected view” of the Constitution. Further on, Lithwick lamented the liberal female justices who are continuing to fight for “progress.”
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“Here we are, a few days from the first Monday of October, for the first time in history, we’re going to have three women consistently on the descending side of the supermajority, two of them are women of color. What does this say that you have two women of color who are going to spend, as best as I can tell, years and years and years writing the kind of plaintiffs dissents we’ve heard from Justice Sotomayor, the kind of plaintiff dissents we heard from Justice Kagan, as you say, not just crying out for the legitimacy of the institution or regard for the institution, but simply begging that the majority, the supermajority in this case, see women as autonomous, as viable, as worthy of dignity?” Lithwick commented.
She insisted, “The optics of that could not be more troubling in a time when the courts approval ratings are in the 30s.”
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Lithwick was previously criticized in 2021 for calling for “due process” to be given to then-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo after sexual harassment allegations against him emerged. This came after she had warned readers in 2018 to “be very afraid” of Justice Brett Kavanaugh following unsubstantiated sexual assault claims against him.
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