The right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has now issued decisions overturning abortion rights, weakening the wall of separation between church and state, limiting state and local firearm regulation, and interfering with federal Environmental Protection Agency regulation of climate-altering, coal-burning power plants.
In a concurring opinion in the anti-abortion Dobbs decision, Justice Clarence Thomas laid out the goals of the right-wing judges. According to Thomas, “In future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents.” The right-wing group, including the three Trump appointees, seems determined to eliminate all protection for the personal right to intimacy and privacy and fundamental legal protections. This is the world of the dystopian novels “1984” and “The Handmaid’s Tale” — steps toward dismantling democracy and human rights and imposing the justices’ religious beliefs on the rest of the population. When similar things happen in the Islamic world, the United States is quick to denounce Sharia law.
Blue states and the federal government must find ways to skirt the Supreme Court majority. Here are some suggestions.
• Treat guns like cars. Cars are registered and inspected annually. Drivers are tested and licensed. Just as they do with cars and trucks, states and the federal government should require that all gun owners be tested and licensed and insure their weapons, with steeper costs for automatic weapons and those that will be carried concealed in public places, and the highest cost for military-style weapons. Vehicles are taxed to support road maintenance and policing. Tax gun ownership as well.
• Treat air pollution like any other toxic waste. If states and companies do not stop pollution from coal-fired power plants and the EPA is prevented from regulating them, the federal government should just order them shut down as health risks. If that doesn’t work, charge them for using the air as a waste dump. Meanwhile, neighboring states should sue the state governments and companies in bordering states for damaging their environments, and bill them for the medical expenses incurred by their citizens.
Dr. Alan Singer is a professor of teaching, learning and technology and the director of social studies education programs at Hofstra University. He is a former New York City high school social studies teacher and editor of Social Science Docket, a joint publication of the New York and New Jersey Councils for the Social Studies. Follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AlanJSinger1.