Ways to skirt the right-wing Supreme Court agenda


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.

Individuals can also join in class-action suits. This has worked against other toxic polluters. Flooded communities can flood the courts, charging polluters with adding to destructive climate change.
• To protect access to abortion for women living in states with Republican-controlled governments, we need to learn lessons from the anti-slavery campaigns of the 19th century. Underground railroads can take women to states and cities where health services, including abortions, will be provided free of cost. Constitutionally, at least as of now, states cannot charge women or health providers with crimes that did not occur under their jurisdiction.
Public and private postal services, email, social media and the Internet can all be used to flood red states with the information women need to know. Underground railroads will also have to work in reverse, sending pregnancy-ending medication, and possibly even birth control, into states that deny women reproductive freedom. Expect red states to pass new legislation outlawing all of these behaviors. Blue state governments will need to ignore these laws and protect their citizens from red state legal action, including refusing to extradite them.
• Shoring up the wall of separation between church and state will be difficult and meet local resistance, but it isn’t impossible. The Supreme Court ruled that government funds and programs provided to secular private schools cannot be denied to religious schools. The best way to block government subsidies of religious schools is to eliminate such subsidies, as well as vouchers, tuition remission, tax breaks, and direct aid, to all private schools.
This would also put a stop to the promotion of private schools to avoid school integration and the underfunding of public education.
Another strategy is to require that any schools that accept public funds fully comply with all civil rights diversity, equity and inclusion requirements, including the rights of members of the LGBTQ+ community.
It will not be easy to counter the right-wing, ideological Supreme Court majority that is attempting to rewrite the U.S. Constitution, but strategies like these can be employed until we have a new Supreme Court.

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.