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MSNBC Compares Banning Abortion to Banning Interracial Marriage

msnbc-compares-banning-abortion-to-banning-interracial-marriage

With the Supreme Court set to hear a challenge to Roe v. Wade on Wednesday, the Monday cast of Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC set about their usual fearmongering where it was alleged that banning abortion would be like banning interracial marriage and getting rid of Roe would be like getting rid of the Voting Rights Act.

The closest guest host Chris Jansing got to allowing the conservative perspective to be heard was a clip from Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Sunday’s Meet the Press, explaining to Chuck Todd that abortion is not in the Constitution.

Jansing then asked NYU professor and former clerk to then-judge Sotomayor to explain “what’s the other side of this argument about constitutionality?”

Murray conceded “Well, Governor Tate Reeves is correct. The right to an abortion or the right to privacy is nowhere explicitly enumerated in the Constitution.” The conversation should’ve ended right there, but it didn’t as Murray continued: 

But neither are other constitutional principles that we hold sacrosanct like the right to marry, and certainly even though there was a period of time when many individuals in this country would have voted banned interracial marriage or, even more recently, same-sex marriage, the Court has held the Constitution protects those kind of intimate decisions and that too is the logic underlining the right to an abortion.

Banning interracial marriage clearly violates the 14th Amendment, whereas Obergefell was another activist decision, but that aside, Murray’s argument that essentially says “because the Court said so” does not debunk Reeves’ argument that Roe was wrongly decided.

Instead of turning to a conservative professor or analyst to argue that Reeves was correct, Jansing turned to former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, “And I mention, Joyce, these three appointees that Donald Trump was able to put on the Court. Who in particular and what are you going to be listening for when this comes on Wednesday?”

After lamentably predicting the question is not whether or not the Court will “preserve abortion rights” but just “how much will it erode the rights that people in this country have enjoyed for almost the last 50 years” Vance finally got around to answering the question. She claimed that Mississippi’s argument that Roe is no longer needed reminds her of:

Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in the voting rights case where she wrote to the effect that getting rid of the Voting Rights Act is like tossing your umbrella in the middle of a rainstorm because you’re still dry. And the fear is the Supreme Court with this new conservative majority will take action that will leave people in this country, particularly women of color and people who live in lower economic conditions, that it will leave them vulnerable, that they will no longer control their own course. So there’s a lot more at stake in this week’s argument than simply whether or not Roe v. Wade survives. 

Given those high stakes, it would be nice if the Court has better analogies than MSNBC’s legal analysts. 

This segment was sponsored by Subaru.

Here is a transcript for the November 29 show:

MSNBC

Andrea Mitchell Reports

12:54 PM ET

TATE REEVES: I believe in a simple reading of the United States Constitution that when Roe was decided in 1973, there is no fundamental right in our United States Constitution to an abortion and furthermore, Chuck, I believe very strongly that if you read the constitution, there is nowhere in the constitution that prohibits individual states, states like Mississippi, to limit access to abortions. 

CHRIS JANSING: Melissa, what’s the other side of this argument about constitutionality? 

MELISSA MURRAY: Well, Governor Tate Reeves is correct. The right to an abortion or the right to privacy is nowhere explicitly enumerated in the Constitution. But neither are other constitutional principles that we hold sacrosanct like the right to marry, and certainly even though there was a period of time when many individuals in this country would have voted banned interracial marriage or, even more recently, same-sex marriage, the Court has held the Constitution protects those kind of intimate decisions and that too is the logic underlining the right to an abortion. So, it is true, it’s not explicitly in there, but there are a lot of things that are constitutionally guaranteed that are not explicit in the Constitution either. 

CHRIS JANSING: And I mention, Joyce, these three appointees that Donald Trump was able to put on the Court. Who in particular and what are you going to be listening for when this comes on Wednesday? Joyce?

JOYCE VANCE: Well Chris, it seems, it seems like the problem that the Supreme Court faces isn’t whether it’s going to preserve abortion rights versus whether it’s going to overturn them. The question is how much will it erode the rights that people in this country have enjoyed for almost the last 50 years? We now have five, possibly six justices who are on record as believing that Roe is wrongly decided or at least significantly overstepped the bounds of the law. And so the question is where this court will land. 

Something that really concerns me and that I’ll be looking for this week is Mississippi’s argument that women no longer need this sort of protection. Because they’ve achieved so much in society. And I’m reminded very painfully of Justice Ginsburg’s dissent in the voting rights case where she wrote to the effect that getting rid of the Voting Rights Act is like tossing your umbrella in the middle of a rainstorm because you’re still dry. And the fear is the Supreme Court with this new conservative majority will take action that will leave people in this country, particularly women of color and people who live in lower economic conditions, that it will leave them vulnerable, that they will no longer control their own course. So there’s a lot more at stake in this week’s argument than simply whether or not Roe v. Wade survives. 

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