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EDITORIAL: Supreme Court decisions reversing decades of progress are deep cause for concern

The Daily Targum's editorial board reacts to decisions from the Court

Rulings from the Supreme Court are unsettling for many, especially for college students.  – Photo by Fred Schilling, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

In the wake of the shift to the Right in the Supreme Court, The Daily Targum’s editors reflect on recent decisions and express their opinions on the Court and what these decisions mean for the country.

Isabella Tyszka, editor-in-chief: "Living in the U.S. right now means that you wake up every single day to news that makes your head spin. The overturning of Roe v. Wade is the first of many egregious decisions the Court has made recently, and it's hard to be hopeful. This ruling has solidified the fact that the Court is far from reflecting public opinion. Reproductive rights are human rights."

Victoria Yeasky, managing editor: "As a woman in the U.S., recent decisions made by the Court are deeply concerning to me. It is appalling that the right to have an abortion will no longer be protected across the country, and I am scared to see how this situation will continue to unfold. The fact that this decision was made by the Court while so many Americans support the right to abortion shows, to me at least, that they do not act for our justice but rather for their own agendas."

Astha Lakhankar, news editor: "The idea that a group of nine individuals can permanently decide the fate of millions is unsettling. These individuals, who all possess the social and material capital to obtain necessary health care services and clean living environments, have restricted so many people’s access to these same rights.

"I am not sure what specific policies need to be enacted (term limits, stronger requirements for appointments, etc.), but we need to start exploring ways to check the Court’s power. I recommend reading this article to understand how decisions made by a small group of people can trickle down to haunt the lives of millions."

Claire Bruno, associate news editor: "I think the recent decisions of the Court have reflected the fact that there is not an equal or fair representation of the values of Americans and what we actually want. It is extremely disheartening to watch people suffer, whether it be from losing a loved one due to the lack of gun control or the loss of a right, as a result of the decisions of a group of justices who clearly all present biased values."

Ricky Suta, opinions editor: "Recent decisions from the Court have been discouraging, to say the least. The overturning of Roe is as depressing as it is infuriating. As the Court seems set on rolling back even more rights — marriage equality, same-sex relations and access to contraception, to name a few — we all should be scared. Our rights are threatened, but so too is our democracy.

"Our democracy, fundamentally, cannot work if we cede so much power to a group of unelected jurists. Especially when the majority of those justices were appointed by presidents who lost the popular vote.

"Democrats have been using these recent decisions as a way to galvanize their base. Vote, they say, and they will protect us. Yet, Democrats have power — right now. While, of course, we all need to vote in this year's election, Democrats in power must begin to actually use their power: Codify the right to abortion, regulate guns and reign in this extremist Court. Democrats must match the urgency of their fundraising emails with action.

"Despite the ominous future being forced upon us by this Court, I want to end optimistically: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson has officially begun her tenure on the Court. This is a moment that deserves celebration, as it reminds us that great things remain possible in this country. We must let Jackson's brilliant mind and compassionate soul guide the Court, and all of us, in the years to come."

Dylan McCoy, sports editor: "I think it's incredible how the justices of the Court can act in their own political interests instead of interpreting the laws and the Constitution like they are supposed to do. Many of the judges who voted to overturn Roe said on record that they would not take this step, and I think that lying like this should be seen as perjury.

"The conservative decisions made recently have sent this country back decades in terms of rights, and people need to act soon (in the midterms and in 2024) to make sure more rights are not taken."

Jack Bisaha, associate sports editor: "The Court has disappointed me over the past few years with the number of decisions they have handed down, from environmental protection to the recent Roe reversal. In the case of Roe, I believe it is a move that does not reflect the attitudes of the country and is a decision that harmfully restricts the rights and freedoms of women. I think the reversal of Roe is not only moving our country backward but it is also dividing our country even further along political lines."

Vy Nguyen, copy editor: "Of all of the Court’s recent decisions, the one to overturn Roe stands out to me for how little it implies this Court values people with uteruses.

"In a country where a majority of people support the right to abortion, where maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the developed world and where infrastructure to support parents and their children hardly exists, to force people to carry unwanted pregnancies to term feels like an affront to not just our legal freedoms but also to our very existences, especially for poor people and for people of color who will disproportionately carry this burden as a result."

Kevin Rosa, associate copy editor: "I feel like the Court's recent actions are a loss for all of us. It is a disappointment, but something good we can do is raise our voices together to be heard. It is definitely a learning lesson and an eye-opening experience about who currently runs our country and our rights. Something must be done."

Meredith MacLean, features editor: "The Court has certainly been pushing the country in a terrifying direction, more so than it's already been going. It's proven once again that the interests of those in charge remain with those in charge, in the powerful hands of a white, wealthy, male few. While the decisions on gun laws and the Environmental Protection Agency are concerning, what's made the most noise recently is Roe.

"As someone who can get pregnant, it is obviously terrifying, and it is a million times worse for women with far less access to abortion than I have. It primarily affects poor women, women in the South and women of color. Not only that, but it also opens up a terrifying precedent about privacy that threatens contraception and my fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community.

"The Court, in general, is dishonest and all too powerful, and voting feels futile considering the amount of power Democrats have when they still did not prevent this by codifying the right to abortion.

"I highly encourage anyone to donate to abortion funds specific to states and communities more affected than New Jersey and to continue to use their voice, their time and their resources to continue to condemn this. I also encourage everyone to watch for future Court cases and be on alert as a concerning election law case will be heard that could change voting to suppress it more and make the impact of these decisions even worse."

Henry Wang, photo editor: "Abortions will continue to happen all while being disproportionally detrimental to the lives of poor women of color. The hypocrisy of the pro-life movement is jarring when the lives of actual living women are disregarded for the sake of a political agenda.

"While the polarization between Left and Right-wing ideologies grows, women’s reproductive rights should not be in the middle of a battleground for control. For a country as free as we claim to be, it is backward to let reproductive health and rights become compromised and decided by people too privileged to understand."

Chris Kim, video editor: "A majority of the country is disappointed in the Court. Its recent decisions have done a great job at showing everyone where the justices' true priorities lie, particularly the decisions that have given inanimate objects more rights than human beings.

"I think that a major thing that needs reconsideration is the term length for these justices. Since the birth of the Constitution, life expectancy has increased drastically, and this concept of serving 'on good behavior' has allowed for certain people to hold onto power for longer than they should. I feel that this should be an area of scrutiny along with the Court's most recent rulings."

Jonny Berkowitz, associate video editor: "Overturning Roe goes to show how abusive the Court is as far as using its power goes. It is honestly kind of stupid how something of this magnitude can be overturned. It will only be a matter of time until we lose yet another right, and it looks like it could be gay marriage which is just completely insane. Women deserve to make decisions with their own bodies, and love is love. C'mon, this is ridiculous."

Rachel Chang, social media editor: "Right now, I don’t feel particularly comfortable with the lawmakers in the U.S. They are acting in their own best interests rather than what they were meant to do — look out for the best interest of the American people. While I think that we are seeing some change within local government, like New Jersey tightening up on gun restrictions, it doesn’t seem like it is enough."

While it is easy to feel overwhelmed by this moment, we should not fundamentally lose hope: Things are bleak, and they feel never-ending, but we must remain committed to the idea of progress. We can make the country what we want it to be, even if it feels impossible now. But we cannot do it alone: Those in positions of power must understand our heartache and our fears and respond accordingly.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 154th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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