Monday, July 11, 2022

Dessert Is (Not) Served

Say their names: Dr. David Gunn (Pensacola, 1993); Dr. John Bayard, James H. Barrett (Pensacola, 1994); Shannon Lowney, Leanne Nicks (Brookline, Mass., 1994); Dr. Barnett Slepian (Amherst, NY, 1998); Robert Sanderson (Birmingham, 1998); Dr. George Tiller (Wichita, 2009); Garrett Swasey, Ke'Arre M. Stewart, Jennifer Murkowsky (Colorado Springs, 2015).

These are the names of the victims- the individuals murdered at abortion clinics, or elsewhere because they were practitioners at abortion clinics. It does not include the thousands of employees, professionals or otherwise, or women seeking an abortion, who in the last several years have faced increasing threats of violence or harassment at abortion clinics.

But Brett Kavanaugh is the real victim:

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh ducked out the back door of a steakhouse in Washington, D.C., when a group of demonstrators gathered outside to protest his vote to jettison Roe v. Wade, Politico and activists reported.

Kavanaugh was dining Wednesday night at Morton’s restaurant in downtown Washington when protesters showed up out front, according to Politico. They called the manager to tell him to kick Kavanaugh out — and later tweeted that the justice soon slipped out the back, which Politico confirmed.

Morton's has a right, legally and morally, to serve anyone and everyone who wishes to dine there, assuming the patron pays for its product and abides by whatever basic standards the chain steakhouse may require its customers to maintain. And Brett Kavanaugh has the same right, legally and morally, to travel to any dining spot he wishes, even though there is no right to travel deeply rooted in this nation's history and tradition.  Moreover, the raucous protest outside of Morton's will change no one's mind, and, disturbingly, may not have been intended to do so.

Nonetheless, as Charlie Pierce has noted

You cannot protest at the steps of the Supreme Court, as they've walled that shit off. You can't protest at the justices' houses, and there's some merit to the idea that private residences—where spouses and children are in the mix—should be off-limits. (Of course, in the case of Clarence Thomas, his spouse has very much been in the mix.) But you can't protest in neutral public venues, either, even if you're on a city street outside a restaurant.

Kavanaugh's supporters, the restaurant and others, are claiming a right to privacy which the court's most prominent problem drinker and four others have denied to women because they were not inserted in the Constitution by the musket-toting, horse and carriage riding, slaveholding founders.


There is no constitutional right to eat dinner, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh has been subject to rude and useless harassment. He and five other Justices have opened pregnant women to much more than having to flee a restaurant by the back exit. 



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