The bride, Mrs. Thomas, wore white

By Sue Libenson

Updated: 4 hours ago Published: 4 hours ago

Alaskans have great respect for privacy and personal freedoms. It is part of our way of life in Alaska and is entrenched in our Constitution. But, in these particularly fragile times for personal rights, Alaskans must carefully guard our most intimate decisions and pay heed to the actions taken on our behalf by those in power.

Those who drafted the American Constitution began with great aspirations. Although our beginnings go back to a time when slavery was accepted, women and men who did not own land could not vote, and even witches were burned. In due time, we corrected our course by expanding, not contracting, personal rights.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s leaked opinion on abortion is based on the idea that rights that are not specifically mentioned in the US Constitution are not protected. This contradicts the court which has established many such rights over the past 100 years, including the presumption of innocence in criminal cases, the right to travel within the country and the right to privacy, in especially marital privacy.

More story to come. But, first, a happy story about a celebrity couple.

The bride wore white. The groom wore black. They chose to marry in the bride’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska in 1987. Nothing stood in their way. But, just 24 years earlier, couples in their situation had to cross state lines to exercise this most personal choice. Their situation? The bride, Ginni Lamp, was white. The groom, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, was black.

Mixed marriage is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. Nebraska’s ban on intermarriage lasted until 1963. In 1967, the United States Supreme Court unequivocally protected this fundamental right by unanimously ruling that the ban on interracial marriage violated the Constitution.

But rulings protecting these unlisted rights do not deter Judge Alito. Looking back, Alito argues that “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by constitutional provision.” Looking back, Alito also notes: “In deciding whether a right (is protected), the Court has long asked whether the right is ‘deeply rooted in (our) history and tradition’ and whether it is essential to the ‘system of our nation. of ordained Liberty.’ His opinion even reaches a century beyond our founding fathers. Alito is strongly inspired by the English jurist Sir Matthew Hale who, in 1673, described abortion as a “great crime”. Sir Hale, in keeping with his times, then secured the execution of two women as witches.

Back to our happy couple and more 1600s history.

US bans on intermarriage, now deemed unconstitutional, are indeed deeply rooted – dating back to Maryland’s first law in 1661.

The Thomases are celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary this year. They now join nearly one in five marriages in the United States between people of different ethnicities. Certainly, even the Thomases, among those who occupy our highest seats of power, are grateful that our nation and our Constitution have come down through the centuries to embrace modern mores.

In keeping with Alaska’s strong history of privacy, Alaska was one of nine states that never banned intermarriage. But the current Alaska administration is backtracking and moving away from the defense of privacy.

Alaska is among signatories to a brief in the abortion case pending before the Supreme Court, joining a veritable who’s who of other states with the worst records of supporting women and children in the nation. The states echo Alito’s time-distorting arguments, concluding that abortion “is nowhere to be found in the text of the Constitution” and that elective abortion “is not deeply rooted in history and tradition of our nation”.

Alito concludes that there is no constitutional right to abortion – at any stage, in any pregnancy, or for any reason. Revoking women’s right to make personal choices about their bodies in consultation with their health care providers is the ultimate disregard for privacy and undermines the fundamental recognition of women as people. The repercussions on the health, safety and well-being of women and their families deprived of access to abortion are well documented. Justice Alito’s personal hatred of abortion, his dated reading of the Constitution, and his selection of history degrade both the institution of the Court and our nation’s long and steady progress toward freedom and justice.

Although a latecomer to statehood, we are early leaders in civil rights. With Elizabeth Peratrovich’s activism, Alaska passed the Anti-Discrimination Act in 1945, nearly 20 years before Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Sue Libenson is a policy and communications analyst. Abortion has been private, safe and legal throughout her adult life.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the Anchorage Daily News, which welcomes a wide range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for review, email comment(at)dna.com. Send submissions of less than 200 words to [email protected] Where click here to submit via any web browser. Read our full guidelines for letters and comments here.

Comments are closed.