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The other scary thing about Alito’s draft ruling on abortion

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To justify stripping women of their right to choose an abortion, Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s leaked draft opinion had to pull from all sorts of sources. The judicial screed relies on a 13th-century treatise that held women in regard “inferior to that of men.” It cites the work of a 17th-century jurist who treated women as witches, or property.

But most of all, Alito’s argument draws from a source much more recent: dissenting opinions from past Supreme Court cases. In their own way, these dissents are just as scary — but they also provide a model for how to weather this dark moment.

It’s not unusual for dissents of the past to show up in new rulings. As Neal Katyal, acting solicitor general during the Obama administration, told me recently, “The seeds of a dissent later flower into a majority opinion.” The most famous of these is the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954, which stood on the powerful dissent of Justice John Marshall Harlan in the “separate but equal” shame that was the majority opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.

Maya Wiley, a former federal prosecutor who is now president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, described dissents as “the brief for a future appeal to the........

© Washington Post

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