Column 1190 Thur June 30
In my previous column I explained what a hot-button issue means. A hot-button issue is an issue that makes people have strong emotions and opinions. A woman’s right to an abortion has suddenly become a hot-button issue after the US Supreme Court ruled last week women have no constitutional right to an abortion. The court’s decision has further divided a polarized America along political lines. The word “polarized”, which comes from the word Pole, is used to describe two groups with opposing views. These groups are so divided, or polarized, it seems they are from the opposite ends of the Earth, the North and South Poles.
The US Supreme Court is America’s highest court, similar to Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal. It has nine justices (judges) who are chosen by the president but must be confirmed by the US Senate. They are appointed for life. A vacancy occurs only when a judge dies or chooses to retire. If a vacancy occurs when the president is a Republican, the president will always choose a conservative judge. A Democrat president will always choose a liberal judge. In 1973, when the US was less polarized, the Supreme Court decided 7-2, including justices chosen by Republican presidents, that women had a right to abortion. But that ended last week when the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that women have no constitutional right to abortion.
Today’s US Supreme Court is very different from 1973. Former US President Donald Trump was able to choose three very conservative justices after three justices either died or retired. A Supreme Court of six conservatives and three liberals polarized the court. I need to wrap my head around the 6-3 decision. To “wrap your head around” something means to understand it. I cannot wrap my head around why the US Supreme Court ruled last week Americans have a constitutional right to carry guns outside the home, which can kill people, but ruled last week women have no constitutional right to abortions because they kill unborn children.