As Texas Muses Destroying LGBTQ Rights, EFF Releases Video in Wake of Roe v Wade Overturn

The civil rights situation is continuing to worsen in the US. The EFF is helping women protect themselves as they become second class citizens.

The overturning of Roe V Wade was expected, but still shocking. It not only represented a moment where the US took a massive step back on the human rights front, but it also marked the moment that women became second class citizens. All of this because of conservative activist judges turning the US Supreme Court into a political body where case law and the rule of law are merely suggestions as they work towards ideological ends.

At the time, we noted that Canadian officials have been open to would be American refugees coming to the country to use needed medical services. We noted that there would be a cost barrier to these efforts should coverage not cover such medical procedures abroad. Of course, the question is how difficult would it be for women to travel in the first place now that they have fewer rights than guns these days. As we noted, this will definitely necessitate better securing your personal information and communications.

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has already released tips on protecting yourself from the prying eyes of others. Since then, they have released a video on Twitter offering some ideas for women to protect their digital information:

The video is equal parts informative and surreal. It’s surreal that such a video is so necessary today. At the same time, in the current anti-civil rights climate that the US has been plunged in to, we see this as a necessary thing to be posted in the first place. It really makes you shake your head at just how far the US has fallen already.

While most responses have been warmly welcoming and positive, some right wing extremists have attacked the video, decrying the respectable organization of being “woke”. Others have suggested that the organization is aiding and abetting criminal activity. To be clear, the EFF did nothing wrong here. Conservatives are just upset that women might get access to better techniques to protect their personal information. Still, the reaction highlights another example of just how tense the situation is in the US right now.

Supreme Court Already Decimating Black Voting Rights

The question on every sane persons mind right now is just how bad is the situation going to get in the US? It seems that the US Supreme Court isn’t wasting much time figuring out how to further erode human rights in the country. According to a report on Vox, they are already working on protecting gerrymandering efforts to suppress black voters:

The Supreme Court handed down a brief order Tuesday evening that effectively reinstates racially gerrymandered congressional maps in the state of Louisiana, at least for the 2022 election.

Under these maps, Black voters will control just one of Louisiana’s six congressional seats, despite the fact that African Americans make up nearly a third of the state’s population. Thus, the Court’s decision in Ardoin v. Robinson means that Black people will have half as much congressional representation as they would enjoy under maps where Black voters have as much opportunity to elect their own preferred candidate as white people in Louisiana.

A federal trial court, applying longstanding Supreme Court precedents holding that the Voting Rights Act does not permit such racial gerrymanders, issued a preliminary injunction temporarily striking down the Louisiana maps and ordering the state legislature to draw new ones that include two Black-majority districts. Notably, a very conservative panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the state’s request to stay the trial court’s decision — a sign that Louisiana’s maps were such a clear violation of the Voting Rights Act that even one of the most conservative appeals courts in the country could not find a good reason to disturb the trial court’s decision.

As the Fifth Circuit explained, current law typically forbids maps that dilute a particular racial group’s voting power, at least when that group is “sufficiently large and compact to form a majority” in additional congressional districts, when it “votes cohesively” and when “whites tend to vote as a bloc” to defeat the minority group’s preferred candidates.

So, the US Supreme Court really isn’t wasting any time in taking away the rights of American’s.

Will Anything Stop the Supreme Courts Rampage on Civil Rights?

With the Supreme Court trying to plunge America into a fascist society, you’d think that Democrats would be celebrating their chance to make political gains. Indeed, the initial reaction to the original overturning of Roe v Wade was that Democrats would see a surge in the polls. While US President, Joe Biden, did express opposition to Supreme Courts efforts to rip the Constitution to shreds, it seems that his response is quite muted beyond words. A number of democrats have suggested that Democrats pack the courts by expanding the number of seats as well as either reforming or eliminating the filibuster. However, reports suggest that Biden has ruled both possibilities out.

This then raises the question, what is the plan to stop America from plunging into a dystopian society? Right now, that isn’t necessarily clear. Outside of encouraging people to vote Democrat, we haven’t necessarily heard of any actual solutions beyond that. This has angered a number of Democrats who were hoping that this would be the spark to get Biden to effectively declare war on the Supreme Court. As a result, it leaves some asking if voting Democrat is worth it given that Democrats don’t seem all that interest in laying out a concrete plan to put a stop to this madness.

The unfortunate side effect is that it makes the situation a whole lot worse. You have a Supreme Court that has basically gotten out of control and no one is seemingly willing to do anything substantial outside of say they don’t like what’s going on. As a result, it seems that the Supreme Court has become emboldened to continue their destructive rampage of civil rights.

The Push to Remove the Establishment Clause and Social Security

With everything seemingly being on the table, it looks as though the Supreme Court has basically started looking over everything to see what fundamental rights and social benefits they want to go after. One right is known as the Establishment Clause. From Rolling Stone:

America First Legal (AFL), a right-wing group whose team includes several former Trump administration officials, is urging the Supreme Court to do even more to shatter what’s left of the wall between church and state.

On Tuesday, June 28, the group issued a statement essentially calling for a total overhaul of the First Amendment’s establishment clause, a key provision separating church and state. The statement arrived one day after the Supreme Court cracked part of the clause’s foundation with its ruling in Kennedy v. Bremerton. In that case, the court’s far-right majority ruled that public school officials in Bremerton, Washington, violated the First Amendment rights of high school football coach Joseph Kennedy when they fired him following a controversy stemming from his ritual of praying at the 50-yard line during football games. The 6-3 decision effectively overruled a 1971 precedent for interpreting the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

While the establishment clause exists to keep the government from establishing an official religion in the United States, or doing anything that might favor one religion over another, the AFL is now hopeful that the Supreme Court will “eventually disincorporate” the establishment clause in a future case. Doing so, the AFL suggests, would allow states to “decide whether and to what extent they will establish religion within their borders.”

The AFL’s vice president and general counsel Gene Hamilton — a former Trump official in the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, whose hits include axing DACA and helping create the infamous family separation policy — argued in a statement that the original intent of the establishment clause was to let the states decide just how much they want to separate church and state.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court decided in Coach Kennedy’s favor,” Hamilton said. “Perhaps the Court will, in a future case, finally restore the original meaning of the Establishment Clause and disincorporate it as to the states. But for today, we celebrate with Coach Kennedy and all Americans who value religious freedom.”

Another thing that some people are now nervously worried about is whether or not the Supreme Court will also take away Social Security. From Daily Kos:

Is the radical, Trump-packed U.S. Supreme Court going to be satisfied it has owned the libs once it has done away with contraception, abortion, marriage equality, voting rights, and the federal government’s ability to regulate anything to protect citizens from guns to baby food to air and water? In a word, no. Their list of grievances against 20th-century progress isn’t going to stop with our private lives. Not when their twin bugbears of the New Deal and Great Society still stand. Not until they’ve completed the Great Regression. Elected officials haven’t been able to get it done, so the unelected Supreme Court will take on the job.

Since the Social Security Act was enacted into law on August 14, 1935, Republicans have tried to tear it down. The thought of all that money being safely stored away by the government to help secure dignified and sustainable retirements for regular working people has rankled the Republicans all these decades. Elected officials have tried and failed. Case in point: Former President George W. Bush entered his second term in office with a radical “reform” plan to privatize Social Security. “I earned capital in this campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it,” he declared after the 2004 election.

He really did try, and the people turned on him. “According to the Gallup organization, public disapproval of President Bush’s handling of Social Security rose by 16 points from 48 to 64% between his State of the Union address and June.” Democrats were united against his proposal and Republicans could see it was toxic, and used Bush’s post-Hurricane Katrina dive in public support to pull the plug. Even the Very Serious People involved in all those Very Serious commissions making all their Very Serious pronouncements about how Social Security has to be “reformed” because the deficit have not been able to convince elected Republicans to finally do it. Because elections would be hard to win afterward.

Texas Open to Cracking Down on LGBTQ Rights

While all of this was going on, the Texas Attorney General made news by saying that if the Supreme Court eliminates LGBTQ rights, then he would defend such a ban. From the Washington Post:

Shortly after the Supreme Court struck down the fundamental right to an abortion, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) appeared to express support for Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurring opinion that the high court could review other precedents that may be deemed “demonstrably erroneous,” including those affecting the LGBTQ community.

One of the cases mentioned by Thomas was Lawrence v. Texas, which prevents states from banning intimate same-sex relationships. The landmark 2003 ruling struck down a 1973 Texas law that criminalized the act of sodomy. But as Roe v. Wade was overturned, Paxton said he would defend the state’s defunct sodomy law if the Supreme Court were to follow Thomas’s remarks and eventually revisits Lawrence.

“I mean, there’s all kinds of issues here, but certainly the Supreme Court has stepped into issues that I don’t think there’s any constitutional provision dealing with,” Paxton said in a Friday interview with NewsNation anchor Leland Vittert. “They were legislative issues, and this is one of those issues, and there may be more. So it would depend on the issue and dependent on what state law had said at the time.”

When asked whether the Texas legislature would pass a similar sodomy law and if Paxton would defend it and bring it to the Supreme Court, the Republican attorney general, who is running for reelection in November, suggested he would be comfortable supporting a law outlawing intimate same-sex relationships.

“Yeah, look, my job is to defend state law, and I’ll continue to do that,” Paxton said to Vittert. “That is my job under the Constitution, and I’m certainly willing and able to do that.”

This ultimately is the other ingredient needed to take away such rights. You have a state that seems open to banning those rights and a Supreme Court that is ready to put a bullet through the head of those rights. The only thing left is time.

A Dynamic Situation May Require A Dynamic Response from the Encryption Community

While the Roe v Wade is certainly triggering some responses from the security community, we are seeing a very fluid situation in the US where other rights are on the verge of being under attack. As we saw in some of the responses to the EFF’s guide to securing one’s personal information, there is a growing risk to sharing such critical information in the first place. Luckily, the EFF does have a number of lawyers on staff, so they are equipped to deal with legal situations as they arise. Still, there is that growing risk of political retaliation from far right extremists. As we know from last year, these extremists are known to get violent thanks to them launching a terrorist attack on the US Capitol buildings. So, if I were the EFF, I would also start looking at ensuring personal safety given how quickly the situation is spiralling out of control right now.

Still, what we are seeing is a quickly shifting situation. Women’s rights have already been destroyed and, thankfully, work is under way to find ways of protecting women in these uncertain times. However, with so many other rights seemingly on the chopping block, there will definitely need to be coordinated efforts to protect others who are going to suddenly become vulnerable in the US. With so little in the way of politics looking to put a stop to that, it doesn’t even look like a matter of if, but when.

What’s more is that we are only days into this massive backwards slide into civil rights and we are seeing a lot of activity over which human right is going to fall next. There are a lot of apparent candidates for that. If there was anyone thinking that America is a country that values human rights for all, that thinking is certainly, at minimum, being tested right now.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Facebook.

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