The “Supreme” Court? Honestly, we may have to change its name. From abortions to evictions, it could soon lay this country low. So maybe it should be known as the SDC, or Supremely Dangerous Court? Or maybe the CTEIA, the Court That Ends It All? Or perhaps just the SPC, or SubPrime Court? You certainly know we’re in a far less courtly world when that none-too-judicious body puts its stamp of approval on vigilante justice vis-a-vis women’s bodies and hardly hesitates to throw untold numbers of Americans into the street at the very moment when the Delta strain of Covid-19 is running wild. In other words, it’s helping to make this country (and its hospitals) into a hell on Earth. In case you hadn’t noticed, for instance, the official count of pandemically dead Americans — the real number is undoubtedly far higher — recently broke the 660,000 mark and will soon pass the estimated 675,000 American dead from the 1918-1920 “Spanish” flu pandemic.
So, congratulations to that “Supreme” Court, or perhaps that SPC (Supremely Pandemic Court). After all, as a recent study by MIT researchers showed, ending an eviction moratorium, as that court recently did, is essentially guaranteed to increase the spread of the Delta strain of the pandemic, already multiplying rapidly, especially in less vaccinated parts of the country. In fact, according to that study, “on average, when a state lifted its moratorium and let evictions resume, the hazard of contracting Covid-19 was 1.39 times greater after five weeks and 1.83 times greater after 12 weeks, rather than if the moratorium had continued.”
So, in the space of just weeks, that very court ensured that more unwanted children would enter the world and more wanted ones would depart it. How grim our all-American world is these days, as TomDispatch regular Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and author of the soon-to-be-published book We Cry Justice, suggests in her usual striking fashion today. Too bad she can’t get the attention of our SUC, or Supremely Uninterested Court. Tom
Resisting Evictions Amid a Pandemic
Over the past weeks, multiple crises have merged: a crisis of democracy with the most significant attack on voting rights since Reconstruction; a climate crisis with lives and livelihoods upended in the Gulf Coast and the Northeast by extreme weather events and in the West by a stunning fire season; and an economic crisis in which millions are being cut off from Pandemic Unemployment Insurance, even as August job gains proved underwhelming. There’s also a crisis taking place in state legislatures with an ongoing attack on women’s autonomy over our own bodies. The Supreme Court let a law go into effect that makes abortions nearly impossible in Texas and turns its enforcement over to vigilantes. And then, of course, there's the looming eviction crisis that could precipitate the worst housing and homelessness disaster in American history.
Indeed, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Texas abortion ban was hardly its only horrific decision this summer. Its willingness to end a moratorium on evictions instantly put hundreds of thousands of people at risk of eviction, with tens of millions more in danger in the weeks to come. With an unequal economic recovery, surging Covid-19 cases (thanks to the highly infectious Delta variant), and poor and homeless people disproportionately suffering the effects of fires and floods, this decision could truly prove catastrophic. Nor is it the only one likely to impact poor and low-income communities of color drastically. That stacked court, the Trump court (if you want to think of it that way), is offering a remarkably vivid demonstration of just how connected voting rights, women’s rights, immigrant rights, and poverty really are.Read More