The virtual ban on abortions in Texas, supported by the Supreme Court after five decades of legal framework established in the Roe v. Wade is an eloquent sign of the vitality of the division of American society.
It also proves that the split created Donald Trump, the jester who presided over the main country in the world for four years, more than was encouraged by the former president.
Of course, the Republican was a conduit for a political current that dates back to Richard Nixon’s culture war times in the 1960s and 1970s, through the ultra-conservative emergence of the Tea Party movement, and he manipulated those sentiments deftly.
But Trump was a symptom rather than a cause, no matter how hard he tried to play the role of the hero of conservatism, to the horror of his country’s true conservatives and the delight of imperfect clones elsewhere, like Jair Bolsonaro.
When he was defeated by Joe Biden in the 2020 election, not least because of his coup-like behavior that spilled over on Jan. 6 from the invaded Capitol, there was hope among self-styled progressives that the enemy had been contained.
Biden, after all, had capitalized on American boredom in the final stretch of Trump’s term, fueled by his erratic drive to fight the pandemic.
The Democrat, however, did not have an easy victory, having turned decisive votes against a huge mass that divides the country into blue and red, with inverse chromatic signs in relation to what happens in the rest of the world.
In power, he promised what even Michel Temer had promised in 2016, to pacify the country. It’s leagues away from that. In its foreign policy, it maintained as would be expected a good part of the trumpist route, just improving its way of interacting with the world, but almost nothing of the content: China and Afghanistan are there to exemplify.
At home, the Texan abortion issue is highly symbolic. More conservative extraction states have always sought to tighten restrictions on the practice, bumping into appeals made to the Supreme Court by pro-abortion bodies against authorities.
This time, the Texan Senate used a new gimmick. First, it created a rule that makes abortion impossible after the fetus’ heart beats, something like six weeks. With that, perhaps 85% of the interruptions made in the state in 2020 would have been vetoed if the law had already been valid.
Neither pregnancy caused by rape or incest is exempt from the rule.
But the trick came with individual empowerment for law enforcement: action against people helping women to abort outside the draconian parameters set must be done by individuals or private-law entities, not the state.
If he wins the case, the accuser still takes $10,000 home, plus court costs. If you lose, that’s it.
Thus, with no authorities involved, everything must take place at the state court level, not federal courts that are required to follow the Roe v. decision. Wade, 1973.
The Supreme Court was asked to speak and decided not to interfere in the Texas decision, by a 5-4 vote. As before, its president, Conservative John Roberts, voted with the three progressive judges appointed by Democratic presidents.
In a signal exchanged with the debate in Brazil, where the trumpist president is critical of the Supreme Court, Biden complained about the decision — but that does not mean that he suggests public protests, as Bolsonaro does with a view to 7 September.
In addition to seeing initiatives in Congress against the decision, the Democrat may revive an idea that fanned in the throes of the Trump administration when the Republican appointed a conservative to court after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an icon of liberals.
First, the Democratic Party tried to block the nomination, claiming that Trump could not do so eight days before the election.
Afterwards, the hypothesis was raised that Biden could expand the composition of the Supreme Court, now with nine members, in order to ease the weight of the majority of six conservative judges that will remain until any of them die or decide to retire.
In power, Biden created a commission to analyze the issue and, on Thursday (2), his spokeswoman said he “has not changed his mind” about the expansion.
In South America, two leaders have taken that view: leftist Hugo Chávez, who carried out the plan in Venezuela in 2003, and then-presidential candidate Bolsonaro in 2018 — who for now prefers to present requests for impeachment of court ministers.
This shows that clashes between Powers occur under any ideological coloration. In the specific American case, the Texas legal romp tends to be reproduced by conservative states ruled by Republicans, proving that the culture war is alive and well in Biden’s USA.