You’re probably hearing a lot about the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision to overturn Roe v. Wade as it relates to other civil rights cases such as Loving v. Virginia and Obergefell v. Hodges and wondering what’s legit.
It’s worth noting that the majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito states, “...the dissent suggests that our decision calls into question Griswold, Eisenstadt, Lawrence, and Obergefell. Post, at 4–5, 26–27, n. 8. But we have stated unequivocally that [n]othing in this opinion should be understood to cast doubt on precedents that do not concern abortion.”
And, Justice Kavanaugh (concurring) states, “First is the question of how this decision will affect other precedents involving issues such as contraception and marriage—in particular, the decisions in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U. S. 479 (1965); Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U. S. 438 (1972); Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1 (1967); and Obergefell v. Hodges, 576 U. S. 644 (2015). I emphasize what the Court today states: Overruling Roe does not mean the overruling of those precedents, and does not threaten or cast doubt on those precedents.”
However, Justice Thomas (concurring) later alludes that the court has a "duty to correct the error” established in prior judgements, including Obergefell v. Hodges.
READ THE FULL 213-PAGE OPINION HERE
So, what can be done? In the face of such uncertainty, focusing on small, actionable items in the short term, that will equate to long-term impact.
IN THE FACE OF SUCH UNCERTAINTY, YOU CAN TAKE STEPS TO HELP YOU FEEL PROTECTED NOW
If you're feeling helpless, there are steps you can take to help ensure that you maintain the right to make decisions in tandem with (or on behalf of your partner), regardless of any rulings to the contrary, some basic estate planning will go a long way. You may wish to consider the following:
Creating a will or living trust
Executing health care directives including, a living will and medical power of attorney (POA)
Executing a financial power of attorney (POA)
Updating your beneficiary designations on insurance policies, adding transfer-on-death to bank accounts, considering joint ownership on registrations, deeds, etc. to avoid probate
This should not be considered a comprehensive list of all necessary estate planning documentation, and I am not a lawyer. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a lawyer to execute a will. Many of these documents have templates online. But I urge you to consult a legal or tax professional to advise on your specific needs.
I recognize that there are layers to this decision that I, as a white, cis-het woman, will never understand.
I’m sharing this information because staying aware, moving forward mindfully, and being prepared is the best way to stay protected regardless of what may come next.
Berlyn Events is not, and does not claim to be a lawyer. The ideas and information shared herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, or other professional advice on any subject matter. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this blog without seeking legal or other professional advice.