After news leaked that the conservative majority on the Supreme Court was poised to overturn 50 years of settled law and upend reproductive rights in the U.S., right-wing politicians across the country began openly musing about what other long established laws could be uprooted.
In Texas, Republican Governor Gregg Abbott said he plans on challenging a ruling that requires states to provide public education to all children, including undocumented immigrants.
“Texas already long ago sued the federal government about having to incur the costs of the education program, in a case called Plyler versus Doe,” Abbott said on the Joe Pags show. “And the Supreme Court ruled against us on the issue. … I think we will resurrect that case and challenge this issue again, because the expenses are extraordinary and the times are different than when Plyler versus Doe was issued many decades ago.”
Plyler v. Doe was settled by a 5-4 vote in 1982.
The case challenged a Texas law that allowed the state to withhold funds to educate undocumented immigrants. The majority of the Court found that the law violated the 14th amendment.
The Court reasoned that illegal aliens and their children, though not citizens of the United States or Texas, are people “in any ordinary sense of the term” and, therefore, are afforded Fourteenth Amendment protections. Since the state law severely disadvantaged the children of illegal aliens, by denying them the right to an education, and because Texas could not prove that the regulation was needed to serve a “compelling state interest,” the Court struck down the law.
The Austin American-Statesman reports:
Abbott raised the possibility of challenging the ruling on education during a discussion about border security, after [host Joe Pagliarulo] asked whether the state could take steps to reduce the “burden” of educating the children of undocumented migrants living in Texas.
Meanwhile, Jim Obergefell, the gay rights activist who lent his name to the Supreme Court case legalizing gay marriage, is concerned that Alito’s leaked opinion portends a rollback in LGBTQ rights.
“This decision, and what Alito has to say about marriage equality, is a clear call to anyone who opposes marriage equality, who opposes LGBTQ+ equality, that they have a friend on the court. More than one friend. And that they should be happy or they should be willing to come after marriage equality,” Obergefell told CNN’s Bianna Golodryga on “At This Hour.”
Critics of Alito’s draft decision believe that if the opinion is ultimately rendered, it will represent an opening salvo in a push to target other rights grounded in privacy and liberty. Critics also believe it would destabilize the law by rendering the legal doctrine of stare decisis — the notion that courts should follow their precedents even if they disagree with them, to protect the cohesion of the law — a dead letter.