Texas Vigilante Abortion Law Resurrects Jim Crow-Era Tactic That Gives States Legal Cover | Talking Points Memo

This article is part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s home for opinion and news analysis. It first appeared at The Conversation.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://talkingpointsmemo.com/?p=1387274

I am most reminded of the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating racial restrictive covenants, i.e., private deeds to property that purported to prohibit subsequent transfers to black folks or other disfavored racial groups. The argument was that they were private contracts, so there wasn’t any state action that would be necessary for the 14th Amendment to apply. In Shelley v. Kraemer (1948), SCOTUS said nope, that ain’t gonna fly because even though it’s a private contract the courts would still be called upon to enforce it, and that right there is state action sufficient for the 14th Amendment to invalidate the racially restrictive covenant.


In response to the question in the article, “will Texas voters appreciate the law is using Jim Crow tactics”,

I think Republicans are betting on exactly that, that many voters in Texas appreciate Jim Crow.

That is what needs to be iterated and reiterated is that “values” in front of the word voter is and has always been code for race and that Trump, who for most of his life was for legal abortion did not create his base but rather the GOP base of not economic or foreign policy voters created Trump.


Will Texas voters appreciate that the state has resurrected a Jim Crow-era mechanism to avoid legal responsibility for its policies?

A helluva lot of them will. Maybe even a majority.


Just remember that Jim Crow is now Jim Crow 2.0, also known as Mr. James Crow. Unfortunately I feel that a majority of the current Supreme Court would be quire happy to revive Plessy v. Ferguson.


The logic employed by this law, that it’s OK for private citizens to take action on abortion related activities because the State isn’t doing it, is like grade school “I’m not touching you” with the State’s finger a millimeter from any pro-choice advocate’s eye.

It relies on bad faith arguments others would never attempt. Can the State of Washington empower citizens to confiscate guns? Can the State of Vermont empower citizens to ransack the homes of alleged, but not convicted, tax cheats? Of course not, because despite their declaration that it isn’t so - the state IS denying people their rights by empowering others to take them away.


Challenge any ‘reporting’ by Feds or military personnel as a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.


Appreciate Jim Crow? I think it more accurate to say they revere Jim Crow.


Yes…the 1948 SCOTUS did.

However, the 2021 SCOTUS, which seems to value private contracts and/or fears of “religious discrimination” over actual racial discrimination may have judged differently.


This article is certainly a reminder that when Governor Abbott or his attorney general tells his supporters to be glad that Texas isn’t California, there is, in the background, a fond memory of the not-so-distant segregationist past when white voters were clearly in charge. And California, his supporters know, is a multiracial state where white supremacy does not prevail today even though many outrages against racial justice can be found in its past history.


“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”
~Susan B. Anthony~


I don’t know that the writer means appreciate in the sense of be appreciative. More like the sense that’s closer to comprehend or understand. To which the correct answer would be, after pausing to stanch laughter: “Who [sic] do you think you’re kiddin’?”


The new face of Jim Crow in Texas:

And no doubt, he is proud of it!


Will Texas voters appreciate that the state has resurrected a Jim Crow-era mechanism to avoid legal responsibility for its policies?

Republican voter are thrilled to finally nail the libs. Proud of Abbot and Co for the creativity, as for the Jim Crow stuff their only complaint is that there is not more of it. Democratic voters of course will have to suck it up. As for “Independent” voters, most are just republicans ashamed of themselves.


It is encouraging to see good legal analysis blow potential legal avenues in the Texas abortion law, as even the common man knows that this law is screwed up 6 ways from Sunday.


Aside from the obvious civil rights violations sanctioned by the 5 Freds and OfFreds on the court, It still blows me away that they can argue with a straight face that SB 8 is too complicated for it to take up, given that 1) it’s not at all complicated and 2) there’s precedent for overturning such a transparent sidestep. It’s almost as insane as the idea that a law being “too complicated” is a great reason to allow it to be implemented rather than enjoined until someone can fucking “explain” it to them.



In the 1982 case Larkin v Grendel’s Den, the issue before the Supreme Court was a Massachusetts statute that allowed a church to deny a liquor license application of a neighboring restaurant. Section 16C of Chapter 138 of the Massachusetts General Laws stated:

“Premises . . . located within a radius of five hundred feet of a church or school shall not be licensed for the sale of alcoholic beverages if the governing body of such church or school files written objection thereto.”

SCOTUS noted in its decision to invalidate the Massachusetts statute:

§ 16C delegates to private, nongovernmental entities power to veto certain liquor license applications. This is a power ordinarily vested in agencies of government.

Larkin v Grendel’s Den (umkc.edu)


This only makes the decision of the Republican Supreme Court to allow the law to go into effect even worse…they didn’t just ignore Roe v Wade and Casey, they ignored nearly a century of jurisprudence that said this kind of law was unconstitutional. The fact that it was formerly used to uphold racial segregation makes it stink that much more.

If they are willing to pull this kind of garbage, then it’s really a question of how far they will go to do whatever they want. It’s clear that the law does not matter to five of the justices (Roberts does care about the law and the SC’s reputation, even as he tries to find ways to put his own spin on it), which means that there may be no bounds to what they will do to our society in their push to install a white supremacist Christian theocracy on the nation. It’s just another way we’re back in the 1850s, with justices that will declare laws from the bench that serve their desires instead of the Constitution and the people.


It’s pretty common for folks to create a God in their own image.

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