This week, the U.S. Supreme Court enters its first term with four women on the bench. While it is a historic moment for the representation of women in law, it also occurs in the backdrop of decisions like Dobbs v Women’s Health — removing a woman’s constitutional right to obtain an abortion.
Some commentators are now concerned the conservative wing of the court will flex its 6-3 super-majority in cases covering things like voting rights, and what that could mean for the democratic process.
In her latest book, “Lady Justice: Women, the Law, and the Battle to Save America,” journalist Dahlia Lithwick highlights the stories of some of the women working to bolster the democratic process and make it more inclusive.
“I think that tension, of having the law be the instrument of freedom and oppression, is very visceral and real to a lot of women.” — Dahlia Lithwick, author
Listen: How women have protected American democracy from authoritarianism.
Dahlia Lithwick covers the courts and law for Slate. She says while women have used the law to gain dignity and equality, they have also seen how it can be weaponized against them.
“One through line for me through the book was women realizing that actually, at the founding, and during…the time of the framing of even the 14th Amendment, women were not part of that process. They were carved out completely,” says Lithwick. “They had to muscle their way in…to the Constitution.”
“And just as easily they could be shut out as they were in the Dobbs decision,” Lithwick continues. “I think that tension, of having the law be the instrument of freedom and oppression is very visceral and real to a lot of women.”