The oligarchs’ Supreme Court

Getting turkeys to vote for Christmas ain’t cheap.

Cory Doctorow
9 min readJun 25, 2022


A flaming dumpster set in a hellscape excerpted from Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights,’ filled with bewigged judges in robes, all pointing angry fingers. Image: EFF (modified) Cory Doctorow (modified) CC BY-SA 2.0

Here’s something weird: in the wake of Roe v Wade in the 1970s, the Southern Baptist Convention repeatedly passed resolutions affirming the right to abortion and rejecting government interference in the decision to bear a child to term:

Back then, white evangelicals were deeply suspicious of people who opposed abortion. Getting too worked up about the issue was a sign of crypto-papacy, and back then, white evangelicals hated Catholics:

The weirdest thing about this is that today, white evangelicals will vote for anyone who promise to end abortion — even a philandering, foul-mouthed, unprincipled habitual liar and likely atheist. They are single-issue voters — whose single issue is something that, in living memory, they actually opposed.

They’ll vote for politicians like Scott Dejarlais, the GOP congressghoul from Tennessee who was re-elected three times. Dejarlais, an MD, impregnated one of his patients, then coerced her into getting an abortion. He also coerced his ex-wife into getting two abortions. But he reliably voted to ban abortion:

Dejarlais “received a 100% score by the National Right to Life Committee.”

If you’ve seen the polling on abortion, you know that these single-issue voters are in a tiny and generally unimportant minority. Americans overwhelmingly support the right to get an abortion. And yet, here we are. Obviously, America is a nation founded on antimajoritarian principles, whose Constitution is designed to let rural, southern gentry steer the nation, but is it really that antimajoritarian?

Not really. The GOP is a coalition of single-issue voters, and substantial numbers of the GOP base are actually pretty cool with abortion — they’re pursuing other single issues, and they’re willing to give up abortion in exchange for progress on their pet issues.



Cory Doctorow

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