A Tale Of Two Courts: Roe v Wade and Prorogation

After the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the attorney general in the United States and the President of United States said the decision of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade was wrong.

On 28 August 2019, the Parliament of the United Kingdom was ordered to be prorogued by Queen Elizabeth II upon the advice of the Conservative prime minister, Boris Johnson. Britain is a constitutional monarchy, meaning that the reigning monarch has little power, and ‘on the advice of’ is a particularly British way of saying the the prime minister ordered the Queen to prorogue Parliament.

A prorogation is the discontinue a session of Parliament without dissolving it. Johnson’s purpose in proroguing Parliament for an unusually extended period was to severely limit the time that the MPs in the House of Commons had to consider the Brexit Bill that was before it.

Concerned citizens raised a legal challenge and the Supreme Court ruled that the prorogation was unlawful.

Had Johnson’s Government given even the slimmest of reasons for their action, then the Supreme Court would not have looked to the adequacy of the reason. But the Government gave no reason, and that allowed the court to conclude that the reason for such a lengthy discontinuance was simply to deny Parliament time to carry out its function, and that that was unlawful.

Conservatives said the Supreme Court leaned too far to the Left, and was wrong to declare illegal the proroguing of parliament by the Conservative government.

If we start to say that one court is politicised and goes against the will of the people then where does it end?

Of course, some people would say – there are huge differences in the nature of the cases between in the USA and Britain.

Dig deeper, though, and the arguments are the same. The argument in the USA is that the Supreme Court has been packed with ultra-conservative judges with an avowed intention to come to conclusions other than the known general will of the people.

The argument in the UK is that the Supreme Court consists of members who are against the will of the people to ‘deliver Brexit’.

What is the same in both jurisdictions is that one of the foundational pillars of law is being attacked. There are routes to moving past unpopular decisions, but calling the court enemies of the will of the people is a dangerous road. It is a dangerous way to look at things because the will of the people is not a safe route to furthering the best in humanity anyway.