Abortion and the Supreme Court

Abortion and the Supreme Court

Okay, boys and girls.  It’s time for a lesson in civics.

The fate of legalized abortion rests with you – the voters.  Yeah, that might sound kind of corny but it’s true.

Let’s talk about whether or not abortion will remain legal in this country.  It drives me nuts when I hear someone say that Roe v Wade is “settled law.”  That’s total bull crap.  No, it’s double bull crap.

That issue of whether or not abortion will remain legal in this country ultimately rests with the U.S. Supreme Court.  Sure, the Congress could theoretically pass a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v Wade, but they tried that in the early 1980’s and got crushed.  They ain’t gonna try it again for a very, very long time.

So, the anti-abortion crowd has to look to the Supreme Court for assistance.  At this point, there are 6 members of the Court (out of 9) that appear to support legal abortion.  That includes Justices Sotomayer and Kagan, who have not voted on the issue publicly but who we assume are pro-choice.  I say it “appears” that we have six votes because most people count Justice Anthony Kennedy as pro-choice.  The problem is he is a wild card and has supported abortion restrictions.  Then there are three solid votes against legal abortion.  So far, so good.  The home team is up 6-3.

But let’s say that Kennedy suddenly starts having reservations about legal abortion for some reason.  If he switched, that brings the score to 5-4 in favor of Roe v Wade.  Then, jump to the year 2012 and suppose that President Obama is defeated for re–election, which is a distinct possibility at this point.  So, all of a sudden we have a President Palin or Gingrich (hand me the barf bag, please) to deal with come January, 2013.  Then, let’s say that one of our solid votes dies or resigns from the Court.  Justice Ginsburg, who is old and ill, comes to mind.  That means that the new right wing President suddenly has an opportunity to appoint a conservative judge who would be in favor of reversing Roe.  That makes if 5-4 for the bad guys.

Now, please don’t tell me that the Supreme Court relies very heavily on “precedent.”   That’s garbage.  The Supreme Court, as we saw in the Gore-Bush election case, is now a very partisan institution.  These are not sage, respected jurists who sit back with an open mind, then research the issue and hand down their opinion.  No, they already know how they feel about the basic issues and when a case comes before them they just pretend to listen to the oral arguments, then they go back to their chambers, tell their clerks what their decision is and instruct them to figure out the reasoning.

So, the bottom line is whether or not we have a pro-choice President or not.

And that’s entirely up to you.

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