Every time there is a Supreme Court vacancy under a Republican president, the Left panics, at least since 1973, when Roe v. Wade was erroneously decided, inventing a supposed right to abortion that is nowhere in the Constitution. With the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the pattern continues. We all know that this panic stems from the fact that the Left, when they control the courts, uses their power to push their progressive agenda on society when they can’t win at the ballot box, so they are afraid that our side will also use the courts to push our conservative agenda in just as underhanded a way as they do. There is one critical difference, however. Conservatives do not make things up. We adhere to the Constitution so any societal change that comes from a conservative SCOTUS is actually bringing society back in line with the Constitution, not some made up progressive vision of what society ought to be.

The disingenuous tactic most often used by the Left is the concept of stare decisis, which is Latin for “to stand by that which is decided.” Practically speaking, the Left considers it to mean “Thou shalt not overturn Roe v. Wade.” And in all the sound and fury about stare decisis, they often point out that this constitutional abomination is some kind of “super precedent” that absolutely must be upheld because it has been on the books for over 45 years. You can bet that their argument that Obergefell v. Hodges (the gay “marriage” decision) can’t be overturned will be because it was just decided and SCOTUS can’t overrule itself that quickly. Convenient that two completely opposing arguments can be made for the same rule, “SCOTUS shall not overturn any decision that we like.” It’s the same tactic they use about global warming climate change, but I digress.

It turns out that Obergefell itself overturned Baker v. Nelson, which was decided in 1972, a year before Roe, so it should have been at least as strong a precedent as Roe. And Brown v. Board of Education (1954) overturned Plessy v. Ferguson, which was decided 58 years previously (1896). Just for fun, let’s take a look at Trump v. Hawaii, the “travel ban” case that was just decided this term. Aside from making liberal heads explode by ruling in favor of President Trump, the decision also overturned Korematsu v. United States (1944), the Japanese internment decision from 74 years previously. Presumably the Left agrees with everyone else that Korematsu should have been overturned.

Actually, the controlling precedent on abortion is Planned Parenthood v. Casey, from 1992. As I’ve written before, this decision should be overturned if for no other reason than to strike the execrable “Sweet Mystery of Life” passage from the American legal lexicon (don’t let the door hit you on your way out, Justice Kennedy). But is 27 years enough time to make Casey a supposed “super precedent”?

Here’s what it comes down to: The Left can use “emanations” and “penumbras” to make up constitutional rights out of whole cloth and then hide behind stare decisis, effectively claiming a ratchet effect towards their progressive vision for our country. We on the right can use the actual text of the Constitution to bring things back to where they should be. With President Trump replacing Anthony Kennedy with Brett Kavanaugh, we have an opportunity to make that happen. I’m not wishing ill on any other member of the Court, but there is a chance we will be in even better position to do so in the coming years. Let’s hope that President Trump will continue to nominate strong conservatives and that the Justices have the courage to make it happen.

“I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law….Roe v. Wade is a constitutional right that is well established.”

Thus spake Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), according to a CNN report.

But which Roe v. Wade decision does Sen. Collins stand by? There’s the imaginary Roe, which dictates that unregulated abortion be available throughout pregnancy. Then there’s the actual Roe, which permits states to leave abortion unregulated but also permits many laws protecting the lives and safety of mother and preborn child.

Where does Sen. Collins stand on First Amendment protections for peaceful pro-life witnesses outside abortion facilities? After all, McCullen v. Coakley is “established decision, established law.” Or does she consider peaceful pro-life witness to be an attack on abortion rights?

How about restrictions on public funding of abortion and abortion counseling? The Supreme Court OK’d such restrictions decades ago. Abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU Reproductive Rights Project use terms like “gag rule” to describe efforts to keep abortion providers out of taxpayers’ wallets. In the Senator’s view, do restrictions on public funding amount to “hostility” to Roe v. Wade?

Parental notification for minors’ abortions, reflection periods before abortion, informed consent laws, restrictions on mid- and late-term abortion, protections for children who survive attempted abortion: certain forms of these laws have been found consistent with Roe. Then again, PP and ACLU consider such measures attacks on abortion rights.

The pro-Roe Senator Collins could vote with a clear conscience for a jurist who supports the abortion regulations that have been approved by the Supreme Court since Roe. Such a nominee would not be hostile to the actual Roe decision, even if that nominee displeased PP and the ACLU.

Maybe one day there will be less deference to a precedent that’s inconsistent with human dignity. For now, though, we’re left with wondering what Senator Collins means by “hostility.”

Ellen writes about the life issues at Leaven for the Loaf. 

Now’s the time to celebrate the First Amendment and support independent journalism by hitting DaTipJar. Thank you!

News comes of the passing of Norma McCorvey. She’ll go down in American history as “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade fame, the plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case that has cost more than fifty million lives so far.

Her decision to become pro-life, that profound change of mind and heart, might not make it into the history books, even as a footnote. I won’t forget it, though. Neither should you.

Last year, during the first Pro-Life Women’s Conference in Dallas, I went to Mass at downtown’s beautiful Chapel of St. Jude. The priest saying Mass knew McCorvey from the days when she sought instruction in the Catholic faith. He spoke of her with fond respect, but he spoke only briefly: “Leave her alone. She’s been too much used.”

Those words struck me. Had McCorvey been at that Mass, I would have wanted to run up and thank her for witnessing for life in defiance of the Court case bearing her pseudonym. The priest’s remark made me consider that Norma McCorvey probably didn’t need fans as much as she needed friends. I hope she had those friendships, refuges in a world of microphones and cameras and attorneys.

Attorneys who wanted to loosen abortion laws used her in the early 1970s. The attorneys succeeded, probably beyond their wildest dreams. They didn’t have much use for McCorvey after that.

McCorvey never had the abortion that her case was about. It takes awhile for court cases to make it to the Supreme Court, and by the time January 1973 rolled around, McCorvey had given birth and placed her child for adoption.

In 1989, the Pittsburgh Press included some quotations from McCorvey in its coverage of yet another pending Supreme Court decision on abortion. “Asked what she would do when she met [her adopted] child, Ms. McCorvey replied, ‘I would just say, “Hello, I’m your mama,” and give a hug.'”

Remember her kindly, and pray for the repose of her soul. I don’t think she had much repose in this life. She did have a kind of courage, though, that gave her the energy to speak out long after she could have been forgiven for seeking seclusion.

Perhaps the best way to memorialize her is not with a monument or a plaque on some wall, but with action. She recommended something specific.

“…it doesn’t make any difference what religion you are, or how young you are or how old you are, I think if they get up and go to these abortion mills, and stand there – and they don’t have to do anything, they can just stand there and pray, I think that would make a lot of difference. We have to be seen in numbers.”

Ellen writes about New Hampshire politics and the life issues at Leaven for the Loaf. You can keep independent journalists like her on the job by hitting up Da Tip Jar. Many thanks!