And so it is done.
Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark decision ruled that the U.S. Constitution generally protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. On Friday morning, the High Court overturned that decision.
“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” wrote Justice Samuel A. Alito, author of the majority opinion. And there we have it. Finally.
As I watched, wrote, and listened to multiple reports and opinions on the Roe overturn, my mind wandered back to one of the greatest legal minds of our time, the late Chief Justice Antonin Scalia, and what he might be thinking today. While Alito was more than competent to write the majority opinion, I’m sure “Nino” would have done the honors, were he still with us, and what a brilliant job he would have done.
Either way, I decided that Justice Scalia is smiling, today. That said, I took a look back at some of Scalia’s positions on abortion — and in particular, Roe v. Wade.
When asked about abortion during an interview with Lesley Stahl on CBS’ “60 Minutes” in 2008, Scalia admitted he was a “social conservative” but said it “does not affect [his] views on cases.”
On the abortion thing, for example, if indeed I were … trying to impose my own views, I would not only be opposed to Roe v. Wade, I would be in favor of the opposite view, which the antiabortion people would like to see adopted, which is to interpret the Constitution to mean that a state must prohibit abortion.
When Stahl asked, “And you’re against that?” Scalia replied, “Of course,” adding that there is “nothing” in the Constitution to support the interpretation.
Scalia added that allowing the Supreme Court the power to interpret the country’s “standards of decency” is “genuinely anti-democratic,” noted the Baltimore Sun, at the time.
And again, there it is. When presidents and Congress get out over their respective constitutional skis, it is up to SCOTUS to right the ship; to bring it back into alignment with the Constitution of the United States.
Yet, today’s Democrat Party — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer comes to mind — threatens SCOTUS Justices from the steps of the Supreme Court, and is headed by a pro-abortion president who still refuses to comment on a left-wing crackpot’s attempt to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh at his home.
In the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey — also overturned on Friday morning — the 1992 Supreme Court decision upholding Roe v. Wade, the justices in the majority believed they could “settle once and for all” the dispute over abortion.
Untrue, obviously, given today’s announced decision. As is the case with “settled” or “codified” law, all law, one could argue, is settled — until it is not. The overturn of Roe was as much a victory, if not more so, for the U.S. Constitution, as for the rights of the state governments to make decisions on health care and abortion relative to the voters, one would hope, of their respective states.
Scalia in ’92 said, in dissent of Casey, that an abortion right was not in the Constitution and thus was not a “protected” liberty — a dissent that became a majority opinion 30 years later.
The late Chief Justice was a master of vivid writing and speaking skills. Here are a few of his best, relative comments.
His dissent in Stenberg v. Carhart, 2000:
I am optimistic enough to believe that, one day, Stenberg v. Carhart will be assigned its rightful place in the history of this Court’s jurisprudence beside Korematsu and Dred Scott. The method of killing a human child — one cannot even accurately say an entirely unborn human child — proscribed by this statute is so horrible that the most clinical description of it evokes a shudder of revulsion.
“One cannot even accurately say an entirely unborn human child.” “Shudder revulsion,” indeed.
Scalia added, in the above dissent:
It is a value judgment, dependent upon how much one respects (or believes society ought to respect) the life of a partially delivered fetus, and how much one respects (or believes society ought to respect) the freedom of the woman who gave it life to kill it.
Wrong, Nino. As “deeply devout Catholic” Joe Biden says on-demand abortion (“killing it”) is an “essential health care service.”
Scalia’s speech at the University of Richmond in 2010:
“But some of the liberties the Supreme Court has found to be protected by that word— liberty — nobody thought constituted a liberty when the 14th Amendment was adopted. Abortion? It was criminal in all the states.”
Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Nancy Pelosi, and all other revisionists of American history — solely for their own politically expedient reasons — were unavailable for comment.
Finally, here’s how Scalia best summed up Roe v. Wade:
Roe’s mandate for abortion on demand destroyed the compromises of the past, rendered compromise impossible for the future, and required the entire issue to be resolved uniformly, at the national level.
At the same time, Roe created a vast new class of abortion consumers and abortion proponents by eliminating the moral opprobrium that had attached to the act.
Amen. And again, 30 years later, Scalia nods his head and smiles.
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