Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Democrats focus on abortion in court fight, sensing Republican jitters

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
| 11 July, 2018, 08:08

A more conservative justice could move the court to the right, potentially for decades, and could potentially vote with the majority to overturn Roe v. Wade.

That was a reference to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said during her 1993 hearing that it would be "wrong for me to say or preview in this legislative chamber how I would cast my vote".

Many analysts also agree that even with the Supreme Court's likely philosophical shift, Roe v. Wade might not actually be overturned at all. We are calling for a "personal liberty standard", that the Senate must only confirm a justice who affirmatively declares that they believe the Constitution protects individual liberty and the right of all people to make personal decisions about their bodies and their personal relationships, including the right to use contraception, the right to have an abortion, and the freedom to marry who you choose. In fact many states have already put into place a number of laws restricting abortion, which could make it to the Supreme Court in the future. One of these will have to get to the Supreme Court to enable a majority to overturn Roe.

ACLU national political director Faiz Shakir says the ads are meant as a "gentle plea" for Murkowski and Collins to follow their records and stand against any undermining of Roe v. Wade.

But those with absolutist views are in the minority: Just 25 percent said abortion should be legal in all cases and 16 percent said it should be illegal in all cases.


The appointment is seen as crucial because Kennedy was often a swing vote who would sometimes side with the court's four conservative justices and at other times with its liberals.

Without Roe, he said, the people of every state could decide how tolerant or not they want to be when it comes to abortion. As long as these judicial nominees' skepticism about Roe v. Wade was not too overt, they were unlikely to encounter much opposition from the GOP's pro-choice wing - or even from pro-choice Democrats. Abortion has been legal in NY since 1970, but advocates for the Reproductive Health Act say the law is limited and outdated and needs to be modernized.

Sen. Harriette Chandler, president of the Massachusetts Senate.

This Court-centered strategy suited the goals of conservative Republicans in the Reagan administration a lot more than a constitutional amendment did. Trump himself promised in 2016 that his Supreme Court picks would be pro-life. Susan Collins, joining another group, Demand Justice, that wants her to oppose any Supreme Court nominee who declines to express support for legal abortions.

After an initial burst of enthusiasm about the court opening, Republican politicians have characterized any questions about Roe's fate as scaremongering by Democrats. Democrats need to maintain their votes, plus one Republican to vote against the nominee to halt confirmation. Why do you think he picked Neil Gorsuch?

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