One after another, they used some form of the term “settled law.” Roe v. Wade had been “settled” nearly 50 years ago.
Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barrett enunciated. Even Samuel Alito chimed in earlier.
During her Senate confirmation hearings, conservative Barrett openly said one’s own views aren’t part of the equation in the ruling, insisting: “It’s not the law of Amy. It’s the law of the American people.”
Perhaps perjury should be in order, when Supreme Court nominees tell the country that a law is “settled” then do a 180-degree turn as soon as they have a chance to overturn it. And if they didn’t legally lie, the nominees were at least disingenuous.
Or maybe it’s us. Perhaps, we simply understood that “settled” means done deal, especially when 70 percent of the American people believe abortion’s legality. But “settled” is like saying “pleading the 5th.”
Senate confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court surely will never be the same.
All you have to do is bluff, play the system to the max. Now, look where we are.
Donald Trump and his wingman Mitch McConnell also deserve a medal in this imbroglio. First, McConnell, as Senate majority leader, refused to even hold hearings in 2016 on Merrick Garland, a Barack Obama nominee for the court to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia. McConnell cited it was an election year in which the Senate was a different party than the president’s (Obama), so the American people must decide.
Yes, McConnell was making it up as he went along.
Trump won the 2016 election, and Gorsuch was subsequently nominated by the new president and Garland was history. Trump added Kavanaugh (replacing Anthony Kennedy) and Barrett (replacing liberal stalwart Ruth Bader Ginsburg) … the latter in an election year. That’s why even conservative Republicans tolerated Trump’s boorish and outlandish behavior for four years — because of his hand in the federal judiciary.
OK, yeah, let McConnell or Alito determine a woman’s right to choose. Is there a new American motto: “In nothing we trust”? as the high court is viewed with skepticism.
Can you trust justice nominees during the confirmation hearings? Can you trust McConnell during the nomination process, when he said anything and used any kind of logic to block Garland from Senate hearings? Can you trust any institution from leaks?
For instance, the White House steadfastly denied a New York Times report that the United States was leaking intelligence to help Ukraine target Russian generals and sink the Russian ship Moskva in the Black Sea. Just as the abortion news issue was conveyed through a leak reported by Politico.
As Robert Cottrol, law professor at George Washington University, said: “We have a class of people in this country — smart, educated — in which the rules don’t seem to apply to them. What would have happened, for instance, in 1944, if this new crew had leaked to the Germans that the Allies were invading Normandy.”
(Remember, the Allies merely deluded the Nazis into thinking the invasion was set for Calais, the shortest route across the English Channel for D-Day, instead of the longer distance that was Normandy.)
On May 13, Justice Clarence Thomas, speaking before conservative groups in Dallas, angrily expressed his displeasure regarding the leak to Politico, saying he has to “look over his shoulder” and this “kind of infidelity” weakens trust and raises suspicion.
Speaking of “infidelity” and that “shoulder,” what about Ginni? As in Thomas’ wife’s involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection and her role in the “Stop the Steal” movement.
Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion (7-2) in Roe v. Wade with five conservatives joining two liberals, will be forever known for one word: abortion. It’s in the first sentence of his obituary in 1999 (he served on the court from 1970 to 1994). And as The New York Times stated, even in retirement, “Justice Blackmun regarded Roe v. Wade with pride and a fierce attachment.” In 1986 before a group of law students, he said, “If it goes down the drain, I’d still like to regard Roe v. Wade as a landmark in the progress of the emancipation of women.”
As Minnesota Democratic senator Amy Klobuchar explained on ABC’s “This Week,” “This is just wrong, and that is part of why Justice Blackmun, who is a Republican-appointed justice, no less, made that thoughtful decision, looked at the Constitution and said, the right to privacy includes the right for women to make a choice like this.”
Blackmun was nominated by President Richard Nixon in 1970.
Now, look what’s happened.