Then and Now | Power Line


Two quotes for today:

The seven-to-two judgment in Roe v. Wade declared “violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment” a Texas criminal abortion statute that intolerably shackled a woman’s autonomy; the Texas law “except[ed] from criminality only a life-saving procedure on behalf of the [pregnant woman].” Suppose the Court had stopped there, rightly declaring unconstitutional the most extreme brand of law in the nation, and had not gone on, as the Court did in Roe, to fashion a regime blanketing the subject, a set of rules that displaced virtually every state law then in force. Would there have been the twenty-year controversy we have witnessed, reflected most recently in the Supreme Court’s splintered decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey? A less encompassing Roe, one that merely struck down the extreme Texas law and went no further on that day . .. might have served to reduce rather than to fuel controversy.

—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1992

New York Times, March 29, 2019:

Mr. Biden entered the Senate in 1973 as a 30-year-old practicing Catholic who soon concluded that the Supreme Court went “too far” on abortion rights in the Roe case. He told an interviewer the following year that a woman shouldn’t have the “sole right to say what should happen to her body.”

And yet now the Dobbs draft is a “radical” opinion.

P.S. I had forgotten that Harvard’s Lawrence Tribe wrote to President Obama in 2009 when Obama had his first Supreme Court seat to fill with the advice that Obama should not name Sonia Sotomayor to the Court:

“Bluntly put, she’s not nearly as smart as she seems to think she is, and her reputation for being something of a bully could well make her liberal impulses backfire and simply add to the fire power of the Roberts/Alito/Scalia/Thomas wing of the Court on issues like those involved in the voting rights case argued last week and the Title VII case of the New Haven firefighters argued earlier, issues on which Kennedy will probably vote with Roberts despite Souter’s influence but on which I don’t regard Kennedy as a lost cause for the decade or so that he is likely to remain on the Court.”

Just food for thought.



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