By Dave Andrusko
I find the self-deception endlessly amusing. When the Supreme Court was wandering far and wide outside the constraints of the Constitution but came up with the “correct” conclusion, not a peep out of pro-abortion reporters such as Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times. What’s a little judicial activism so long as the justices find a “right to abortion,” to take just one example.
But…that was then and this is now. Fourteen years after Greenhouse turned Times columnist, she asks a rhetorical question in a column which ran today: “Do We Have the Supreme Court We Deserve?”. Needless to say the answer is a resounding No!
When she retired from covering the Supreme Court beat, Greenhouse wrote a lengthy column and
ended it with an observation about the “vital dialogue” between the court and the country. This was my conclusion:
“The court is in Americans’ collective hands. We shape it; it reflects us. At any given time, we may not have the Supreme Court we want. We may not have the court we need. But we have, most likely, the Supreme Court we deserve.”
A friend who recently came upon that article challenged me. “Do you still think we have the Supreme Court we deserve?” she asked.
Actually, sadly, my answer now is no.
She bemoans that Republican presidents aren’t choosing her kind of justice, such as David Souter and John Paul Stevens. Instead, President Trump’s selections for the Supreme Court are Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.
“One might suppose,” Greenhouse writes, “that the supercharged conservative majority might proceed with some caution, if not humility…
Yet what we see from the court is not humility but, to put it politely, a lack of situational awareness. Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, something the court has given every indication that it will do within the next six months. Three-quarters of respondents in one recent poll said the abortion decision should be left to women and their doctors. (That was also the view of a majority of the public in a Gallup poll released in the summer of 1972, shortly before the court issued its decision in Roe.)
The Court should “follow the polls”? Not exactly, Greenhouse no doubt would say, but they should read the Constitutionthrough the lens of popular opinion.
As we have written many times, the public has no idea that Roe went as far as it did: essentially abortion on demand. When responding to laws that would protect unborn children and their mothers, the public supports our position of loving both.
For example, Texans approve of the Heartbeat Law! A poll taken by the pro-abortion Houston Chronicle “conducted Oct. 4 to Oct. 21 and released Tuesday, found that 55 percent of Texans support Senate Bill 8.”
Texas’ Heartbeat Law—S.B.8—found not only major support among women and men, Latino and white respondents, it also gathered strong support among Independents and nearly 4 in ten Democrats!
What about Mississippi’s “Gestational Age Act” which protects unborn babies after the 15th week? What does the public think about this?
According to the Los Angeles Times’ David Savage, a poll conducted by the Marquette University Law School asked respondents “if they would favor or oppose a ruling to ‘uphold a state law that (except in cases of medical emergencies or fetal abnormalities) bans abortions after the 15th week of a pregnancy,’ 37% said they favored upholding it, while 32% said they would oppose such a ruling.”
Savage added, “It is a result that pollsters have long observed if respondents are asked several questions about their views on abortion.” The Marquette University Law School poll put it this way: “This is in line with much national polling on abortion over the years, which consistently finds support for maintaining Roe and a right to an abortion but accepts including on the timing of abortions, as in this case.”
The irony? Given the choice, the public is very comfortable choosing.