Judge Barrett's nomination: Abortion becomes a central issue in the presidential campaign

“Women could lose the rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade for 50 years,” Biden fears.

anti abortion silent protester supreme court of justice washington dc usa
Pro-life silent protester. Supreme Court,  Washington DC. ©Gustavo Kralj/GaudiumpressImages.com

 

Newsroom (October 1, 2020 13:13pm Gaudium Press) Indeed, there is no doubt: with the nomination of Judge Amy Connie Barrett to the Federal Supreme Court the issue of abortion has once again become central to a presidential debate in the U.S. The nomination will have to be ratified by the Senate.

Given the statements made by former Vice President Joe Biden the day after the judge’s nomination, the ‘culprits’ for the return of abortion to the center stage appear to be more the Democrats than the Republicans. “Women could lose the rights enshrined in Roe v. Wade for 50 years,” Biden feared. Roe v. Wade was the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decriminalized induced abortion in 1973.

Biden’s own vice presidential nominee, Senator Kamala Harris, was more explicit: “Trump’s hand-picked successor to Justice Ginsburg’s seat makes it clear: They intend to destroy the Affordable Care Act & overturn Roe. This selection would move the court further right for a generation & harm millions of Americans.”

Abortion: a topic from the beginning of the first presidential debate

The issue also jumped out at the start of the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden last Tuesday.

The moderator asked how the choice of Judge Barrett would change the “balance” on the Supreme Court. Trump, who responded first, spoke of the judge’s qualities, noting that her nomination was being supported even by very liberal people from Notre Dame University and elsewhere.

Biden, this time by way of suggestion, retorted that induced abortion is in danger with the Louisiana native’s ratification: “The point is that the president also is opposed to Roe v. Wade. That’s on the ballot as well and the court, in the court, and so that’s also at stake right now.” Trump denied the issue, telling Biden that he did not know Barrett’s opinion on Roe v. Wade.

In fact, Trump is committed, in the tradition of the Republican Party, to appointing pro-life judges, including the highest federal court. In a letter this year, Trump cited his Supreme Court nominations of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, and 200 other judges from lower courts, as evidence of his compliance with his offer. In that letter, Trump also pledged to “continue this transformation of the federal judiciary, filling the Supreme Court and lower courts with judges who will respect the Constitution and not legislate the abortion agenda from the bench.”

On his Aug 27 interview with the Fox Network, when questioned whether a Supreme Court with a 6-3 conservative majority could decide on a “life issue,” Trump said that “it’s certainly possible” and “maybe they would do it in a different way. Maybe they would give it back to the states. You just don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Diverse groups join the discussion

Groups such as the multinational abortion company Planned Parenthood and the pro-choice organization NARAL have explicitly declared war on Barrett’s ratification as a supreme judge.

In contrast, pro-life groups have praised Barrett’s nomination, praising her “originalist” conception of the Constitution, as interpreted according to its primary intent.

As polls revealed, one of the key factors that moved voters to choose Trump in 2016 was the type of judges he would nominate. In that sense, Justice Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court could show his voters that he fulfilled a campaign promise, energizing and increasing his electorate. But really, these could be mere assumptions.

What is not an assumption is that the issue of abortion will be increasingly visited as one of the most important topics when casting the vote.

With information from “With Barrett’s Confirmation Battle Looming, Abortion Becomes a Key Election Issue” by Lauretta Brown, National Catholic Register

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