July 1, 2020
Once again on Monday, Chief Justice John Roberts made it clear that he can no longer be considered part of the “conservative” wing of the Supreme Court, as he joined with the liberals for the third time in two weeks on major cases. This time, it was a 5-4 ruling striking down a Louisiana law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges to some hospital within a 30-mile radius.
While the pro-abortion lobby (and probably Kermit Gosnell from his cell) celebrated this ruling as a victory for “women’s health,” it is anything but. They fight tooth and nail against any laws that hold abortion clinics to the most basic standards of safety and hygiene that any other medical clinic has to meet. This is because to them, nothing must interfere with aborting babies, even protecting the health of the mother by ensuring that if something goes wrong during this invasive surgical procedure, that she can be quickly taken to a real hospital where they know how to save lives instead of just ending them.
As the article at the link makes clear, once again, Justice Roberts engaged in his patented form of legal reasoning that begins with choosing your preferred outcome, then working backwards to find a way to justify it. In this case, he argued that since the Court overturned a similar Texas law four years ago, “the legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike. The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.”
Here are the problems with that: the Louisiana law was not as restrictive as the Texas law, yet four years ago, Roberts was on the dissenting side of the ruling against the Texas law. Also, in his dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas scolded Roberts, pointing out that stare decisis is usually applied only to historic rulings with a long record of decisions stemming from them, not a case that was just decided four years ago.
I know it’s disheartening for conservatives to stand by as a so-called “conservative” Justice (he’s earned those sarcastic quotation marks) appointed by a Republican President (George W. Bush) stabs them in the back more times than Norman Bates, and then see any point in voting for a Republican President to appoint SCOTUS Justices. But it’s actually all the more reason why we need to do so.
There is a natural tendency inside the Beltway for judges to become more and more liberal with age (the rare principled Justices such as Thomas being the blessed exceptions.) Roberts now "swings" more than Hugh Hefner, so this can no longer be considered a majority conservative Court. The only way to protect the Constitution is to reelect Trump, whose most important contribution to America might not be his work on the economy but his many conservative judicial appointments. Given four more years, he could appoint another two or more SCOTUS Justices. Then Roberts could attend all the liberal cocktail parties he wants, and invent all the half-baked excuses for violating the Constitution that he wants, and it won’t make any difference because when he votes with the liberals, they’ll still lose 6-3.
But if, Heaven forbid, Joe Biden (or actually, his handlers) are picking those SCOTUS nominees, we might as well sell the Constitution to the Charmin company.