First, a few stipulations:
(1) I’m very much in the pro-life camp. I’m opposed to abortion, and support its criminalization. People who have abortions–provided they are doing so out of choice and not compulsion–are murderers, as are any parties who perform or assist in them. The repeal of Roe v. Wade would trigger great celebration in my household.
(2) (1) is the key reason why I voted for Trump over Hillary in the 2016 election.
(The other reason: from my experience in government, I saw it imperative that we do everything possible to hold off the onslaught of the Marxist SJWs that would complete the hijacking of federal government if Hillary won. But that is a different discussion.)
With that out of the way, I am thrilled to see Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring. Originally billed as a conservative pick by Reagan, Kennedy became a total cuckold in 1992 in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case, when he joined Sandra Day O’Connor and David Souter to betray the unborn by refusing to overturn Roe.
His leftism extended to the Lawrence v. Texas case, which opened the door to the infamous Obergefell v. Hodges decision that redefined marriage.
Good riddance, Mr. Kennedy. Don’t let the door hit you in the rear-end…
This obviously creates a wonderful opportunity for President Trump to nominate a solid conservative to the Court, which currently has four hard liberals (Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer, Ginsburg) three hard conservatives (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch), and one mostly conservative Chief Justice (Roberts) who got too cute by half with ObamaCare and refused to reverse himself when he had the chance.
A hard conservative would tilt the court to the right, and this would seem to spell the doom for Roe v. Wade.
This is why the left is acting like Armageddon is near: they know that their right to murder babies is in the greatest peril since 1992.
Making matters worse for them, this is a midterm election year.
What does this mean?
(1) With the retirement of Kennedy, the Democrats–who depend on the abortionista base and the labor unions for money–now must go all-out to take back the Senate.
If they fail here, it will be a worse defeat for the Dems than the Reagan elections. This is because Trump may get not just this pick, but potentially two more Court picks, thus creating the most conservative Supreme Court in the last century.
That means the GOP will likely keep the House, as the Dems must pour their resources into Senate races, as they have several vulnerable Democrats who are up for re-election as well as a few vulnerable Republicans they hope to challenge. If the GOP holds serve, it will be a major victory.
Having said that,
(2) Trump still will face a major battle to confirm his next SCOTUS pick.
Currently, Republicans have a 51-49 edge in the Senate. Two Senators–Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK)–are pro-abortion and could easily scuttle any nominee they don’t like, and with little consequence to their re-election prospects. If they flip, Trump won’t have the votes.
Meanwhile, the two Senators from Arizona–John McCain and Jeff Flake–are very anti-Trump. McCain is on his deathbed and could easily vote down any Trump pick just to stick it to Trump. Flake, also a Trump-hater, could also vote it down out of spite.
That’s 4 potential GOP votes against a Trump pick coming out of the gate.
If Trump wants to get his pick confirmed, he will need to appeal to Red-State Democrats who are on the bubble.
That will be a very tall order.
I’m old enough to remember when President Reagan nominated Robert Bork for SCOTUS. Six Republicans voted against Bork. The biggest embarrassment came from my home state at the time–Pennsylvania–when Arlen Specter (R-PA) attacked Bork. When he abandoned Bork, five other Republicans on the bubble also followed suit. The Bork nomination died, 58-42.
From there, Reagan nominated Douglas Ginsburg. His nomination never made it to a vote, as his past marijuana use created too much controversy.
Reagan would then settle on Anthony Kennedy. And we know what happened from there.
Trump and McConnell have their work cut out for them.
My prediction: there will be no vote on a SCOTUS pick until after the election.
(3) Even if Trump gets his pick confirmed, it does not guarantee that Roe v. Wade will die.
My cynicism on this stems from two observations.
First, recalling Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
At the time, the conservative majority on the Court seemed poised to kill Roe. O’Connor unexpectedly sided with conservatives in the 1989 Webster case, hinting that she might be up for sticking the fork in Roe. And Bush had appointed two conservative Justices–Souter and Thomas–who, at the time, were living up to their billings.
A 7-2 vote to kill Roe seemed plausible, and would have been poetic, as a 7-2 vote created Roe in the first place.
But in the Casey decision, O’Connor could not get herself to vote down Roe. Souter and Kennedy would join her.
What seemed like a 7-2 death-knell for Roe turned into a 5-4 affirmation of it.
Currently, you have 3 justices who will almost certainly kill Roe: Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch. I put Roberts on the bubble only because of his misstep on Obamacare.
For Roe to fall, you need at least one woman on the Court who will vote to kill it. It will take a woman to get the other 4 conservatives on-board.
None of the current woman on the Court will do that. Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor are hardcore pro-aborts.
There is a woman on Trump’s short list: Amy Coney Barrett. A charismatic Catholic and mother of 7.
If Trump nominates Barrett, you will know he is serious about kicking Roe‘s ass.
And if she gets in, I would rate the chances of Roe going down at about 70%. She will have the chance to be Deborah and Jael, in one fell swoop.
But that’s a big IF, for the reasons stated. If he nominates Barrett, the Bork hearings will be a walk in the park in comparison. Democrats will be in full meltdown.
Second, I am not sure if the ranks of the Church are serious about killing abortion.
I say this from experience. I have been in many churches and have given presentations on various angles of the pro-life cause. I was a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center. I was a speaking director for a maternity home. I spoke in a lot of otherwise conservative churches. I’d say that the vast majority of my abortion-minded clients were otherwise professing Christians. (I only recall one who was an Atheist.)
Here’s the thing: the Church has a mother lode of family jewels under the surface. Many families that would identify as pro-life on paper, have a pregnancy-abortion scandal under their tent. They may agree with you about the reality of abortion, but they want it there for their kids “just in case”. These are the types who voted for Clinton in 1992.
Combine that with a cadre of otherwise conservative ministers who have demonized Christians who supported Trump over Hillary–yes, Thabiti Anyabwhile, I’m talking about you–and you have a critical mass of confusion among the Body. It also doesn’t help when popular evangelical authors like Beth Moore and Jen Hatmaker and Rachel Held Evans are not forceful on matters of life and, in the case of the latter two, have jumped off the cliff for every SJW cause under the sun.
(And no, I’m not saying that ministers need to tell people who to vote for; it is, however, perfectly appropriate for a minister to say that particular issues are of very significant importance, and that those who vote with those issues in mind are not selling out to the devil.)
So, to make a long story short, Kennedy’s departure is a great opportunity. But victory for pro-lifers is far from certain in this matter.