WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The end of Roe v. Wade begins in the Senate.
It was a Senate Republican partnership with President Donald Trump to ratify conservative judges and replace the federal judiciary that paved the way for a landmark Supreme Court decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell set the strategy in motion, engineering a Supreme Court change by blocking President Barack Obama’s 2016 nomination of then-Judge Merrick Garland and changing Senate rules to easily confirm Trump’s choice. . It was a long game that sought to be locked in a conservative court majority for decades to come. Trump and McConnell, R-Ky., could not accomplish this alone, requiring the support of nearly all Republican senators to reshape the bench.
Now, Republicans are moving toward the November midterm election, which is rapidly poised to become a referendum on the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, as voters decide which party should control Congress. With the nation polarizing, Democrats are enacting laws to protect access to abortion and while Republicans seek to impose more limits, including a nationwide ban on abortion.
“We’re going to retake the Senate in November and we’re going to hold the Senate for a long time,” predicted Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo, who celebrated the decision on a conference call with reporters Friday. celebrated.
The stakes are high with Congress taking control in the balance. With Biden’s approval rating low and economic conditions high gas prices and other signs of inflation, Republicans favor taking seats in both chambers and regaining control. Democrats have a margin of only a few votes in the House and barely hold an evenly divided 50-50 Senate as Vice President Kamala Harris casts a vote in case of a tie.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., warned that Republicans will be called to answer for their work and is planning even more drastic measures, including a nationwide ban on abortion, if they gain control of Congress.
“They cannot be allowed to do that,” Pelosi said. “Make no mistake: The rights of women and all Americans are on the ballot this November.”
The nation’s abortion war had settled into an uneasy conflict in Congress before Trump was elected. cry v. Wade and subsequent court decisions in Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirmed the constitutional right to abortion access. Legislation fizzled out from time to time, but there were rarely solid majorities in the House and Senate to uphold a settled law.
But McConnell, R-Q. set out its plans for a conservative judiciary in early 2016, even before Trump became president. Knowing the miscarriage of power and other issues held for conservative voters, he declined to consider Obama the candidate to fill the court vacancy left by the death of conservative Justice Antonin’s Scalia in February. McConnell argued that it was too close to the November election.
It was a surprising, calculated political move. McConnell dashed his decision before the Republican presidential candidate was about to take the stage for debate in the South Carolina primary, setting the tone for the GOP.
Democrats, outraged, pushed Obama’s nomination for Garland, only to have McConnell as majority leader in the Senate, refusing to take it up for consideration. Trump won the presidential election in November on a promise to fill a court vacancy with a conservative in the mold of the late Scalia.
The Trump era brought three new conservative judges – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Connie Barrett. McConnell had each ratified under the new rules, which lowered the threshold to a 51-vote majority to pursue a filibuster of opposition.
While Republican senators may have sided with Trump on many issues, nearly all Senate Republicans stuck with him for the promise that a conservative court could bring a majority—not just on abortion, which some senators compared to others. Feel more strongly, but hurriedly, of other policy and regulatory issues.
No Democrats voted for Barrett, and of the three Democrats who voted for Gorsuch, only Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia remained in office. He also voted for Kavanaugh.
Munchkin said he was “concerned” over the abortion decision, relying on Gorsuch and Kavanaugh when they testified under oath that Roe v. Wade’s legal precedent was set.
The same distrust was expressed by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska are two Republican senators who publicly support access to abortion.
“Every Republican senator knew this would happen if they voted to ratify these radical justices,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y.
Collins appeared furious on Friday, saying the decision was “wrong” and “inconsistent” with what Gorsuch and Kavanaugh told him in private meetings and in their public testimony about the importance of backing judicial precedents. .
“Throwing a precedent overnight on which the country has relied for half a century is not conservative,” Collins said in a statement. “This is a sudden and sweeping blow to the country that will lead to political chaos, anger and loss of confidence in our government.”
Murkowski and Collins have introduced legislation that Roe v. Wade protection into law, an alternative to the Democrats’ bill that has already passed the House but has been blocked in the Senate as an unfair extension of abortion rights.
Two Republican women said a legislative solution was paramount, and should be a priority, despite the prospect of the House and Senate passing a bill.
“It is up to Congress to answer,” said Murkowski, who is up for re-election in the fall.
But Republicans are moving in the opposite direction, poised to impose more sanctions if they win control of Congress in the fall.
Asked what type of abortion legislation Republicans will work to push, GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, who is in line to replace Pelosi as speaker, said: “Wherever we can go, We will continue to watch. As much as possible.”
Congress is away for a two-week holiday. Since the abortion verdict came, crowds have gathered across the street, outside the Supreme Court.
McConnell, who is not up for re-election this fall but hopes to win enough seats to become majority leader in the Senate again, appeared pleased with the result of his many long years of work.
“Millions of Americans have spent half a century praying, marching, and working toward today’s historic victory,” he said in a statement Friday. “I am proud to stand with him on my long journey and I share his joy today.”
Associated Press writers Marie Claire Jalonik and Farnoush Amiri contributed to this report.