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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Opinion: America’s Women and GOP Senators’ Highest Confession

Let’s face the obvious truth: Senate Republicans are deeply upset by the leak of the Supreme Court’s always-secret draft opinion. In particular it is highly controversial.

Now we all know that the court’s new conservative majority voted in secret in February to overturn the half-century-setting precedent that legalized America’s women’s rights to medically safe abortions. But they weren’t quite ready to tell you how dangerous the still-considered court ruling could be for your daughters, wives and loved ones.

If your teenage daughter is raped, her government may force her to give birth to the child of the rapist. If the health of a pregnant wife is at risk, her government may insist that she risk her life and give birth anyway.

Yet we understand the anger of Republican leaders over this inconvenient leak. After all, he worked extraordinarily hard during Donald Trump’s presidency, constitutionally crafting enough con-artificiality that his presidential candidates after taking the Oath of God would call them “the truth, the whole truth, and the truth.” Didn’t say anything other than that.” Some wavering yet surprisingly naive Republican senators apparently only heard what they wanted to hear — and the way their leaders wanted — in the affirmations of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanagh, and Amy Connie Barrett.

Maine’s Republican Sense. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska assured us that, based on their public comments and private assurances, Trump’s nominee honors the precedent of the decisive 7-2 decision in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case legalizing abortion. will do. But Collins and Murkowski never got confirmation—they were just duped.

Rewind and remember what they heard:

Justice Brett Kavanaugh desperately needed Collins’ vote to secure his lowest ever 50-48 Senate confirmation. So he wept. Wade’s decision calling nationally legalized abortion “set as an example” or “precedent on precedent”. He even said that the priority is “not a matter of policy to be abandoned immediately.”

In contrast, Justice Neil Gorsuch was willing to say what Kavanaugh would not say—he called Roe’s precedent “established law.” But if this gives you the impression that they mean that “settled law” was settled law that shouldn’t be overturned, well, like Collins and Murkowski, you’re duped. A weak-reed garnish was added for Gorsuch—that Roe was set in law “in the sense that it is a decision of the US Supreme Court.” What to say?

Audience Collins chose to ignore Gorsuch’s weasel-worded nonsuch at the time. Now she’s saying the leaked draft is “completely inconsistent” with what Kavanaugh and Gorsuch told her.

Meanwhile, Justice Amy Connie Barrett called Roe a precedent in her hearing, but declined to call it a “super precedent.” Still, before her nomination, she made it clear what she really thinks. She endorsed a newspaper ad’s announcement that it was “time to end the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade.” Yet Murkowski, who says she supports abortion rights, voted to ratify Barrett.

Fast-forward: Today, Democrats and Republicans are pressuring court candidates to find legal justification for what they think is politically correct. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-VA, summed up the sad reality of our new, post-Ginsburg era.

“I think surprising people is nothing new,” Kaine said. “But justices looking you in the face and telling you one thing and then doing something different – it’s very disturbing.”

What’s also troubling is that many senators are finding it difficult to vote their conscience in today’s carnival of the confirmation process. Conscience becomes a commodity many senators find in short supply.

Martin Schramm is a Tribune news service columnist. ©2022 Tribune Content Agency.

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