By Rocco J. Piserchia
[Originally posted on 6/25/12]
Many if not most voters who oppose abortion on demand believe that they must vote for the Republican candidate for president. Their rationale is that since abortion became legal by the Rowe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 abortion can only become illegal by reversing this Supreme Court decision. By voting for the Republican presidential candidate they believe, if elected, he will appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who will eventually rule to reverse Rowe vs. Wade. However sincere this basis for voting Republican may be, we need to examine if this argument is legitimate.
First consider the Justices on the Supreme Court who ruled for abortion on demand in Rowe vs. Wade. This decision was made by a majority of 7 to 2. Of the 7 Justices who voted to make abortion legal 5 were Republican appointees and one of the dissenting votes was from a Justice appointed by President Kennedy.
Blackmun, who penned the Supreme Court’s final Majority opinion, was appointed by Republican President Richard Nixon. Also appointed by Nixon were Burger and Powell. So far, three of the seven Justices in the Majority were appointed by a Republican President. But do not forget that Brennan and Stewart were appointed by Republican President Dwight Eisenhower. This means that five of the seven Majority Justices were appointed by Republican presidents (Douglas and Marshall were appointed by Democratic Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson, respectively). What’s more, take the two Democratic-appointed judges out of the Majority, and you are still left with all-Republican majority of the Court that legalizes abortion.
Only White (appointed by Democratic President John F. Kennedy) and Renquist (appointed by Nixon) opposed the Court’s decision to legalize abortion in the United States.
So what we see historically is that Roe v. Wade faced six Republican-appointed Justices, five of whom ruled in favor of Roe.
In 1989 the Supreme Court had the opportunity to reverse Roe vs. Wade in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services. In a 5-4 ruling the Supreme Court reaffirmed the decision of Roe vs. Wade while placing some restrictions on abortion. A majority of the Court’s appointees, 7 of 9, were made by Republican Presidents who ruled on this case: Renquist, O’Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Blackmun, Brennan and Stevens. In spite of this majority of Republican appointees Roe vs. Wade still was not overturned.
It also needs to be stressed that the number of Supreme Court Justices is not fixed in the Constitution. Article II Section II clause 2 states that the President may appoint Supreme Court Justices with the “advice and consent of the Senate”. While the popular conception is that a Supreme Court Justice may only be appointed due to a vacancy by either death or resignation, the truth is that at any given time the President may appoint more Justices. While the Justices need to be approved by the Senate this still does not prevent any President from making more appointments. If President Ford, President Reagan and both President Bushes actually believed that abortion was murder, why didn’t any of them attempt to appoint more Supreme Court Justices who would rule to overturn Roe vs. Wade?
Perhaps the most relevant point is that no Supreme Court decision is needed to make abortion illegal. Congress at any given time may pass legislation which declares that human life begins at conception and outlaw abortion on demand.
Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to limit jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts… By removing all authority from the courts to rule on cases involving abortion, the Sanctity of Life Act of 2011 [H.R. 1096] would restore the authority of popularly elected officials to pass laws to limit or ban abortion without interference from unelected, activist pro-abortion judges.
Rep. Steve Stockman first introduced this Sanctity of Human Life Act in 1995. This Act was reintroduced at least four times by sponsors including Ron Paul beginning in 2005 but the political establishment and the corporate media have ignored this bill.
It’s highly relevant that the GOP controlled both the Senate and the House of Representatives when George W. Bush was elected President in 2000. In spite of their majority control of Congress in 2000 the GOP, in addition to a number of pro life Democrats, refused to seriously consider legislation to help end abortion. Abortion is used by the political establishment to manipulate voters. The facts abundantly demonstrate that the GOP hierarchy has no intention to make abortion illegal. Now 44 years years after Rowe vs. Wade, including 24 years of Republican administrations after Nixon, and abortion on demand remains the law of the land.