Sunday, July 17, 2005

Attila the Justice: How overturning Roe could help Democrats

Guest poster Morbo at The Carpetbagger Report argues that Bush will nominate Attila the Hun (or, more likely, some right-winger who resembles Attila the Hun -- ideologically and attitudinally, if not physically) but suggests that this might actually be a good thing. And it has to do with Roe.


Morbo: "[A] Bushified Supreme Court that starts trashing precedent in the area of reproductive choice might possibly provide the shock our political system needs to make people realize how scary the Republican Party's agenda really is... For too long, some moderates have felt they could vote for the GOP for fiscal reasons, even if they disagreed with that party's rigid stance on social issues... Perhaps when the Supreme Court can no longer be counted on to take a moderate course, [these moderates] will wake up, start living in the real world and confront the question they have so far evaded: What matters more to me -- my fundamental rights as a human being or a tax cut?" (Read the whole post. It's an interesting argument.)

In other words: In loss, Democrats will triumph. Well, maybe. I'm moderately pro-choice myself, and Morbo makes a good case that too much success will ultimately spell the Republicans' demise, but a) I still think Bush will nominate Gonzales; b) I don't think that Roe will ever be fully overturned -- there's no guarantee that a conservative like Luttig or McConnell would actually vote to overturn Roe (even if he or she would likely allow for further restrictions on abortion); and c) I've made the case -- to friends, if not yet at The Reaction -- that Republican over-reach on abortion, including a possible overturning of Roe by a more conservative Court, could blow the Republican "majority" to smithereens, but I'm awfully reluctant to take that risk for the sake of possible triumph down the road (after all, Morbo and I could be wrong).

Either way, it could be that Democrats/liberals will win... on abortion (if winning means maintaining Roe). And abortion is, to many, the key issue here -- for social conservatives and for many on the left. The problem is that an excessively conservative replacement for the moderate-pragmatic O'Connor would shift the Court's balance further to the right on many other issues. Abortion isn't the be all and end all of American jurisprudence, after all, and a more conservative Court -- a Court that embraces right-wing radicalism -- could end up wreaking havoc on American liberalism well beyond the single issue of reproductive choice.

And that's a bad thing.

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