NRL News

No exaggeration: next Supreme Court appointment could “reshape American life”

by | Mar 1, 2016

By Dave Andrusko

Sen. Charles Grassley

Sen. Charles Grassley

If by chance you missed “The Supreme Court: What’s at Stake in this Presidential Election?,” by all means take a few minutes out and read the speech given yesterday on the Senate floor by Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Once you have, the impact that electing a pro-abortion president in 2016 would have will become real in a sense that previously you may have not have appreciated. I would like to add a few additional quotes and a few words of my own.

Sen. Grassley referenced a very, very important article written by Adam Liptak for the New York Times: “Supreme Court Appointment Could Reshape American Life.”

The headline is no exaggeration.

The immediate context is President Obama’s attempt to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia with a justice more to his liking–more like Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan–before his second term ends. But the larger context is the possibility that the next President could easily nominate three or even four justices.

Here’s Liptak’s lead:

WASHINGTON — There is a reason Republican senators are so adamant in their refusal to let President Obama appoint a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia, a towering figure in conservative jurisprudence. An Obama appointment would be the most consequential ideological shift on the court since 1991, creating a liberal majority that would almost certainly reshape American law and American life.

A few paragraphs later

Every time the party in the White House changes, there is a potential impact on the court as the new president tries to mold it when openings develop. But Mr. Obama has a relatively rare opportunity to make a third appointment at a crucial moment. “The court is now divided on many issues,” the president said on Tuesday. “This would be a deciding vote.” 

If that doesn’t send a chill up and down your spine, nothing will.

Liptak quotes a number of legal scholars:

Until Justice Scalia’s death, the four Democratic appointees were outnumbered by five Republican appointees, all of them more conservative. A fifth liberal vote could be profoundly consequential, said Vikram Amar, the dean of the University of Illinois College of Law.

“Adding another justice who has instincts and outlooks similar to those of Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor could call into question a number of contentious 5 to 4 precedents,” he said, ticking off the decisions that might be overruled.

To take just two examples in our area, the Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortions by one vote. I don’t need to remind you how grotesque these abortions are, but the four justices appointed by Obama and President Clinton had no problem opposing the ban.

As Sen. Grassley said yesterday,

If the American people elect a liberal during this presidential election, and that President nominates another liberal to replace Justice Scalia, we can all expect a constitutional right to abortion on demand, without limitation.

And then there is ObamaCare.

As NRLC has explained, “At the time Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, an array of long-established laws, including the Hyde Amendment, had created a nearly uniform policy that federal programs did not pay for abortion or subsidize health plans that included coverage of abortion, with narrow exceptions. However, key provisions of the 2010 Obamacare health law sharply departed from that longstanding policy. Among other objectionable provisions, the Obamacare law authorized massive federal tax subsidies to assist many millions of Americans to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion on demand.

Professor Amar told Liptak that with the appointment of a fifth liberal, “the judicial debate over the fundamental permissibility of Obamacare would likely draw to an end.”

Please read Sen. Grassley’s remarks and Mr. Liptak’s story.

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Categories: Supreme Court