Is Roe v. Wade effectively dead once President Trump nominates a conservative new justice to replace Anthony Kennedy? Maybe not! Republicans only have 51 votes in the Senate, and Susan Collins of Maine told Jake Tapper yesterday that she won’t support anyone who would overturn Roe:
I would not support a nominee who demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade, because that would mean to me that their judicial philosophy did not include a respect for established decisions, established law.
So, um, that’s great. But what about Neil Gorsuch? You voted for him.
I had a very long discussion with Justice Gorsuch in my office, and he pointed out to me that he is a co-author of a whole book on precedent. So, someone who devotes that much time to writing a book on precedent, I think, understands how important a principle that is in our judicial system.
So Roe is doomed. We already knew that, so this is hardly a big bombshell at this point. But you still have to wonder: is Susan Collins the most gullible person on the planet? It’s one thing to have a sunny, trusting disposition, but does she seriously think that Gorsuch wouldn’t vote to overturn Roe in a heartbeat? Hell, the guy joined the majority just last week in a ruling about public union agency fees that stated in its second paragraph, “Abood was poorly reasoned….Developments since Abood was handed down have shed new light on the issue of agency fees….Abood is therefore overruled.” For the record, Abood was decided in 1977. Unless Gorsuch believes that a 45-year-old precedent is somehow more sacred than a 41-year-old precedent, I think it’s safe to say that he might find that Roe was poorly reasoned too, and developments since it was handed down have shed new light on the issue of abortion.
So I’m sticking with my prediction that Roe is dead. The only real question is how long the Supreme Court waits so the new guy can pretend that things have changed since he promised Collins with all his heart that he has tremendous respect for precedent.