5 thoughts on “The Van Maren Show Episode 142: Will Roe v. Wade be overturned next year?

    • Navi says:

      President Biden is a man that repeatedly sold out his pro-life values to get more and more political power. Perhaps most notable was orchestrating a successful smear campaign against an anti-Roe Supreme Court nominee, which he credits for saving abortion on demand. Roe v. Wade being overturned while he’s at the height of his power and completely unable to do anything about it would be delicious. It would be even better if Ted Kennedy was still around to see it, but sadly that wasn’t meant to be.

  1. Navi says:

    Very interesting discussion. While it’s an article of faith among Democratic pundits (and some Republicans, no doubt), I think the “sleeping giant” theory of Roe v. Wade is wrong. A national backlash sweeping Democrats into power would be disastrous (they would nuke the filibuster, codify abortion until birth into federal law, pack the Supreme Court, and take other actions to increase their political power such as DC statehood), and we can’t decisively rule it out until after the election, but it’s a lot less likely than the conventional wisdom suggests. After the Texas ban went into effect, many of the so-called experts said the GOP had finally “caught the car” and that it would reset the race for control of congress in 2022. But in fact, the Texas law had zero effect on Joe Biden’s approval rating or on the generic congressional ballot poll. Biden’s approval continued to decline, and Republicans are now ahead in the generic ballot (they were behind in August). Everyone went about their lives after the dust cleared. The Dave Chappelle saga was a bigger deal and lasted longer than the outrage over the Texas law. Which, it must be pointed out, banned 90% of abortions in the second-biggest state.

    https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?geo=US&q=dave%20chappelle,texas%20abortion%20law

    The real data (election returns) tell a similar story. Democratic pundits Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent called the Virginia gubernatorial election the “first big test of the new politics of abortion”:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/09/02/get-ready-our-first-big-test-new-politics-abortion/

    Indeed, Virginia is a battleground state that’s become increasingly tricky for Republicans over the course of the Obama-Trump era. This resulted in abortion extremists winning total control of the state government and rolling back pro-life policies. Terry McAuliffe heavily campaigned on abortion, even campaigning inside an abortion clinic. But all his fearmongering, combined with two months of media hysteria, fell completely flat. Pro-life Republicans won the elections for governor, lt. governor, attorney general, and control of the house. Meanwhile, in Texas itself, Republicans picked up a house seat in a district that went heavily for Joe Biden. These results shouldn’t be a surprise. Some previous “sleeping giant” moments:

    – George W. Bush signed the Partial-birth Abortion Ban into federal law, the first such federal abortion bill without a health exception, in 2004. Abortion advocates were outraged, staging the March for Women’s Lives in Washington DC. Hollywood speakers and high profile Democrats like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton flocked in. Abortion advocates argued he was only one justice away from overturning Roe but Bush was re-elected later that year, going on to appoint two Supreme Court justices.

    – In 2013 Texas tried to pass a law banning late-term abortions and making earlier ones rarer and safer for the woman. Wendy Davis staged an 11 hour filibuster, complete with her bright pink runners, and abortion advocates held a massive protest in the legislature. She successfully delayed passage of the bill until a second special session. She then ran for governor, with the national media declaring her as the Great White Hope for turning Texas blue and this generation’s equivalent of Governor Ann Richards. Davis went on to lose so badly that the liberal Texas Monthly magazine named her Bum Steer of the Year.

    http://www.texasmonthly.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/texas_monthly_bum_Steer_wendy_davis_texas_democrats_0.jpg

    – In early 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia suddenly passed away. Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, insisted on leaving the seat vacant until after the election. Several other justices were very elderly at the time, and Hillary Clinton (much like her crony McAuliffe) campaigned heavily on the prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned. Her opponent promised that the justices he appointed would “automatically” overturn Roe. After a very long campaign, Donald Trump won the election and Republicans held both chambers of Congress. As Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards said after the election, Roe v. Wade was on the ballot – and Roe v. Wade lost.

    – In 2020 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a cultural icon for liberal feminists and abortion advocates, passed away less than two months before the election. Early polls showed a solid majority of Americans against replacing her. But Mitch McConnell and his caucus believed they had a great nominee that Americans would support once they got to know her, and that it was the right thing for the country anyway. So they worked to confirm Amy Coney Barrett (who is openly pro-life). Polls showed McConnell was right, with support for confirmation growing to a majority as she became better known. By the time the final presidential debate rolled around, the Supreme Court and abortion were not even an issue. Although President Trump was defeated, Democrats lost seats in the House and could only get to 50-50 in the Senate (handing the balance of power to the pro-life moderate Joe Manchin). Appointing the would-be fifth justice didn’t hurt Republicans at all.

    It’s very much possible that Roe v. Wade will have blown over long before the election next November, or that the backlash will end up helping Republicans. Democrats will inevitably try (a second time) to codify abortion up to birth into federal law, which would go against public opinion and make for good attack ads. The prospect of street violence raised by Eric is an interesting one as well, though hopefully it will not come to be. If it does happen though, looting and rioting is a very bad issue for Democrats even when it’s supposedly for a popular cause (protesting the murder of George Floyd).

    There’s another path the Supreme Court could take, which would be upholding the Mississippi law without affirming or overruling the “central holding” in Roe and Casey. This would allow the courts to consider subsequent abortion restrictions (such as heartbeat laws) without having to overrule Dobbs. Some discussion about the likelihood and ramifications of this possibility would be interesting.

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