A little over a week ago Chelsea Clinton addressed a “Rise Up for Roe” event whose sole purpose for existing is to block the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Why? Because Judge Kavanaugh might vote to overturn a Supreme Court case known as Roe v. Wade. Heard of it? If not, you’re not alone – a 2013 Pew Research Center study, for example, found that 57 percent of polled adults aged 18 to 29 did not even know that the 1973 case dealt with abortion.
But how does she, and the organizers of the event – Demand Justice, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL Pro-Choice America – get to that conclusion?
Is it because he was nominated by a conservative president? History shows that this doesn’t follow – think Justice David Souter and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the former nominated by George H.W. Bush and the latter by Ronald Reagan. They voted with just-retired Justice Anthony Kennedy to reaffirm Roe.
Or is it because he is a constitutional textualist in the vein of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Neil Gorsuch? This seems to be the case.
A textualist reads a document and seeks to understand the words, as they are written, in that document. Or, to put it more on point, to understand what the drafters meant when they wrote the Constitution.
But isn’t the Rise Up for Roe initiative supposed to be based on the Constitution? Demand Justice makes it clear that their goal is to protect “the rights described in our Constitution.” Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political wing of the abortion giant, believes Judge Kavanaugh will “threaten women’s constitutional rights.” And NARAL urges Senators to “stand unequivocally for our fundamental freedoms” – those “that the Constitution protects.”
So where’s the rub? Here you have a collective that on one hand is claiming to support the Constitution while on the other seeking to prevent the confirmation of someone who seeks to understand what the Constitution actually means.
By rejecting Judge Kavanaugh as a textualist, Chelsea Clinton and the Rise Up for Roe opposition are saying they fear a Justice who actually reads the constitution and takes its terms seriously. Why? Are they afraid that a person who reads the Constitution and takes its language seriously will be inclined to overturn Roe?
Is that not a full-fledged admittance that there is no right to abortion actually in the Constitution and that it had to be made out of whole cloth? Or found in the shadows, as the Supreme Court suggested it was?
Chelsea Clinton, if the right to abortion is in the Constitution, you have nothing to fear. But if it isn’t, there is good reason to fear a constitutional textualist like Judge Kavanaugh.
Thank you, Chelsea Clinton, and the Rise Up for Roe events, for showing our need for Justices that know words have meaning. Thank you for showing the need to confirm Justice Kavanaugh as the next Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Brad Kehr is Government Affairs Counsel for Americans United for Life.