Patterico's Pontifications


David Savage Reprises His Role As Drama Queen

Filed under: Abortion,Dog Trainer,General,Judiciary — Patterico @ 8:57 am

David Savage, in his familiar role as drama queen, drags out the old “THEY’LL OVERTURN ROE!!!” bogeyman in this morning’s L.A. Times:

McCain promised that, if elected, he would follow President Bush’s model in choosing Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

That could establish a large conservative majority on the court for years. With conservatives in full control, the court would probably overturn Roe vs. Wade and the national right to have an abortion. The justices also could give religion a greater role in government and the schools, and block the move toward same-sex marriage.

If elected, Obama would be hard-pressed to create a truly liberal court. But by replacing the aging liberal justices with liberals, he could preserve abortion rights and maintain a strict separation of church and state.

This could easily have been written by a pro-abortion group rather than a “journalist” covering the Supreme Court.

Savage has no basis to predict so confidently that adding another Roberts and Alito “would probably overturn Roe v. Wade.” There are, as we speak, two clear votes for overturning Roe. And Roberts and Alito aren’t either of them.

In the most recent major abortion decision, Gonzales v. Carhart, Justice Thomas wrote a concurrence that stated his opposition to Roe:

I write separately to reiterate my view that the Court’s abortion jurisprudence, including Casey and Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), has no basis in the Constitution.

He was joined by only one Justice: Antonin Scalia. To the disappointment of Roe opponents, Justices Alito and Roberts pointedly refused to sign on to that concurrence.

I’ll give Savage this: Alito and Roberts are clearly not fans of expansive abortion rights. If the Justices are asked to rule on the legaility of new restrictions on abortion — restrictions that have not been ruled upon in previous cases — Alito and Roberts are not likely to be overly eager to strike those restrictions down.

But they have proved themselves to be very respectful of precedent — in ways that have frustrated conservatives on many occasions.

So where does David Savage get the idea that two more Justices like Alito or Roberts “would probably overturn Roe v. Wade”? That makes for a great rallying cry — it would look great, for example, in a NARAL mailer — but it’s not journalism.

It’s also nothing new.

P.S. I love this:

Since Warren’s retirement in 1969, conservatives have been ascendant in the high court, thanks to Republican domination of the White House. For the last three decades, Republican appointees have held at least seven of the Supreme Court’s nine seats.

Since when does “Republican” equal “conservative”? I’ll note that “[s]ince Warren’s retirement in 1969” we have had: Roe v. Wade; the affirmance of Roe in Casey; the death penalty ruled unconstitutional for a period of years; the abolition of the death penalty for juveniles and the mentally retarded, using a patently bogus form of analysis; the Lawrence v. Texas decision; and many others.

How did the Court issue so many non-conservative decisions with so many Republicans? Maybe they’re following the Obama prescription for deciding the big cases: follow your heart. More on that in a separate post.

UPDATE: Thanks to aphrael for pointing out a typo (really more like a disconnnect between the brain and the typing fingers). No, there is no Justice Casey, and yes, I meant Justice Roberts.

18 Responses to “David Savage Reprises His Role As Drama Queen”

  1. Nitpicky correction:
    To the disappointment of Roe opponents, Justices Alito and Casey pointedly refused to sign on to that concurrence.

    There is no Justice Casey. I believe you meant Justices Alito and Roberts.

    aphrael (db0b5a)

  2. but there is no joy in mudville
    justice casey has struck out.

    assistant devil's advocate (486023)

  3. Heh.

    Fixed, thanks.

    Patterico (4bda0b)

  4. Chief Justice Renquist HATED Roe v Wade, but he voted with the majority to strike down a law passed by congress to ban abortion…

    That whole “he went by the constitution and prescident” thing really throws them who have history re-writen each morning…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  5. The lefties consistently forget (if they ever knew anything about it in the first place) the abortion was LEGAL in California before Rove v Wade. What that decision did was nationalize the issue in the worst possible way. I did abortions in 1969, years before Rove v Wade. Did I like it ? No, but it was legal and these women had the right to be treated according to the law. Eventually, the OB residents (and surgeons like me rotating through GYN) at County hated doing abortions so the county hired some people who didn’t mind and they did the abortions after that. It was LEGAL !

    Mike K (f89cb3)

  6. I’m guessing Savage is so stupid he doesn’t know that Warren was a Republican — as were many of the other “liberal” justices who gave us “Roe”.

    PrestoPundit (ff5e16)

  7. With conservatives in full control, the court would probably overturn Roe vs. Wade and the national right to have an abortion.

    At the very least he tempered the usual wail with “national”. Maybe it’s picking nits, but I can’t stand it when the argument starts out with the canard, “but it’ll outlaw ALL abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned!”
    No, it drops the matter back to the states…where it belongs.

    X_LA_Native (5938d1)

  8. “No, it drops the matter back to the states…where it belongs.”

    Congress will be able to pass abortion laws too.

    stef (513533)

  9. Judges take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, not to preserve, protect and defend precedent.

    Troopship Berlin (56a0a8)

  10. Congress will be able to pass abortion laws too.

    No, if it is deemed a State’s Right to decide, then Congress can take a flying leap.

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  11. “No, if it is deemed a State’s Right to decide, then Congress can take a flying leap.”

    Overturning Roe v. Wade doesn’t make it a state’s right. It just removes the national right to abortion. Removing the national right means both states AND congress can pass laws in this area. Congress can both prohibit as well as protect abortions post Roe.

    stef (f9a0f5)

  12. To a certain extent, this is to the advantage of judicial conservatives.

    My side keeps crying wolf, to the point where I no longer take it seriously. When the wolf actually shows up, nobody will believe it.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  13. aphrael – Well said. And applicable to many other topics.

    JD (5f0e11)

  14. “For the last three decades, Republican appointees have held at least seven of the Supreme Court’s nine seats.”

    Like Blackmun, the author of Roe – a Nixon appointee.

    For people who are mental 8 year-olds like David Savage, Nixon was a Republican.

    Glen Wishard (02562c)


    krazy kagu (eb0daf)

  16. You’re spinning this more than a White House flack wearing fishnet stockings.
    You know exactly why Alito and Roberts, in upholdingthis ban on a particular aspect of abortion, declined to join Scalia and Thomas in a sweeping concurrence that went well beyond the matter at hand. They went against previous and recent Supreme Court opinion just the same. But of course you want more.
    Never mind that the same issue had come before the court seven or so years earlier with an entirely different outcome. So much for staring decisively at challenges to prior rulings.
    You’re spinning this, and smearing David Savage, because you’re working the refs for the next time, the next chance, to increase the value of your shares in a company that manufactures coat hangers. (Ha-ha. Of course I know you really are following the policy of the Church. That’s fine. Go with your religion, there are many, but don’t EFFing EFF with the truth behind the politics of it all.)
    You know damned well that Roberts and Alito will come through if and when they can knock down Roe v. Wade in its entirety. They know what they’re doing. They didn’t want to raise any more hackles than necessary in Gonzales v. Carhart, especially so soon after their careful and calculated testimony in the Senate aimed at masking what everyone already knew. You know it was a ritualized dance.
    They’re waiting until Roe v. Wade can be done with, and no more questions. You know that’s the game.
    And you’re trying to help give them cover by saying no one can know how they’re going to go on the big issue.
    You, sir, are the drama queen, replete with short, tight skirt and makeup caked on with a trowel (see McCain misogyny dictionary).
    You can BS your little gaggle of munchkins here, but you can’t put together an argument on this that might withstand serious scrutiny.

    Larry Reilly (d11f9a)

  17. Larry Reilly, your comments are often offensively stupid or stupidly offensive. This last one is both and among the most ludicrous.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  18. That’s one inarticulate munchkin to the defense.

    Larry Reilly (d11f9a)

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