Trump just named his second Supreme Court judge, Brett Kavanaugh. Let’s understand the pick and indicate it’s implications for abortion. First, from CNN:
President Donald Trump has nominated Brett Kavanaugh to join the US Supreme Court, setting the stage for a dramatic confirmation battle over a stalwart conservative who could shape the direction of the court for decades to come.If confirmed, Kavanaugh would replace a frequent swing vote on the bench, retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, who often sided with his liberal colleagues on issues such as abortion, affirmative action and LGBT rights.Kavanaugh, 53, is a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and Yale Law School graduate who previously served in both Bush administrations. He also worked on independent counsel Ken Starr’s investigation of President Bill Clinton.“What matters is not a judge’s political views, but whether they can set aside those views to do what the law and the Constitution require. I am pleased to say I have found without doubt such a person,” Trump said as he announced Kavanaugh’s nomination at the White House Monday evening.Trump called Kavanaugh “one of the finest and sharpest legal minds of our time,” saying he is “considered a judge’s judge and a true thought leader among his peers.”“Judge Kavanaugh has impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law,” Trump said.
CNN follows up a few paragraphs later with a sentence about Roe v. Wade and abortion.
He has never expressed outright opposition to the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal nationwide, and similarly has no record on gay rights and same-sex marriage, but he will face tough questions from Democrats on both issues.
Read the rest on CNN.
The Effect on Abortion
Ever since Justice Kennedy retired, there has been a frenzy that this pick might end US abortions. The frenzy is both from our pro-life side and NARAL (The National Abortion Rights Action League).
The assumption has been that with justice Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade and then abortion would be illegal all over the country. The court might overturn Roe but that doesn’t make abortion illegal: it just lets each state set its own law.
The polling data shows that neither the 100% pro-life camp nor the 100% pro-abortion camp makes a majority. Gallup says the biggest group believe it should be legal in certain circumstances but not across the board. Maybe illegal after 16 weeks or only legal in cases like rape and incest.
The USA is also a kind of an international outlier here. The Washington Post reported that out of 198 nations or semi-autonomous regions of 1 million or more, 139 require a reason for abortion. Of the 59 that allow elective abortion, most have bans of a certain time period during the abortion. Only 7 countries including China, North Korea, and the USA allow elective abortions after 20 weeks.