Roe Is Not On The Ballot. Inflation Is.

Roe Is Not On The Ballot. Inflation Is.


Leonard Zwelling

As much as I regret the Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, I have no illusions about its effect on the outcome of the midterm elections in November. I believe that it will be negligible despite what President Biden asserts.

First, let’s review how we got here.

The precepts of Roe v. Wade should never have been ensconced in legal precedent by the Supreme Court. This was always a job for the legislative branch of government whether state or federal. In 2009, when the Democrats held 60 Senate seats, they should have passed legislation guaranteeing the right to an abortion in the United States. One can argue whether the limits of this should be 15- or 20-weeks gestation, but either would have been better than depending upon the Roe decision to guarantee this important right which is what the pro-Choice forces have done for forty-nine years. Instead, the Democrats fussed around for over a year on the ACA and nothing else got done—then or ever in that Congress.

Second, the John Roberts position on the latest case before the Court involving the constitutionality of the Mississippi law that limits abortion to the 15-week mark could have been found constitutional without overturning Roe. In fact, that part of the decision was 6-3. The Roe overturn was 5-4 with Roberts voting with the liberals. Roberts is now outflanked on his right by the three Trump appointees plus Thomas and Alito. This is the most reactionary Supreme Court in recent memory and don’t be surprised if the right to gay marriage and contraception will also be reviewed by the justices.

Despite all of this, no one’s mind has been changed. The majority of Americans want Roe preserved, but the justices do not have to be popular or even political. As long as the Congress will not do its job and actually legislate these matters, the Court will have the last word. Instead of the people’s representatives making law, nine presidential selectees, some of whom lied to the Senate during their confirmation hearings (Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Barrett), will have the last word. This is not democracy and it was not the intention of the Founders to have the Court legislate.

Finally, since no one’s mind has been changed by the latest Supreme Court decision, it is also unlikely that abortion rights will be at the forefront of decision making during the midterm elections. If inflation was at 2% and the economy was expanding with low interest rates and low unemployment, perhaps abortion would be the main issue. But none of that is the case. Inflation is over 8.5% and gas is over $5 a gallon. Biden may want to run on Roe, but the country is running on empty.

I think the current Supreme Court is a group of four yahoos, three libs, one reasonable Republican (Gorsuch) and one guy trying like heck to keep it together and failing in every way. Despite that make-up, the Court has never been more powerful because the Congress seems to be in a permanent stalemate.

If, as is predicted, the Republicans take the House and the Senate, but the latter by less than 60 seats, I suspect we have seen the end of the Biden agenda, much as we saw the Obama agenda vanish with the Republican take-over of Congress. This only empowers the Supreme Court and the state legislatures more and both groups are particularly reactionary right now.

If the Democrats don’t like the current situation, they need to run better candidates with new ideas. That’s not AOC and The Squad. Who it is is unknown to me, but Biden needs to declare it is not he who will the standard bearer for the Dems in 2024 and he needs to do it soon.

The country needs some fresh blood with new ideas. I see these on the right. I do not see them on the left or in the center.

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