Roe v. Wade Abortion Case Not a "Super-Duper" Precedent Panel Says

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 22, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Roe v. Wade Abortion Case Not a "Super-Duper" Precedent Panel Says Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 22, 2005

Washington, DC ( — As another round of debates take place on a second nominee for the Supreme Court, abortion advocates are again demanding that a nominee respect the precedent established in 1973 in the Roe v. Wade case. But a legal panel says that case doesn’t deserve they kind of support they’re asking.

During the hearings on Chief Justice nominee John Roberts, pro-abortion Sen. Arlen Specter asked whether he agreed Roe was a "super-duper" precedent on abortion — intending to determine if Roberts would uphold the controversial decision.

But Manuel Miranda, chairman of the Third Branch Conference, a coalition of more than 200 judicial watchdog group, points out that the Supreme Court has often made "super-duper" mistakes that were eventually overturned.

"The notion of a ‘super-duper precedent’ suggests that some precedents work their way into other decisions so that when you go after that precedent, you end up moving the foundation of a series of decisions," Miranda said, according to a CNS News report. "It doesn’t mean you have to abide by the same error that created so many problems."

"It’s not just that Roe was a bad decision, but ultimately, the peace that was supposed to arrive when everyone settled down and accepted this decision has never come," he added.

Roger Pilon, vice president for legal affairs at the libertarian Cato Institute, says abortion advocates are recent converts to respecting precedent and their support has only come after key court decisions have gone their way.

"Now that they have jiggered the Constitution into a shape of their liking, they’re all for" letting earlier decisions stand, he told CNS News.

Pilon calls that kind of thinking "disingenuous" but expects pro-abortion lawmakers to tout precedent during Alito’s Senate hearings in January.

Janet LaRue, chief counsel with Concerned Women for America, told panel members, "I think it’s ridiculous for anybody to say that there is some ‘super-duper precedent’ in Roe v. Wade that is absolutely inviolate."

The Supreme Court "does and should consider its precedents very seriously because we do need stability and predictability in the law," she stated, according to the Cybercast News Service report. "However, the truth is that the Supreme Court has reversed itself on numerous occasions."