On his Monday show on MSNBC, Jose Diaz-Balart welcomed on network contributor and University of Texas Prof. Victoria DeFrancesco Soto to discuss the Supreme Court’s upcoming term. DeFrancesco warned the Court that “80%” of Americans support abortion, so if they want to avoid a public trust crisis, they better not overturn Roe v. Wade. Not only is playing to public opinion not the Court’s job, the 80% figure is wildly misleading.
Diaz-Balart asked about “the significance of this moment. We’re talking about the two states now that have just instituted these much more restrictive abortion guidelines. What is the impact of this?”
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Soto, avoiding the Court’s legal obligations, jumped straight into public opinion polls:
So what we’re seeing is these two laws that could very potentially overturn Roe v. Wade as we know them, being very much disconnected from the average American view on abortion. Gallup has its poll that’s been tracking abortion for decades. Right now, we’re seeing 80% of the American public supports the right to an abortion. There is a split now with about 30% saying, in any circumstance, higher percentage, 42% saying under certain circumstances, but taken as a whole, the American public is behind Roe v. Wade.
The wording “certain circumstances” is so vague, it makes the poll almost meaningless, because in that very same Gallup report, the pro-choice/pro-life split is 49-47.
Furthermore, if people support Roe, it is because journalists like Diaz-Balart and professors like DeFrancesco Soto misinform them on what Roe says. According to AP, 65% of Americans think abortion should be usually illegal in the second trimester, something Roe does not allow.
Soto warned this misperception, though, of course, she didn’t call it that, would hurt the Court’s image:
So if we see the Court in this session come down and potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, I think that is going to be perceived as tremendous overreach by the Supreme Court, which is not an elected body, but is still politically indirectly one. And really, I think, the public losing trust in this institution. Something that we’ve seen on the decline. We’ve seen the American trust in the judiciary, the Supreme Court going down recently, and this could really take it to the next level.
Later in the interview, the conversation expanded to other issues the Court will consider and Soto complained, “at the end of the day, Jose, if we pull back and we think about the last couple of election cycles, these were things that conservatives, that Republicans were looking to broach, right?”
After just warning the Court to consider public opinion, she accused the justices of being the political ones, “If we go all the way back to 2016, 2015, when Donald Trump was campaigning, he said, ‘elect me, I will ensure that we have conservative Supreme Court justices,’ so that when these issues come up, they can take them with a more conservative view, even though justices are supposed to be apolitical, still, this was the message that Donald Trump was sending.”
This segment was sponsored by Subaru.