Democrats love to talk about how long Roe v. Wade has been a precedent of the Supreme Court — as if the nation’s highest court can never reverse itself or overturn wrongly decisions.
With the very real possibility that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe in the Dobbs case this summer, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) asked Ketanji Brown Jackson whether she would respect the new precedent it sets.
BLACKBURN: Do you commit to respecting the Court’s decision if it rules that Roe was wrongly decided and that the issue of abortion should be sent back to the states?
JACKSON: Whatever the Supreme Court decides in Dobbs will be the precedent of the Supreme Court. It will be worthy of respect in the sense that it is the precedent. I commit to treating it as I would any other precedent.
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Sen. Blackburn: “Do you commit to respecting the Court’s decision if it rules that Roe was wrongly decided and that the issue of abortion should be sent back to the states?
Judge Jackson: “Whatever the Supreme Court decides in Dobbs will be the precedent of the Supreme Court…” pic.twitter.com/chzWeyVnUY
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 23, 2022
Conservative writers at National Review and Hot Air noted the significance of the response:
John McCormack also notes the circularity of this response, but points out the political concession it represents:
Jackson’s response doesn’t tell us much—every decision is precedent worthy of respect until the Court has the case and the votes to overturn it. But “worthy of respect” is not a message that’s helpful to advocates of a constitutional right to abortion a couple months before the Court issues its ruling in Dobbs.
That’s the big takeaway here, and neither side of the debate will forget it — assuming the court strikes down Roe in Dobbs at all. If that happens, progressives will freak out and declare the Supreme Court hopelessly politicized. Pro-life advocates will play this clip right back at them and say, “Hey, the Supreme Court justice you promoted says this decision is ‘worthy of respect’.” Jackson will end up owning that outcome to some extent without even yet being on the court — even though we all know perfectly well that any mention of Dobbs in later cases will include argument from Jackson about how it was wrongly decided.
Earlier, Jackson falsely claimed there is a “right” to abortion in the Constitution even though no such right exists.
The biggest case the Supreme Court is expected to hand down soon, which it has already heard, is the Dobbs case involving a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi that could either give states more latitude to protect babies from abortions or will overturn Roe entirely, allowing wholesale abortions bans protecting hundreds of thousands of babies annually.
During the high court’s consideration of Dobbs, Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart told the justices on the nation’s highest court that it’s time to overturn Roe v. Wade so states that provide legal protections for unborn children.
“Roe versus Wade and Planned Parenthood versus Casey haunt our country,” Stewart told the Supreme Court as it opened hearings on the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
“They have no basis in the Constitution. They have no home in our history or traditions. They’ve damaged the democratic process. They’ve poisoned the law. They’ve choked off compromise. For fifty years they’ve kept this Court at the center of a political battle that it can never resolve. And fifty years on, they stand alone: nowhere else does this Court recognize a right to end a human life,” he said.
For decades, under Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, states have been prohibited from banning abortions before viability. As a result, about 63 million unborn babies and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mothers have died in supposedly “safe,” legal abortions. Now the Supreme Court has agreed to re-consider this precedent and decide “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional.”
Jackson’s record on abortion suggests she would vote to uphold Roe and she is endorsed by radical pro-abortion groups.
Pro-life advocates have reasons to be worried about Jackson’s abortion leanings. Her record includes working with abortion activists on a case about suppressing pro-life advocates’ free speech in Massachusetts.
She also ruled against the Trump administration’s efforts to defund the billion-dollar abortion chain Planned Parenthood, and she clerked for pro-abortion Justice Breyer when he issued an opinion against the partial-birth abortion ban.
Meanwhile, a coalition of nearly 40 pro-life leaders, including LifeNews.com editor Steven Ertelt, sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, outlining their concerns with Jackson’s record.
“She has been handpicked by a pro-abortion president to satisfy the pressure campaign from pro-abortion, progressive activists,” the pro-life leaders wrote. “These activists refuse to acknowledge the toll that Roe v. Wade has inflicted on our country. More than 62 million lives have been lost to abortion since the 1973 Roe decision.”
In 2001, Jackson co-authored an amicus brief supporting a Massachusetts law that created a floating “buffer zone” to prevent pro-life sidewalk counselors from approaching women outside of abortion facilities. Her clients included NARAL and the Abortion Access Project of Massachusetts.
Last week, U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, also raised concerns about Jackson’s “soft” record on criminals convicted of child pornography offenses.
Jackson’s confirmation hearing is scheduled to continue through Thursday in the U.S. Senate.
Biden promised that he would appoint a black female justice who supports the so-called “right” to abortion on demand, and pro-abortion groups have praised her nomination.