WASHINGTON, D.C., July 31, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Republican Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri has vowed to make a Supreme Court nominee’s position on Roe v. Wade the litmus test for confirming him to the nation’s highest court. The 1973 landmark ruling essentially imposed legal abortion across the country.
“I will vote only for those Supreme Court nominees who have explicitly acknowledged that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided,” Hawley said, emphasizing that any Supreme Court nominee must be on the record already before the nomination.
“I do not want private assurances,” the senator clarified. “I do not seek them. I do not want forecasts about future votes or future behavior, because frankly, I wouldn’t believe them. I don’t want promises of any sort.”
Instead, Hawley continued, “I want evidence that Supreme Court nominees will obey the Constitution and the law. I want to see in the record clear acknowledgment that a nominee understands Roe to be the travesty that it is. If that record is not there, then I will not support the nomination. I don’t care who does the nominating.”
Hawley explained that recent Supreme Court decisions “are a clarion call to wake up and to acknowledge what is staring us in the face. Judicial imperialism is alive and well. It is marching on undaunted. For religious conservatives, these decisions are a call to action.”
According to the senator, who served as attorney general of Missouri until 2019, it was Roe v. Wade “that for religious conservatives made the Supreme Court the great issue of the day.”
At the same time, the conservative and Republican establishment does not want to talk about that case, Hawley pointed out. “‘Don’t mess up the Supreme Court nomination process by raising Roe! It’s imprudent. It’s in poor taste. It will divide our coalition.’ We’re supposed to stick to talk about process, about methods, maybe throw in some talk about umpires, but do not talk about Roe.”
Meanwhile, “Roe is the reason we have a legal conservative movement to begin with. Roe is what propelled generations of religious conservatives to vote for Republican Presidents.”
Hawley called out his party for having persuaded people to vote Republican in order to fix the abortion issue. “And yet, all these years later, eleven Republican-appointed justices later, here we are,” he said. “The nation is apparently no closer to the day when the Supreme Court will renounce this outrage, renounce its imperial pretensions, and allow the good and decent people of this nation to debate and decide this matter for ourselves.”
“How long must this go on?” he asked rhetorically. “How many more elections must there be? How many more promises must be made? How many more justices must be appointed before we will expect of our nominees what the voters already expect of us? How long before we ask our nominees to the Supreme Court of the United States to recognize Roe as the outrage that it is?”
Hawley explicitly numbered Roe v. Wade with two other wrong and immoral decisions of the Supreme Court: Dred Scott v. Sandford on withholding citizenship from black people, and Plessy v. Ferguson on having racially segregated public facilities.
The senator made not only the legal argument for the unconstitutionality and illegitimacy of Roe v. Wade, but also the moral argument, talking about what actually takes place during an abortion.
“Every single life is worth fighting for, and I will not accept failure. I will not accept defeat,” Hawley said. He added that since 1973, “this moral and social injustice has taken the lives of 61 million unborn children.”
In June, after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Hawley had already taken to the Senate floor to decry “the end of the conservative legal movement” in a fiery speech.
Bostock v. Clayton County concluded — with “conservative” Justice Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, writing the majority opinion — that “sex discrimination” in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act should be interpreted to mean “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” in addition to its original biological meaning.
Hawley referred to the legal philosophies of textualism and originalism, by which a jurist interprets legal texts based on their ordinary meaning, as understood by regular citizens at the time the law was made.
He said that “if you can invoke textualism and originalism in order to reach such a decision — an outcome that fundamentally changes the scope and meaning and application of statutory law — then textualism and originalism and all of those phrases don’t mean much at all.”
“Evangelicals, conservative Catholics, conservative Jews: let’s be honest, they’re the ones who have been the core of the legal conservative effort,” he said.
Now, however, it has become evident that “the bargain that has been offered to religious conservatives for years now is a bad one. It’s time to reject it.”
“The bargain has never been explicitly articulated,” Hawley admitted, “but religious conservatives know what it is. The bargain is that you go along with the party establishment, you support their policies and priorities — or at least keep your mouth shut about it — and, in return, the establishment will put some judges on the bench who supposedly will protect your constitutional rights to freedom of worship, to freedom of exercise.”
It is likely for the next president — whether it be Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Joe Biden — to nominate the next justice to the Supreme Court, given that 87-year-old pro-abortion justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has already been hospitalized several times this year.
In a Senate with only a small Republican majority, Hawley’s insistence on any nominee being on the record as willing to overturn Roe v. Wade could derail even a nomination by President Trump.
Trump nominees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch both evaded questions on Roe v. Wade during their confirmation hearings.
“As a general proposition, I understand the importance of the precedent set forth in Roe v. Wade,” Kavanaugh said in 2018. Asked about an unborn baby not being considered a person, as Roe v. Wade claimed, Gorsuch said in 2017, “That’s the law of the land. I accept the law of the land, senator, yes.”