In 1973, the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade struck down state laws banning abortions. And liberals then, I think, thought that would settle the issue.
But 46 years later, the country is still torn apart about abortion. On Friday, hundreds of thousands of mostly young people will converge on Washington for the March for Life. They brave the snow and usually frigid temperatures, year after year after year, to speak for those who have no voice -- the unborn. According to a new Marist poll, 75 percent of Americans say they would limit abortion to, at most, the first three months of pregnancy, that include 6 and 10 of those who self-identify as pro-choice as well 6 and 10 Democrats.
Well, that means the Supreme Court is actually out of sync with most Americans on that issue. Not that any of that matters. Because we've given so much power to the Supreme Court to run roughshod over the will of the people in the states, that's it become a super governmental force.
Our framers never intended that unelected judges would have power over politics and our culture like this. Because it's a question, addressed time and again, by really smart minds, like the late great Justice Antonin Scalia.
"Regardless of whether you think prohibiting abortion is good or whether you think prohibiting portion is bad, regardless of how you come out on that, my only point is the constitution does not say anything about it, it leaves it up to democratic choice," he once said on the issue.
But the decisions have not been left up to the people. In fact, the left has long relied on courts to advance a radical transformation of American society on issues like marriage and public justice, and criminal justice reform. And now that the balance of the high court is shifting, or could be shifting, the stakes could not be higher. This is part of the reason Supreme Court battles have gotten so ugly and contentious in recent years.
Compared to the chaos and ugliness of Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, the hearing room during Scalia's confirmation had several empty seats behind him, even after a few hours in. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg admitted that judicial confirmations were never this ugly during her process, saying a few months ago, "The way it was, [it] was right. The way it is [now], is wrong."
Well, Bader Ginsburg was confirmed overwhelmingly in 1993 by a vote of 93 to 6. Scalia was confirmed by a vote of 98 to 0. By the way, the two had completely different, in most issues, judicial philosophies. But they were really close, really good friends. And as a family friend of the Scalias, I even actually spent a New Year's eve with them, back in 1986 if you can believe it. It was nice to see those friendships.
All these years later, the court is still a pretty collegial place. The justices get along, they're actually friends; they like each other. But because so many on the outside have become so reliant on the court instead of Congress to advance mostly liberal causes, another potential vacancy comes up, and it has all the activists on edge.
Politico just published a piece titled, "What happens if Ruth better Ginsburg remains too sick to work?" In just the past two months, Politico reports, the justice, 85, has suffered three fractured ribs and had a pair of cancerous nodules removed from her lung. And this was, as we all know, not Bader Ginsburg's first bout of cancer. She's been there before and her doctors say that they expect her to return to the bench next month.
The left has long relied on courts to advance a radical transformation of American society on issues like marriage and public justice, and criminal justice reform. And now that the balance of the high court is shifting, or could be shifting, the stakes could not be higher. This is part of the reason Supreme Court battles have gotten so ugly and contentious in recent years.
Well, the justice has been buoyed by America's prayers and well-wishes, and she seems to actually have enjoyed the near-mythic status bestowed on her by the left. You've got movies, documentaries, books, children's books about her. Let's face it, cynics say that this was smartly-designed to set the cultural narrative early, and should the time come, make it more difficult perhaps, for President Trump to appoint someone to replace her with a judicial conservative - someone with temperament that is obviously judicially conservative -- even if that pick is another woman.
Look, anytime a sitting Supreme Court justice, especially at an advanced age, is in declining health, it does raise serious questions. That's why people are writing articles like Politico's. Remember how Democrats made a big deal about President Trump's health leading up to his first physical as commander-in-chief? They endlessly questioned his stamina and mental acuity. A White House physician, Ronny Jackson, reported that the president was in excellent health last January. People still didn't believe it.
Well, now there are some asking that, if it was appropriate to ask questions about the physical condition of the president and his fitness for office, is it also appropriate to ask similar questions about Supreme Court justices, beyond Ginsburg -- all of them. With all the weighty issues facing the High Court, everything from immigration to ObamaCare's contraceptive rules, the stakes are really high now.
And as we all wish the justices long and happy lives, do Americans have the right to be reassured that 28-year old law clerks aren't exercising undue influence, especially when the court has outsized powers over matters of life and death. These are big questions we all face.
Adapted from Laura Ingraham's monologue from "The Ingraham Angle" on January 17, 2019.