When Brett Kavanaugh took his seat as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court following an arduous confirmation process that saw the #MeToo movement weaponized by the Democratic Party, most conservatives were able to breathe a sigh of relief. A solidified conservative majority on the Court was the reward for the right uniting. Almost every faction of the movement came together to thwart the “search and destroy” tactics of the left.
An outsized proportion of the vitriolic attacks during the Kavanaugh confirmation process were seen by many on the right as feverish attempts to preserve the status quo in the abortion debate within the courts. While Pro-Life activists were somewhat muted in their enthusiasm when the Kavanaugh pick was announced– many favored Judge Amy Coney Barrett for her Pro-Life beliefs– the solidified conservative majority was still seen as a game-changing opportunity for Pro-Lifers to finally chip away at portions of the jurisprudence surrounding Roe v. Wade.
In March of 2016, then-Governor Mike Pence of Indiana signed a law that prohibited doctors from performing abortions that were based solely on the race, sex, or disability of the child and also placed requirements on abortion clinics for the dignified disposal by burial or cremation of any fetus left by the parents. This law was subsequently challenged in a lawsuit by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. Earlier this year, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Indiana affirmed a lower court ruling that these requirements were unconstitutional based on the precedent stemming from Casey and Roe.
On October 15th of this year, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announced that his office would seek a review of the 7th Circuit’s decision by the Supreme Court. Elected in 2016, Curtis Hill has been seen as a rising star in the Republican Party in Indiana and was a frequent guest of President Trump in the early stages of his Administration on topics such as school safety and prison reform.
All of this changed following a party in March celebrating the end of the previous legislative session for Indiana lawmakers and staff. In the wake of the #MeToo movement sweeping the country, Hill was accused by four women, including Democrat State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon, of becoming intoxicated at the party and of touching them inappropriately while making sexually suggestive comments.
Once the allegations became public this summer, many prominent Indiana politicians called on Hill to resign, including Republican Governor Eric Holcomb and Republican Speaker of the House Brian Bosma. Hill has stood firm against these calls to resign and has maintained his innocence. A Special Prosecutor assigned to the Hill investigation recently refused to press charges, but civil claims by the women involved appear to be forthcoming.
AG Hill, an African-American man, has previously spoken passionately about the anti-discrimination provisions in this abortion law and was seen as a strong advocate to argue this case before the Court, but now may be seen as a liability for a Pro-Life movement since contending with accusations of illegitimacy in any case involving “Roe” due to the #MeToo accusations against Brett Kavanaugh. Chipping away at abortion protections with a man with #MeToo accusations and calls for resignation from within his own party would invite a torrent of similar criticism from the left and could be politically precarious for even those Republicans who wholeheartedly agree with Pro-Life outcomes.
Is a victory at the Court under these circumstances something to be unrepentantly celebrated by Pro-Life advocates or to be viewed with caution within the wider political framework for Republicans in 2020 and beyond? The struggles of the Republican Party to retain suburban women in their coalition was a story in 2016 and 2018. If Conservatives don’t tread lightly when fighting on this issue, the “Pink Wave” we saw in these midterms could become a torrent that drowns Republican electoral prospects heading toward 2020.
On the other hand, the Kavanaugh confirmation produced a fire on the right concerning the preservation of Due Process and a duty to the presumption of innocence that has also seen itself manifest within the political class in Indiana. Speaker Brian Bosma, who has called for Hill’s resignation, recently found himself embroiled in a #MeToo-style scandal of his own. A former female intern has accused Bosma of inappropriate conduct and intimidation following a sexual encounter that occurred decades ago. So far, Governor Holcomb and Indiana Republicans have stood by Bosma– a white man, who has been one of Indiana’s most powerful Republican politicians for more than a decade– but are also standing by their calls for AG Hill to resign.
While it may behoove the Pro-Life movement to have a champion free from the #MeToo scandal fighting this crucial case at the Supreme Court, Indiana Republicans, and the larger Republican party, should be wary of the implications of forcing out a prominent Black conservative voice over accusations that don’t meet any kind of criminal standard, while standing by their powerful white colleague in the Speaker’s Office after engaging in a fierce battle to clear the name of our new Associate Justice (who also happens to be white).
The Pro-Life movement may be better served by a recusal from Curtis Hill on this pivotal case, but Republicans risk abandoning their Due Process principles by forcing Hill out based on the current allegations. Any person concerned with the future of the Pro-Life movement and of abortion jurisprudence in America should start paying close attention to how this proxy war plays out here in the Heartland. The future of Roe v. Wade, of the #MeToo movement, and of race relations in American politics could be heavily impacted by a quiet battle of wills in the Hoosier State.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.