On December 1st, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health—a case that has the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood.
During oral arguments, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts?” The implication of her words being that conservative justices are caving to political pressure for them to overturn Roe v. Wade. This is simply not the case.
Roe v. Wade is one of the worst supreme court decisions in history. Regardless of your view of abortion, it has no constitutional protections. The precedent that Roe established is judicially inappropriate and should be overturned as many wrong precedents have in the past in instances like Brown v. Board of Education.
Sotomayor is incorrect in her argument because those exerting the most political pressure on this case fall on the side of upholding Roe and Casey.
Last year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke at an abortion rally held on the steps of the Supreme Court and told Justices Kavanaugh and Gorsuch “you will pay the price” in response to a separate case relating to abortion. Democrat Senator Jeanne Shaheen warned last month of “revolution” if the court overturned Roe, saying in an interview “go ahead, outlaw Roe v. Wade and see what the response is.”
There is also the looming threat of President Biden’s refusal to rule out packing the court, even establishing a commission last year to determine whether or not they should do so. The threat of adding additional justices if the court rules in a way that goes against the progressive agenda puts pressure on the court to not anger partisans with their rulings.
Nancy Pelosi said in a statement last week that “any failure to completely strike down the Mississippi abortion ban will seriously erode the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.” If the left is able to portray the court as an imbalanced political institution, they could justify packing the court to a significant portion of their base.
The true threat to the non-partisan nature of the supreme court comes from the left, whose strategy is to threaten to delegitimize the court, or even alter its structure altogether if justices rule against their political agenda.
Sotomayor, therefore, has it backwards. Conservative justices would be ignoring the political pressure mounted against them if they overturn Roe and Casey. The political pressure on the court is only a factor if they choose to cave to the threats that come from the left that seek to undermine the court’s integrity.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.