The conservative majority of Supreme Court justices have overturned US abortion laws. This is considered the true legacy of Donald Trump. The strategy behind it comes from a much more sophisticated mastermind.
There is a sentence by Mitch McConnell that should be ringing in US President Joe Biden’s ears these days. “Elections come and go,” said the Republican leader in the US Senate shortly before Amy Coney Barrett was named the new Supreme Court Justice. “Political power is never permanent. (…)” But the Democrats “will not be able to do much about this for a long time.”
How right the man from Kentucky was back then – in October 2020 – was shown last Friday when the Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade resigned, and several Republican-governed states enacted far-reaching or complete abortion bans within hours. A great victory for conservative forces – mind you, at a time when no Republican is president and the Grand Old Party also does not hold a majority in the Senate or Congress.
Mitch McConnell: Maneuvers began in 2016
Despite this, the Democrats could not save abortion rights. The outcry is correspondingly great, President Joe Biden now wants to use the topic to campaign for the upcoming midterm elections. But even if he did succeed (which doesn’t seem likely at the moment), McConnell’s 2020 pronouncement that “elections come and go” would still stand, but the Supreme Court justices are appointed for life. The conservative majority in the body of judges is thus consolidated for a long time. And conservatism in the USA can hope for further victories.
That the repeal of Roe v. What is now being hailed as the true legacy of Donald Trump’s presidency doesn’t bother someone like Mitch McConnell. The now 80-year-old senator prefers to work in the background anyway. McConnell is considered by political observers to be the shrewdest string puller in political Washington. Of course, it was actually Trump who was able to place three like-minded lawyers on the Supreme Court during his tenure. But it was Mitch McConnell who made things clear for Trump – back in 2016. Trump wasn’t even elected then.
“An amazing, calculating move”
At that time, Mitch McConnell already sensed the great opportunity for a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. A majority that, according to his reading, could shape US society far more effectively and sustainably in its own conservative sense for years to come than periods of government. Thanks to their own majority at the time, McConnell and his Republicans prevented ex-President Barack Obama from installing a liberal Supreme Court candidate during the ongoing election campaign. The reasoning: It is inappropriate for a president to leave a judge for life to a successor at the last minute of his or her term of office.
An argument that did not prevent the string puller McConnell from emphasizing in the same situation that an incumbent president has every right to appoint judges to the Supreme Court up to the end. This time the Republicans push through a last-minute appeal, Amy Coney Barrett became Supreme Court Justice and the Conservative majority of 6-3 has been locked in for the foreseeable future ever since. “It was an amazing, calculating political move,” the AP news agency said.
Out for Roe v. Wade a matter of time
That Roe v. Wade would be tipped over was practically only a matter of time since then. When millions of American women were stripped of their bodies on Friday, Mitch McConnell called it a “brave and correct” decision. And then he expressed his joy in his own special way: “Millions of Americans have spent half a century praying, marching and working towards today’s historic victories for the rule of law and for a life of innocence. I am proud to be part of them during to have accompanied us on our long journey and today I share their joy.” Of course, McConnell was much more than just a “companion”. He was the architect of the “historic victory”.
There are many indications that the preparations go back even further than just six years. It is said that McConnell not only worked on the conservative character of the US judiciary at the top level. For example, five of the conservative Supreme Court justices are close to the Federalist Society. More than 70,000 conservative and libertarian lawyers belong to the association, whose full name is the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.
More civil liberties are on the brink
The non-profit organization was founded in 1982. Its goal: to fill as many important positions in the judiciary with Republicans. Officially, the organization denies promoting nominations for public office. But even Donald Trump was once enthusiastic about the ultra-conservative website “Breitbart”: “We will have great judges, conservative, and they will all be selected by the Federalist Society.” Don McGahn, a lawyer on Trump’s campaign team and later White House Counsel, put the ex-president in touch with the Society.
Apparently, the Democrats have little to counter all of this. And so liberal America’s concerns that further rights could soon be overturned seem justified. After Roe v. Wade had fallen, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has already announced that contraceptive rights or gay rights are again at stake.
Sources: AP news agency; “CourierJournal”; “broad beard”; Federalist Society; “New York Times”