With the announcement that Justice Anthony Kennedy was retiring from the Supreme Court at the end of July, horrified fear ran through progressive ranks while religious extremists across the country began celebrating, salivating at the thought of being able to finally repeal Roe V. Wade and ban abortion throughout the United States for good.
Kennedy was hardly a liberal in any sense of the word; just yesterday, he ruled that fake “pregnancy crisis centers” run by religious anti-choice organizations are not obligated to provide information to women on how to actually end their pregnancies and exercise their agency over their own bodies.
But he was the key swing vote on the landmark 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellersted ruling that prevented Texas from imposing “undue burdens” on women seeking abortions and helped pen the joint opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which preserved the “essential holding” of Roe V. Wade. On top of that, he helped pass some key rulings on LGBT rights, including the right to same-sex marriage in 2016.
His retirement hands President Trump the opportunity to appoint a religious extremist to the Supreme Court, potentially leading to the repeal of Roe V. Wade, the rollback of civil rights in America, and the gutting of voters’ rights.
But it’s only been a few hours and there is already rain falling on the parade of those looking forward to establishing their own twisted version of the Republic of Gilead in the United States.
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) is making it clear that she won’t support a SCOTUS nominee who would vote to repeal Roe v. Wade.
“I view Roe v. Wade as being settled law. It’s clearly precedent and I always look for judges who respect precedent.”
When asked if she would prefer a moderate, she replied “that obviously would be my preference but what I’m most looking for is a Justice that will follow the law and the constitution.”
That could pose a serious problem for Republicans, who will need every vote they can get with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) sidelined by his battle with brain cancer. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska is also a possible swing vote; Jeff Flake of Arizona is also floated as a possible roadblock but we have yet to see him actually do anything to oppose Trump beyond occasionally complain about his behavior in public.
If you live in Maine or Alaska – or any red state, really – you need to be calling your Senators every day and demand that they refuse to confirm, well, anybody really, since the seat Neil Gorsuch currently holds was stolen out from under President Obama, but especially to not confirm anyone who will repeal Roe V. Wade and sent our country spiraling back top the dark ages.