The Supremes, not the singing ones. Credit, public domain

With Anthony Kennedy retiring from the Supreme Court there is that obvious vacancy for Donald Trump to fill. The concern from the left being that he might appoint someone who will overturn Roe v Wade, the court decision which legalised abortion right across the US. Not that Trump has ever really shown great interest in this specific subject – it’s not a litmus test for him as it is for both the religious right and the liberal left.

However, there is going to be a certain amusement watching the twists and turns that people go through in order to justify their choices – which are going to be based upon their own prejudices and nothing else.

Here’s an example:

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a key swing vote on President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, said on Sunday that she would oppose any individual who would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

“A candidate for this important position who would overturn Roe v. Wade would not be acceptable to me because that would indicate an activist agenda that I don’t want to see a judge have,” Collins said on ABC’s This Week. “And that would indicate to me a failure to respect precedent of fundamental tenet of our judicial system.”

Overturning Roe v Wade would be an activist agenda? Isn’t that a good joke?

Now, my own opinion, for the zero it’s worth, is resolutely anti-abortion. But putting that aside the actual decision in Roe was ludicrous. Finding in the penumbra of the Constitution a right to privacy that guarantees the right to an abortion? Come along now, that was one of the most nakedly political and activist decisions in the court’s history.

Sen. Susan Collin (R-ME) says that President Trump has told her that he would not use Roe v. Wade as a litmus test in choosing a Supreme Court nominee

That doesn’t surprise in the slightest:

Republican Sen. Susan Collins, a critical vote on whomever President Trump nominates to replace Justice Kennedy on the Supreme Court, said any nominee who would overturn Roe v. Wade would “not be acceptable.”

I also can’t help thinking that this insistence upon legalisation by the court and only by the court is a significant mistake by abortion supporters. Pretty much everywhere else the question was decided by legislation. And there’s absolutely no thought at all in making it illegal again. Everyone does know that no such legislation would ever pass. A reasonable assumption is that the same method would produce a similar result.

Sure, religion is important in certain parts of the US in a manner it isn’t in most of Europe. Northern Ireland is one place where we have that domination perhaps and abortion is illegal there. But if abortion were to return to being what it was before Roe, a matter of State law, then some to many states would legalise it. As, in fact, some to many had by the time of Roe. One could imagine some places today having more restrictions than others but it’s most certainly not true that all would ban it. And after some ructions I’d rather expect the end result to be as it is here in Europe. Generally available with varying restrictions around the place.

Perhaps more importantly, that would be a general and final solution in a manner that desperately hoping the right justices get appointed is never going to be.