The Undemocratic Defenders of Roe v. Wade

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Liberals have spent much of the Biden presidency lecturing the American people on the importance of “norms” and posing as solemn defenders of democracy. But that posturing vanished this week as they caught wind of the Supreme Court’s apparent plans to overturn Roe v. Wade. Suddenly, liberals began howling about the evils of democratic choice and lauding the “brave clerk” who, as many are speculating, leaked the Court’s draft majority opinion in the hopes of scuttling it.

Were the subject matter not so grim, the all-hands-on-deck reaction of these monumental hypocrites to the leak would be hilarious. Jon Meacham, a left-wing pundit who poses as a “historian” on Morning Joe, gravely intoned that Justice Samuel Alito’s draft majority opinion calls into question our “constitutional order” and illustrates the “darkest period” of our democracy. Meacham gasped at the “might makes right” character of the ruling. Meacham’s self-awareness is nil, as everything he said applies to the Roe v. Wade ruling itself, which stands as the greatest judicial usurpation of democratic power in American history. It was a nakedly unconstitutional ruling that ushered in a crass culture in which the strong could dominate the weak. Millions and millions of unborn children have died under that act of judicial despotism that took the issue of abortion out of the hands of the American people and gave it to a tiny number of judges.

Alito’s draft opinion is not a threat to the constitutional order but a long-overdue restoration of it. If it holds, he will have given back to the people a crucial freedom that the Founding Fathers intended for them to exercise through their elected representatives. Until 1973, state legislatures across the country passed laws against abortion. Until then, the people, not judges, controlled the country’s direction on this vital moral issue. The Roe ruling was a blatant repudiation of that constitutional democracy.

It is pretty rich to hear shameless defenders of that judicial power grab casting Alito as undemocratic. “Americans will rightly conclude that their voices and votes no longer matter,” blubbered Joe Scarborough incoherently about Alito’s draft opinion.

What the chattering class fears is that the people for the first time in decades will get the chance to express themselves on abortion. Notice that the liberal pundits can’t quite get their propaganda straight: they assert confidently that an overwhelming number of Americans oppose the collapse of Roe v. Wade, then in the next breath fret that “over half” of the states will ban abortion. Which is it? If the people are so supportive of abortion, as they claim, why are these pundits so afraid of entrusting the issue to the people?

All the chuntering among pro-abortion liberals about an Alito-induced “autocracy” conceals their own desire for it: they oppose democracy the moment it fails to produce the results they like. In the name of “fundamental rights” — all of which are simply inventions of their activist judiciary — they demand the suppression of democracy and extol its manipulation, as in this case of this anonymous leaker to Politico, who undoubtedly comes from the liberal side of the Court. The same liberals still up in arms over the January 6 protesters are loath to condemn this leaker. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes is even floating the outrageous theory that a conservative clerk leaked the story: “Again, I have no inside information but it seems totally possible the leak was done by a conservative to freeze the majority in place and head off inroads [Supreme Court Justice John] Roberts was making.”

This apoplexy is proof that for liberals “democracy” has no meaning apart from the domination of liberalism. They see any opposition to liberalism as inherently subversive. Just listen to the media’s breathless reports on the pro-life movement, which make it sound as sinister as La Cosa Nostra. We are told of the movement’s “long” and “secret” campaign to reshape the judiciary and so forth. In other words, pro-lifers are merely participating in democracy. How dare they!

Media coverage since the leak has been laughably hysterical and contradictory, with a lot of pious prattle about the dangers of ignoring “precedent.” Never mind that every landmark liberal ruling has involved overturning precedent. Indeed, the whole “living Constitution” jurisprudence of the Left rests on contempt for precedent. Liberals are getting a dose of their own medicine, and they don’t like it. They wiped out over 150 years of precedent on abortion and countless other issues. But now we are supposed to weep with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who say that Alito has “defiled both precedent and the Supreme Court’s reputation.”

The scaremongering about Alito’s opinion is absurd. The American people should welcome, not fear, the return of a restrained judiciary that his opinion represents. And if it leads to other rulings against the judicial activism of the last 50 years, that is all to the good. That would mark a rebirth of our democracy and a return to the Constitution’s faithful reading.

But this assumes that Alito’s draft opinion remains intact. Will it? Chief Justice John Roberts says the leaked opinion “does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.” Could the dirty trick of the anonymous leaker to Politico work? Let’s hope not. But if so, it would befit the disgraceful and undemocratic character of Roe v. Wade from the beginning.

Reporting from The American Spectator.