Juan Williams: Justices lied before Roe v. Wade died
Here is a question for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
Which one of you is lying?
Collins says Kavanaugh “misled” her when as a nominee he told her he was a “don’t-rock-the-boat kind of judge,” on abortion rights.
But what about Collins?
Is she playing liar’s poker?
Can anyone believe she didn’t know all of President Trump’s nominees, including Kavanaugh, had strong backing from fierce opponents of abortion rights?
When he ran for president, Trump said openly, “I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”
Trump is the only president to appear in-person at the March for Life, the premier anti-abortion rally. He declared himself the strongest opponent of abortion ever in the White House. He even accused Democrats of being willing to “execute a baby after birth.”
Is it possible Collins missed all this?
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is in the same trap.
Is he telling the truth when he now claims he “trusted” Justice Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh when they testified they saw abortion rights as “settled” law?
Now Manchin says he is “deeply disappointed” that both justices voted to end constitutional protection for abortion and “alarmed they chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans.”
Collins, who voted for Gorsuch as well as Kavanaugh, projects more anger than Manchin. As a Republican, she calls out Kavanaugh’s vote to end abortion rights as “not conservative,” and a “radical jolt” that will result in “political chaos, anger and further loss of confidence in our government.”
That’s the truth.
But Collins and Manchin are far from the truth if they are asking Americans to let them off the hook for their roles in creating a rampaging, far-right majority on the Supreme Court that just trampled on almost 50 years of abortion rights.
How can it be true that Collins and Manchin did not notice years of Republicans in the Senate and White House kowtowing to far-right extremists in promoting judges to the federal bench based on their opposition to abortion rights?
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is not buying the excuses coming from Collins and Manchin.
Calling out the “Trumpian Supreme Court,” Pelosi is pointing to “radical Republicans” engaging in a longstanding “crusade to criminalize health freedom” by overturning Roe.
Pelosi saw the years of right-wing legal groups vetting judicial candidates based on their political ideology.
She saw the rise of evangelicals as a political force as they called abortion “murder” and pressured Republican presidents, as well as Republicans in the Senate, to agree to their religious dictates.
Senate Republicans refused to even have a hearing for Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, for nearly a year in 2016. And who could miss it when they rushed through Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, in a matter of weeks in late 2020?
A clear majority of Americans have consistently backed abortion rights in opinion polls. In a June Fox News poll, 60 percent said the high court should let Roe v. Wade’s guarantee of abortion rights stand.
Collins and Manchin can now see the truth in the polls and the obvious uproar over the ruling.
People are marching in front of the Supreme Court. There is cold fear among women at the rush of Republican-majority legislatures to outlaw abortion and potentially arrest doctors and anyone else who helps a woman terminate a pregnancy
But all the lies remain a threat to public trust.
Lies told by Supreme Court justices — even if they are demeaned as “politicians in robes” — are protected from consequence by lifetime appointments.
As the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal noted last week, even while defending the justices, these “claims of deceit are especially unfortunate because they suggest that the court is no different from the political branches.”
It is “damaging to the Court’s credibility, whether the majority leans to the left or the right.”
“They lied,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) during a recent appearance on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’
“If we allow Supreme Court nominees to lie under oath and secure lifetime appointments to the highest court of the land and then issue…rulings that undermine the human and civil rights of the majority of Americans…there must be consequences for such a deeply destabilizing action and the hostile takeover of our democratic institutions.”
Ocasio-Cortez wants to “seriously consider” the impeachment of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, the justices who are being accused of lying to the Senate to get on the high court.
Impeachment is unlikely.
But what about senators who played along with the lies?
They will eventually have to answer to voters.
In the short term, two liberal Democratic senators from Massachusetts, Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, want to move past the lies by expanding the number of justices to dilute what Markey calls the “illegitimate and far-right majority on the Supreme Court.”
Other ideas include term limits for justices and random lottery drawings to assign judges from lower federal courts to sit on the Supreme Court for only one term.
This instability is the price the nation is paying for a tragic game of liar’s poker.
Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.