Judiciary

Budowsky: Female GOP senators can destroy Roe v. Wade

At a moment when support for the rights of women is surging across the nation and around the world in what may someday be called the Female Century, it would be an epic tragedy if attacks against the legal rights of American women succeed with support from every Republican woman in the United States Senate, including those who call themselves moderate and pro-choice.

If Judge Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed by a party-line vote of unanimous Republican senators, creating a Supreme Court that will decide critical cases by unanimous party-line votes of five conservative Republican male justices, it will stain the reputation of the court and undermine the cause of equal justice for a generation.

Consider Roe v. Wade, which is now on the guillotine because of an aggressive long-term plan executed by the conservative legal establishment that is poised to win support  from Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and every female GOP senator who may join them to wield the ax against abortion rights.

At a minimum, Collins and Murkowski should refuse to support force-feeding a confirmation vote until they and all senators are granted access to  extensive Kavanaugh records that are currently being kept secret by the Trump White House.

They should consider the pleas of Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who are fiercely defending the rights of women and others in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and assert that senators need these secret files to make informed decisions about the most important confirmation vote they will ever cast.

Collins, Murkowski and every senator should be clear about a defining fact of the Kavanaugh nomination. The war against Roe v. Wade can be supported by a nominee who pledges to uphold Roe v. Wade but votes to systematically destroy abortion rights, in case after case, piece by piece, for group after group.

Can anyone seriously believe the Federalist Society would recommend and President Trump would nominate a pro-choice Supreme Court justice?

If Kavanaugh is confirmed, those spearheading the war against Roe v. Wade will push aggressive anti-choice legislation in deep-red states, laws which are carefully calculated to be upheld by the Supreme Court, by 5-4 party-line votes of conservative male Republican justices.

They will push red-state legislation to destroy abortion rights for immigrants, similar to the attack against those rights that Judge Kavanaugh voted to uphold in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. They will push new attacks against abortion rights for poor women, and against Planned Parenthood and health care centers serving women.

They will push systematic conservative GOP attacks against abortion rights, women's rights, immigrant rights, voting rights, consumer rights, civil rights, equal rights, same-sex marriage rights, health care rights - including protections for citizens with pre-existing conditions - and legislation to protect students from being mass murdered in schools.

Many of these attacks will be enacted in red states during 2019. Some will be decided by the Supreme Court by June 2020, shortly before the national celebration of the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote in August 2020 and before national elections in November 2020.

The national backlash will be severe against the GOP, and especially against female GOP senators who join Republican party-line Senate votes to confirm Kavanaugh, followed by 5-4 party-line votes of Republican justices, that make the long-planned conservative legal assault against critical rights the law of the land.

The five conservative Republican men of the Roberts Court, who have aggressively ruled in favor of Republicans on political questions from attacking voting rights of minorities to giving wealthy Americans the power to buy elections, will become the five conservative Republican men of the Trump Court, who will subvert the rights of women by party-line votes of Republican justices made possible by party-line votes of Republican senators. 

If this partisan nightmare for equal rights occurs, countless voters - especially multitudes of American women - will never trust Republicans again.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.

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