September 12, 2012 - “It’s the economy, stupid!”—James Carville’s memorable note-to-self during the 1992 presidential race—will be the determining factor in the 2012 campaign, according to the common wisdom. That may be true. But as Catholics consider their responsibilities between now and Nov. 6, it would be good to remember that the future of the pro-life cause in America is also at stake.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 79. Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy are 76. Justice Stephen Breyer is 74. The president elected in November will likely appoint two Supreme Court justices, and may appoint as many as four, over the next quadrennium. If that next president replaces Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and Kennedy with nominees who think that Roe v. Wade (1973) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992) were wrongly decided, there could conceivably be a 7-2 Court majority to overturn (or, in effect, gut) those dreadful decisions and return the abortion debate (and related life-issues questions like euthanasia) to the states. There, the pro-life cause would win some states (likely the majority) and lose some others. With national opinion polls showing a pro-life majority for the first time in a long time, however, the conditions would be right for legally advancing the cause in a dramatic way.
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GEORGE WEIGEL COLUMN