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Elections post-Roe


With the overruling of Roe v. Wade close to a certainty this coming June, the immediate practical question is how to best take advantage of this development from an electoral standpoint. Making abortion illegal is a very unpopular position on both a national scale and in all swing states.

On the other hand, it’s an overwhelmingly important issue for evangelical Protestants and conservative Catholics. Trump, or whoever else may end up being the GOP candidate two and a half years from now, will have no choice but to highlight the overruling of Roe as a primary reason to vote for him. The decision will likely drive very high turnout in the conservative base, since this is a core issue for them. Whether it produces an electoral backlash in the three-fifths of the electorate that favors legal abortion in all or most circumstances is a different question, as abortion is a particularly salient issue among only a narrow special interest subgroup of these voters, i.e., women.

BTW I drew grim amusement from the spectacle yesterday of so many Good Liberals ™ in the legal academic world evincing pure horror at the impending decision, when so many of these same people went into high dudgeon mode just a few weeks ago at the very thought that anyone at a law school might choose to treat the Federalist Society as anything other than soul of intellectual and political respectability.

The Federalist Society was created essentially for the purpose of trying to overrule Roe v. Wade — and a lot of other things too, but Roe was always the centerpiece of all the attacks on “judicial activism” and “legislating from the bench,” and in particular all the endless encomia to “originalism.”

I was reduced to a helpless metaphorical shrug when last week the two women members of NYU Law School’s Federalist Society student board quit in protest over the decision to invite an anti-abortion speaker to discuss the impeding decision in Roe v. Wade. I mean at least these people have the excuse of youthful naivete. What excuses all the Good Liberals ™ have who talked about how very brilliant and special Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett all are remains unclear.

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