by Andrew Schlafly, J.D.
Affiliated with Phyllis Schlafly Eagles
Not since the first President Bush’s “read my lips, no new taxes” has there been a more famous campaign pledge than Donald Trump’s pledge to nominate only pro-life judges to the federal judiciary, particularly to the U.S. Supreme Court. For example, President Trump said emphatically in the final presidential debate:
“The justices that I am going to appoint will be pro-life. … because I am pro-life and I will be appointing pro-life judges …. Because I am putting pro-life justices on the court. I will say this. [The issue of abortion] will go back to the states and the states will then make a determination.”
It was not merely campaign rhetoric. This was the reason Trump won Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and the overall election, with 21% of voters casting their ballots based on the issue of the Supreme Court. Trump repeated his pledge again after he was elected, during a 60 Minutes interview to a nationwide audience: “I’m pro-life. The judges will be pro-life.”
This pledge established a level of credibility with many voters who might not otherwise have identified with the billionaire. This pledge was a compelling promise that Trump would safeguard the most vulnerable in society, the unborn.
Yet Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s recent nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, is not pro-life and has never indicated any willingness to overturn Roe v. Wade. At best Gorsuch’s rulings on abortion and other social issues could be described as libertarian, including pro-transgender. In the ceremony nominating Gorsuch to the vacancy of Justice Antonin Scalia, no mention was even made of honoring Trump’s pro-life pledge. Indeed, Gorsuch does not even pretend to be pro-life.
In his book entitled The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia (2006), Gorsuch praised the pro-abortion ruling that upheld Roe v. Wade as follows: “The plurality in Casey expressly sought to provide a firmer basis for the abortion right and to shore up the reasoning behind Roe’s result” (p. 79). No one who is pro-life would ever assert that there is a “firmer basis” and better “reasoning” that can support the horrifically unjust result of abortion-on-demand.
Well, one might ask, how is Gorsuch on other issues? Not good either. In an analysis by Larry Pratt of the Gun Owners of America, he pointed out that Gorsuch joined an opinion that adhered to the anti-gun view that “concealed weapons create an immediate and severe danger to the public.” United States v. Rodriguez, 739 F.3d 481, 490 (10th Cir. 2013).
On the transgender issue, Gorsuch joined an opinion holding that “it is unlawful to discriminate against a transgender (or any other) person because he or she does not behave in accordance with an employer’s expectations for men or women.” Kastl v. Maricopa Cty. Cmty. Coll. Dist., 325 F. App’x 492, 493 (9th Cir. 2009).
Where will Gorsuch come down on in the issue of whether men, who claim to be women, may enter women’s public bathrooms, showers and locker rooms. His opinion would affect children in public school facilities. Will he even be questioned on this issue by senators during his hearing proceedings?
It seems that Trump’s advisers may have recommended that he nominate someone who is more socially liberal, and he did. This is to fill Justice Scalia’s seat, so if indeed, Gorsuch leans to be more liberal in his social views, then this nomination would shift the already-liberal court further to the left, which portends badly for future nominations.
The influence by lobbyists, primarily the Federalist Society, over this decision by the president was unprecedented. According to media accounts Trump considered only candidates whom the Federalist Society recommended, and no others. Florida Supreme Court Justice Charles Canady is pro-life and more qualified than Gorsuch, but apparently Trump never even interviewed Canady. Other prominent pro-life candidates, both on and off the list Trump cited during his campaign, were also not seriously considered.
If this were merely the first time that a Supreme Court nominee was supposedly pro-life, but was actually pro-choice, then perhaps a “wait and see” approach might be reasonable. However, unborn children have been sacrificed time and time again by this deception. President Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor, who was supposed to be pro-life but wasn’t, and then likewise for Anthony Kennedy. The first President Bush appointed David Souter, who was also supposed to be pro-life, but became stridently pro-abortion instead.
Voters do not take kindly to broken campaign pledges. The first President Bush suffered a landslide defeat after violating his “no new taxes” pledge, even though Bush’s advisers devoted enormous public relations efforts to downplay his pledge after he became president. At the nomination ceremony on Tuesday night, there was no mention at all of Trump’s pro-life pledge, which was a glaring omission that millions of voters surely did not overlook.
George W. Bush corrected his mistake of nominating Harriet Miers, and then replaced her with a stronger nominee. Will Trump’s advisers recognize this mistake and correct it while it is still possible?
(For more information regarding Supreme Court candidates click on www.pseagles.com.)