TIPP Insights: Did recent SCOTUS decisions take the ‘fight’ out of GOP manifesto?

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By tippinsights Editorial Board, TIPP Insights

For fifty years, nearly every Republican running for office at the local, state, and federal levels, featured two prominent messages, among many, in their campaign literature. The candidate would “fight” to protect the life of the unborn. And they would “fight” for our rights to own and bear arms.

The Supreme Court this week, in two landmark decisions that changed history, gave conservatives what they had desired all these years. While the victories may prove tenuous and are not as set in stone as Congressional action – after all, a future Supreme Court with a liberal majority could overturn both decisions – the country’s destiny has changed for at least a decade or more.

The legal basis for both judgments is solid and will likely survive scrutiny in a future case should it be granted a hearing in the Court. Unlike prior gun rights and abortion cases, the 2022 rulings fundamentally altered the Court’s thinking by going to a strict text-based interpretation that will be extremely difficult to overturn.

As a practical matter on the political front, the Republican party – with these contentious issues off the table – will have little to run on in elections in the coming years at all levels. Trigger laws in thirteen states, which outlaw abortion if Roe was to be overturned, went into effect immediately after the ruling. Three other states could also follow suit. In liberal states where Republicans have little chance of winning office, abortions could become even more common as states pass even more generous laws.

Gun rights will vastly expand in New York, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Delaware. In many conservative states with strong pro-gun laws, concealed carry in most public places will become common. Even the National Rifle Association (NRA), the bane of the Left, will have little to do as an activist organization.

On other issues of national interest, the GOP, the supposed party of fiscal discipline, has long ceded that issue as unwinnable and embraced deficit spending with gay abandon, just like the Democrats. On foreign policy and defense spending, the Neo-Cons are firmly in power in both parties. Immigration, religious freedom, and energy policy will continue to divide the two parties bitterly, but these issues do not resonate quite as strongly as abortion and guns.

So how solid was the legal reasoning in both cases?

In the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen case, Justice Thomas brilliantly seized upon the “bear arms” part of the text in the Second Amendment. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” In his majority opinion, Thomas said that New York’s laws were unconstitutional because they required officials to grant permits to people to justify carrying a gun. “For those of us who work in marbled halls, guarded constantly by a vigilant and dedicated police force, the guarantees of the Second Amendment might seem antiquated and superfluous,” Justice Thomas wrote. “But the Framers made a clear choice: They reserved to all Americans the right to bear arms for self-defense.”

In the abortion case, the legal analysis was just as sound. In his majority opinion, Justice Alito said that the U.S. Constitution does not reference the word “abortion,” implying that the federal government does not have the power to regulate abortion. He used a text-based interpretation by relying heavily on the Tenth amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” He criticized the Roe and Casey decisions as wrongly decided – and as overreaching and violating the Tenth amendment – with band-aid solutions that only provoked confusion: “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division. It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”

The New York Times Editorial Board took serious issue with the abortion decision. “For the first time in history, the Supreme Court has eliminated an established constitutional right involving the most fundamental of human concerns: the dignity and autonomy to decide what happens to your body.” No constitutional right has ever benefited one human being at the expense of another.

And when the Constitution has erred in holding one group of people above another, America has fixed the problem by amending it. The Fourteenth amendment granted Blacks the rights to U.S. citizenship after such a fundamental right had been denied to African Americans for nearly 90 years. The Times EB overlooks this fact by pointing out that the Constitution was written by a small band of wealthy white men, many of whom owned slaves and most, if not all, of whom considered women to be second-class citizens without any say in politics. True, but twenty-three amendments have been passed since the Bill of Rights.

Nothing prevents the Left from enshrining a right to an abortion in the Constitution by passing a new amendment. It will have to win its argument in 34 states to have legislatures propose such an amendment and then have it ratified by winning in 38 states, not to mention two-thirds of both House and Senate. The Left knows it would fail to muster the necessary support to propose an amendment. It is little wonder that abortion was such an explosive issue in the country.

Democrats, who were relying on the J6 hearings to energize their voters, just got two potent issues on which to run in the coming midterms. Republican voters, in glee with the decisions, could stay home and help elect Democrats. Turnouts are key in the midterms. Even in the short term, the Supreme Court could have dealt a setback to the Republican party.

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