October 06, 2008

Supremes Return; Abortion Tops Obama Court’s Agenda

Today marks the beginning of the last Supreme Court term of the George W. Bush era. The Court’s 2008-09 docket is not yet filled, but it already includes important and colorful cases involving expletives broadcast live, marine mammals annoyed by Navy sonar, the "Seven Aphorisms of Summum" vs. the Ten Commandments, and personally liability for former AG John Ashcroft. Equally important cases this term involve Title IX, the Voting Rights Act, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and the Clean Water Act.

For CFJ Executive Director Curt Levey’s thoughts on the new Supreme Court term, click here to see his interview on CBN News.

One result of a Barack Obama win in November would be an increased likelihood of seeing a different lineup on the Court at this time next year. The three Justices most likely to retire – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, John Paul Stevens, and David Souter – are among the Court’s liberals and may well hold out for the next four years if John McCain becomes president.

We won’t speculate about who Obama would appoint to the High Court because it’s little more than a guessing game. Somewhat easier to predict are the legal changes that would result if Obama had a chance to replace Justices Scalia or Kennedy, who will both be 80 years old if they live to see the end of an 8-year Obama presidency. With that in mind, we reprise below our popular “Top Ten Things to Expect from an Obama Supreme Court.”

We call particular attention to item #1 on the list – “requiring taxpayers to fund essentially unlimited abortion rights” – in light of Obama’s extreme views on abortion. If you doubt that characterization, recall that as an Illinois state senator in 2003, Obama led the fight to kill an Illinois bill protecting "infants who are born alive" as the result of an abortion. The Born-Alive Infants Protection bill (Illinois SB 1082) was virtually identical to a federal law of the same name that was enacted in 2002 without a dissenting vote in the House or Senate. The point is that it’s likely Obama will look for Supreme Court nominees who share his out-of-the-mainstream views on abortion.

To be fair, Obama denies that the Illinois bill was virtually identical to the federal law. But FactCheck.org found that
“Obama voted in committee against the 2003 state bill that was nearly identical to the federal act he says he would have supported. Both contained identical clauses saying that nothing in the bills could be construed to affect legal rights of an unborn fetus.”
#10 – expanding and perpetuating the use of racial preferences
#9 – creating new constitutional rights to physician-assisted suicide and human cloning
#8 – expanding judicial oversight of military detentions and CIA interrogations
#7 – prohibiting tuition vouchers for religious schools
#6 – banning the death penalty
#5 – creating new constitutional rights to massive government welfare and medical care programs
#4 – stripping "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance
#3 – eroding property rights
#2 – ordering all 50 states to bless gay marriage
#1 – requiring taxpayers to fund essentially unlimited abortion rights
(list is based on Stuart Taylor’s 7/26/08 National Journal column)