In 1973, nine men in black robes uprooted the American system of government by concocting a constitutional right to abortion. If you tilt your head, use a magnifying glass, and look at the Constitution under the right light, you’ll see “penumbras” in the Bill of Rights that protect a woman’s right to choose. But the barbaric practice of abortion, which has taken the lives of 62 million American children in the almost half century since Roe, could soon be coming to an end in the United States.
On Monday, Politico published a leaked draft of the majority opinion in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case. The opinion, written by Associate Justice Samuel Alito, would overturn Roe.
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled,” Alito writes. “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”
Like their pro-choice forebears in 1973, Democrats’ response to this leak from the Supreme Court is to push for the upheaval of yet another American institution of government: Ending the filibuster.
Progressives were quick to pounce on the opportunity to pressure Democratic colleagues into scrapping the old Senate rule.
Former Democratic presidential candidate and Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, less than an hour after the news broke that the Supreme Court could overturn Roe, tweeted, “Congress must pass legislation that codifies Roe v. Wade as the law of the land in this country NOW. And if there aren’t 60 votes in the Senate to do it, and there are not, we must end the filibuster to pass it with 50 votes.”
Members of the progressive “squad” in the House said the draft opinion proved that it’s time for the Democratic-led Congress to not only put an end to the filibuster but to pack the Supreme Court as well.
Ilhan Omar, a Democratic Representative from Minnesota, tweeted, “Overturning Roe would put the lives of women across the country at risk. It would fly in the face of decades of precedent and the overwhelming majority of public opinion.”
And they will not stop here,” Omar’s tweet added. On that, she’s right.
A subsequent tweet from Omar added, “Congress must also abolish the filibuster and pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe v. Wade into law.”
Black Lives Matter-activist turned Missouri Rep. Cori Bush struck a similar tone on Twitter:
Abolish the filibuster. Codify Roe. Expand the Supreme Court. Protect abortion rights by any means necessary.
We need all of the above. This is an emergency.
As did Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib. “This will endanger the very people who need access to legal abortion. The Senate must pass the House legislation to codify Roe, #AbolishTheFilibuster, and #ExpandSCOTUS,” Tlaib tweeted.
“Safe abortions are still legal and we must keep it that way,” she added, as if to suggest women should get ‘em while they still can.
It goes without saying that the progressive’s pipe dream of finishing the job FDR started in 1937 is unlikely. But progressives are properly reading the room. By staking out a position for both ending the filibuster and Supreme Court reform early on in the reinvigorated fight over the filibuster and the Supreme Court, they may be able to continue to rid the Democratic caucus of members that support keeping the filibuster.
Case and point: three Senators who addressed protestors who gathered in front of the Supreme Court today.
Amy Klobuchar was the first Senator to address the crowd, a hodgepodge of abortion activists, college students, parents forcing their children to hold pro-abortion signs, journalists, and passersby.
“The fight has just begun,” Klobuchar stated to open her brief remarks. “We will take this fight to the state houses, and we will take this fight to the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate right across the street… We will do everything to codify Roe v Wade into federal law.”
“If we really want to get this done, you learned this from the voting bill, how many votes do we need? We need 60 votes. But not if we get rid of that archaic Senate procedure called the filibuster!” Klobuchar said to a raucous applause.
But Klobuchar is a newcomer to the faction of Democratic lawmakers who want to put an end to the filibuster. She first gave her full-throated endorsement of ditching the filibuster to Mother Jones last March.
Though in her endorsement of ending the filibuster Klobuchar claimed she “favored filibuster reform for a long time,” Klobuchar was among 31 Democratic Senators who signed a letter in 2017 in support of maintaining the filibuster.
The 2017 letter, a bipartisan effort spearheaded by Republican Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, asked then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer “to preserve existing rules, practices, and traditions as they pertain to the rights of Members to engage in extended debate on legislation.”
“We are steadfastly committed to ensuring that this great American institution continues to serve as the world’s greatest deliberative body,” the letter added.
Of course, this was the last time Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress and the presidency, and Democrats were using the filibuster to hold up the Trump administration’s executive and judicial appointments.
Klobuchar isn’t the only senator who changed their tune on filibuster reform in the past year. Richard Blumenthal, a Democratic Senator from Connecticut, also told the crowd that Democrats should end the filibuster to ensure the slaughtering of innocents can continue unabated. Back in 2014, just days after it became clear Republicans would take control of the Senate, Blumenthal said in an MSNBC interview that he would use the filibuster to ensure Republicans could not repeal Obamacare.
Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen also previously supported the filibuster, but also told those who gathered in front of the Supreme Court Tuesday that he will fight to end the filibuster in the Senate.
Nevertheless, Democrats still don’t have the majority it would require to set a new Senate precedent that kills the filibuster. In response to the leaked Alito draft, Joe Manchin, the most powerful Joe in Washington, told members of the media that “the filibuster is a protection of democracy.” A spokesperson for Democratic Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema also reportedly told Axios that Sinema’s opinion on the filibuster has not changed, despite the leaked opinion. Without Manchin and Sinema’s support, Democrats are unlikely to end the filibuster.
Which explains why Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, though he called Alito’s draft opinion an “abomination,” has not come out in support of ending the filibuster in light of the news. Schumer supports protecting abortion via federal legislation, and is likely to try and get Republicans on record voting against the codification of Roe under the misguided premise that abortion radicalism will help Democrats come November.
“The blame for this decision falls squarely on Republican senators” who voted to confirm Trump’s nominations to the Supreme Court, Schumer said.
Thank God they did. Let’s pray they hold the line and put a well-overdue end to this evil.