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NRL News
Page 18
April/May 2010
Volume 37
Issue 4-5

Public Refuses to Give the “Right” Answer

By Dave Andrusko

If you’ve followed the discussion about choosing a successor to retiring pro-abortion Justice John Paul Stevens, you know there is a concerted drive on to make the case that someone other than a judge would be a good choice—a.k.a. a politician or an academician. It’s making zero headway, as the results of a poll published in the April 30 Washington Post make clear. (That poll also tells us something very interesting how people respond to a question about abortion, as we will see in a second.)

Some Senate Democrats and legal activists are advising President Obama to look beyond the ‘judicial monastery’ to find a replacement for retiring Justice John Paul Stevens, but the public does not seem to share that view,” write Robert Barnes and Jennifer Agiesta. “A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that judicial experience is the most valued quality among a list of professional and personal characteristics. Seven in 10 say service as a judge is a positive quality for a Supreme Court nominee, while only 5 percent see it as a negative. In contrast, 35 percent view experience outside the legal world as a positive.”

Noteworthy is that the public is also not buying into the pro-abortion Democratic mantra that the Court under Chief Justice John Roberts is engaging in “judicial activism.”

The Post-ABC poll also shows a change in the way Americans view the court,” according to the story. “Even though Obama and the Democratic leadership in the Senate have complained that the court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has become too ‘activist’ and conservative, the public sees things differently. Overall, 46 percent say the current court is balanced in its decisions, a figure basically unchanged from when the question was asked three years ago. But now, 26 percent consider it too liberal, compared with 21 percent who say it is too conservative. Three years ago, 31 percent called the Supreme Court’s rulings too conservative and 18 percent thought they were too liberal.”

As for the question about abortion, Barnes and Agiesta tell us, “On Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion, six in 10 want the next justice to vote to uphold Roe, while 38 percent say it should be overturned.” Interestingly, they add, “Although the share in favor of upholding the ruling has held about even, the number in favor of overturning it is the highest in Post-ABC polling since 2005, with the increase spurred largely by a shift among Republicans.”

Five years ago 32% said they would want the next Justice to overturn Roe. An upward push of 6% is very significant.

And consider how underwhelming is the way the case is described: “The Supreme Court legalized abortion 37 years ago in the ruling known as Roe versus Wade.”

But what if the question stated, “37 years ago the Supreme Court overturned the abortion laws of all 50 states, creating a regime of abortion on demand which has resulted in over 50 million abortions. If that case came before the court again, would you want the next justice to vote to (uphold) Roe versus Wade, or vote to (overturn) it?”

To ask the question is to answer it.