“Liberty and Justice for All”: Roe v. Wade’s Betrayal


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ABSTRACT “Liberty and Justice for All”: Roe v. Wade’s Betrayal | Catholic World Report - Global Church news and views HOME ARCHIVED ARTICLES EDITORIAL CWR BLOG VIDEO ABOUT US NEWS BRIEFS / RSS FREE eNEWSLETTER DONATE ADVERTISE Current Issue:   Interview Interview “Liberty and Justice for All”: Roe v. Wade’s Betrayal January 21, 2013 Robert P. George on Roe ’s cultural and legal legacy, 40 years and 50 million lives later Jim Graves A pro-life activist demonstrates in front of Supreme Court in Washington in June 2012. (CNS photo/Reuters) Robert P. George, 57, a Roman Catholic and a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University, has long been a respected intellectual and defender of natural law. He served on the drafting committee of the 2009 Manhattan Declaration, which defended the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty, and was signed by more than 150 prominent Christian leaders. He has been outspoken in defense of the unborn and traditional marriage, and has influenced many well-known political leaders. The New York Times has dubbed him “the reigning brain of the Christian right”; Archbishop of Newark John Myers describes him as “the pre-eminent Catholic intellectual.” In a recent interview with CWR , he shared his thoughts on the infamous Roe v. Wade decision, which struck down the nation’s abortion laws. The 40th anniversary of the decision is January 22, 2013. Robert P. George (CNS photo/Paul Haring) CWR: As we mark the 40th anniversary of Roe , what is your opinion of the decision and how firmly entrenched is it in the legal community’s thinking? George: Roe has never been accepted by the American people as a whole as a valid constitutional decision. It is widely regarded, even among liberal academics, as poorly reasoned—at best. Many scholars and others (including more than a few who are not pro-life in their moral and political convictions) regard it as a glaring (and even embarrassing) example of the judicial usurpation of authority left by the Constitution in the hands of the people and their elected representatives. Even Roe ’s diehard supporters tend to defend it on the grounds that it is an “established precedent,” not on the grounds that it is correct as a matter of constitutional interpretation. CWR: Do you think there is a possibility of overturning Roe and sending the abortion issue back to the states? George: Yes, but it will entirely depend on the election of a Republican president in 2016. President Obama’s appointees, present and future, will vote to uphold Roe . They will not have very good arguments for doing so, but they will do it. I believe that currently four justices on the Supreme Court would overturn Roe if given the opportunity. If none of these justices retires or dies during the second Obama term, and if the next president is a Republican who nominates a faithful constitutionalist judge to replace one of the current pro- Roe justices, then Roe would finally go the way of Plessy v. Ferguson [the 1896 US Supreme Court decision that upheld state laws requiring racial segregation in public facilities; it established the so-called “separate but equal” principle] and other shameful decisions that blot the Supreme Court’s historical record.  CWR: In the years since you began publicly supporting the pro-life cause, how has the debate over abortion changed? George: People, including abortion’s supporters, have been forced to confront the truth about the humanity of the child in the womb. It is simply no longer possible to pretend not to know “when life begins” or whether abortion takes the life of a human being. The facts of human embryogenesis and early intrauterine development are not only clear, but reasonably well known. And sonography has given all of us a window into the beautiful life of the child in the womb. That, I believe, is why a majority of Americans now identify themselves as pro-life—for the first time since Roe v. Wade was handed down. CWR: Do you see more support now for the pro-life position among your students? Your colleagues? People involved in politics? George: Yes, the pro-life cause has greater support now among all age groups, especially younger people. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of professors cling to the “old-time religion” of a “right to abortion,” but academics these days are so deeply committed to social.......