Despite a few centuries of experience as the epicenter of American politics, Washington seldom chooses the “been there, done that” path when a fresh frenzy is there for the taking.
So it is today in the nation’s capitol in the wake of the bombshell report (finally, an appropriate description) from Politico on the ruminations over abortion at the Supreme Court.
Yes, there have been some notable leaks before (including the original Roe v. Wade decision), but those were leaked in a matter of hours. That what we presume to be Justice Alito’s writings would be leaked perhaps two months before any announced decision is beyond shocking.
A little less unprecedented, but nonetheless jarring, is the aggressive language in the opinion that would not simply limit or amend Roe, but completely overturn a decision that was originally decided in a less than narrow fashion on a vote of 7-2. Precedence is seldom so resolutely trashed.
Should this be the actual decision coming this summer (and I find myself wondering if an extraordinary leak might lead to a similarly extraordinary comment or statement from the court), somewhere around half of the states would outlaw abortion at least to some degree, including Michigan. Which is why Gov. Whitmer has moved to strike down the state’s 1931 law to which Michigan would revert in the absence of Roe.
But, suddenly, a midterm election that seemed destined to rain misery on Democrats becomes a different gambit. Not entirely, mind you; even with redistricting, many races will remain reliably red or blue.
But polls, including the most recent WDIV/Detroit News poll, show about three quarters of Americans support Roe. And for 50 years, seeing it as a matter of settled law, that big majority has had no clarion call to the ballot box over abortion while those seeking its overturn have.
If you can tell me what that means for the midterms and for the future of abortion in America, I’m all ears.
Watch below: Our full interview with Barbara McQuade