Jennifer, I don’t think any presidential candidate can or should guarantee how their judicial nominees will rule on any issue. My point is that Giuliani’s own views about Roe call into question his legal philosophy and make him the candidate pro-lifers should be least comfortable with even on judges (we’re not yet at the general election, where they might get more comfortable). There isn’t much point in having public litmus tests for potential judges, but you can evaluate the records of the potential presidents who would be nominating them. And I do think Giuliani should have to answer some questions about the legislation I mentioned.
Can I envision a scenario where President Giuliani turns out to be a boon for pro-lifers? Sure. A Democratic Senate, like me, might consider Giuliani’s judicial nominees less likely to overturn Roe than Bush’s. They might be more willing to confirm them on that basis. Given Giuliani’s closeness with people like Estrada and Olson, and given the existence of groups like the Federalist Society, they may actually turn out to be Scalia and Thomas-style judges.
It wouldn’t be the first time a perceived setback for pro-lifers has benefited them. The 1992 Casey decision upheld Roe but also set the stage for pro-life gains in the 1990s by permitting parental-notification laws and late-term restrictions while keeping more sweeping (and less popular) bans off the table. The clinic access law signed by Bill Clinton helped reduce violence at clinics and generally give the pro-life movement a more mainstream image.
So Giuliani could turn out to be a delightful surprise for pro-lifers, even if they have to be dragged kicking and screaming toward accepting him. But given the history of judicial nominees by Republican presidents with considerably more conservative views on abortion and Roe, I wouldn’t bet that way.
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