So, the New York Times tells us, Harry Reid’s “nuclear option” to change Senate rules and ban filibusters of judicial nominations was driven by—surprise!—the desire of Senate Democrats to put radical pro-abortionists on the federal bench. Our self-proclaimed national “paper of record” sometimes has an uncanny ability to discover the obvious.
The Senate Democratic Caucus—minus three dissenters—decided to ban non-Supreme Court judicial-nominee filibusters because, reports the Times, it was upset that one federal appeals court had upheld Texas’s 2013 abortion control act and another had struck down Obamacare’s mandate requiring employers, conscientious objections notwithstanding, to pay for abortifacient drugs in employee health insurance plans. “From Texas to South Dakota to Wisconsin, federal courts across the country—many of them with vacancies that the president will now be able to fill—are seeing their dockets grow with challenges to restrictive new anti-abortion laws,” writes the Times.
The Times would like us to believe that pro-abortionists have only recently figured out that the federal courts are their barricades, keeping Roe v. Wade alive and well. “The issue has never been as powerful for liberals.”
Balderdash. The issue has been central to the pro-abortion agenda whenever Democrats have controlled the Senate. (It’s been less central to Republicans, which is why we got John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, and David Souter.) Democrats began the perversion of the judicial confirmation process with the hatchet job performed by the trio of then-Judiciary Committee Chairman (now Vice President) Joe Biden, present Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, and the late Ted Kennedy on Robert Bork, who had dared to suggest that Roe belonged in the dustbin of misbegotten jurisprudence.
The Times tells us, for example, that Barbara Boxer came over to the anti-filibuster side because of those appeals-court decisions. Her votes against John Roberts and Samuel Alito apparently gave us no inkling of her position. Neither, presumably, did her vote in favor of a losing 2006 filibuster against Alito.
Democrat fealty to abortion extremism is clear in deed, although rarely in word. Semantically, it’s always cloaked in euphemisms and code language. Like Barack Obama’s paean to Planned Parenthood’s abortion business, which managed to avoid the “a—” word. Like attacks on Texas’s “extreme” abortion law, which imposes the unreasonable demand that a doctor performing an abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital somewhere within a thirty-mile radius. (Can you spell c-a-r-p-e-t-b-a-g-g-e-r?) Like charges that Republicans want to “ideologically pack the [D.C. Circuit] court” when, in fact, that is precisely what the President wants to do with judges who think, for example, that abstinence education is an unconstitutional establishment of religion, ahead of likely Constitutional challenges before that bench to the regulatory rules of Obamacare. Like the Senate Democratic Caucus itself which, in mauvaise foi, would ban judicial filibusters except for Supreme Court nominees (where they just might want to pull a Wendy Davis talk-a-thon). As Paul Greenberg noted, verbicide generally precedes homicide.
The fact is that abortion extremism, generally though not always veiled, remains the litmus test for national advance in the Democrat Party. What these “true believers” could never get through a democratically elected legislature they “enact” by judicial fiat (or by “raw judicial power,” as Byron White, a Democrat-appointed Supreme Court Justice, wrote in dissent in Roe). “The courts are critically important backstops for . . . abortion,” the Times quotes Jennifer Dalven, ACLU “Reproductive Freedom Project” Director. True, because as Mary Ann Glendon noted two decades ago, “rights talk” sounds noble while simultaneously providing both the camouflage and the power to gut real democratic process.
David Yves Braun is a sometimes contributor to the Human Life Review.
 Jeremy W. Peters, “Abortion Cases in Court Helped Tilt Democrats Against the Filibuster,” New York Times, November 29, 2013, available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/30/us/politics/abortion-cases-in-court-helped-tilt-democrats-against-the-filibuster.html
 Senator Jeff Merkley, Congressional Record, November 20, 2013, p. S-8295.