As the issue of abortion rights surges in importance for voters in 2022, the re-election campaign for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is making sure that Coloradans understand that one of the most important tests for a candidate for U.S. Senate is their support for the Supreme Court Justices who voted to essentially overturn Roe v. Wade in June.
Bennet’s campaign is up with a new television ad on the abortion issue that highlights the fact that Republican candidate Joe O’Dea has been clear that he would have backed all of the recent SCOTUS nominees whose decision on Dobbs v. Jackson eliminated the federal right to an abortion:
Senator Bennet explained the importance of O’Dea’s support for the SCOTUS Justices who overturned Roe during an appearance this week on the Get More Smarter Podcast:
“I mean, that is a pitiful position to be in.”
— Sen. Michael Bennet (the Get More Smarter Podcast (Aug. 2022)
BENNET: Most importantly, he says he would have voted for all of Trump’s radical Supreme Court nominees, KNOWING that they voted to reverse Roe v. Wade. It’s one thing…if you’d said on the front end — certainly I think it would have been a huge mistake for a Senator representing Colorado on the front end to say, ‘I’m going to vote for one of these people because I’m going to take it on faith that they’re not going to reverse Roe,’ that would have been one thing. But he has the benefit of knowing that they actually led the reversal of Roe v. Wade, and still he says he would have voted for them. [Pols emphasis]
So, you know, Colorado’s not going to be suckered by what he’s saying about this. They understand that he’s trying to make a political position. What’s more important than all of this is that we have just lost the first fundamental right — the first fundamental Constitutional right in American history. We’ve never lost a right before.
As Axios Denver explains today:
O’Dea’s comments on abortion are the latest example of the candidate embracing conservative viewpoints and putting guardrails on his middle-of-the-road reputation.
The other most obvious juxtaposition is how he claimed to be in favor of maintaining Roe v. Wade’s protections, yet acknowledged he would have supported Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.
O’Dea has talked himself in circles in an effort to stake out a less-offensive position on abortion rights, but his firm stance of support in favor of the Supreme Court Justices who overturned Roe v. Wade makes the rest of his dancing a moot point.
I like Bennet and I understand that political campaigning calls for overstatement. But this is so false. Biggest counter example – during reconstruction African-Americans in the South had full political rights and a modicum of equal civil rights. And during redemption that was all taken away.
There are other examples. Another is women had the right to vote in New Jersey in the late 1700’s.
On your counter examples … those were erosions of practice, not elimination of Constitutional rights that had been explicitly recognized by the Court and then overturned. At least, that's the position a number of Constitutional Law professors have argued. And I suspect Bennet is willing to go along with that.
Passage & ratification of Amendments 13, 14 & 15 granted the rights. Federal efforts in the Reconstruction era substantially allowed broader practice of those rights. Backlash in the Jim Crow era and the second generation of the KKK diminished them. But the Court could not declare the RIGHTS to not exist. So, there were discriminatory practices (poll taxes, literacy tests and so on)
Closest example I can think of was the Supreme Court explicitly endorsing interning citizens of Japanese descent in Korematsu v. United States (a 6-3 majority). Even there, the Court rationalized the move by claiming it was "a “military necessity” not based on race." The dissent was scathing: Justice Jackson
Well, Americans, at least in some states, had the right to own slaves prior to the 13th Amendment. Not all constitutional rights are good things and some deserve to be lost.
I liked Bennet's ad where he's fly fishing and talking about protecting public lands. Except that 8 inch brown he caught (by himself!) is sad, Michael. Dude!