Republican Senator Lindsey Graham: Roe v. Wade Precedent "Should Be Respected"

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks to reporters as he leaves the office of Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who is moderating bipartisan negotiations on immigration, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. President Donald Trump has given Congress until March to come up with a plan to protect the nearly 700,000 young people who had been protected from deportation and given the right to work legally in the country under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. Trump announced he was ending DACA last year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Since the announcement that Justice Anthony Kennedy would be retiring at the end of July, talk of revisiting Roe v. Wade has been at the forefront of political conversation.


Both the Left and the Right have passionate feelings about the abortion issue. Those who label themselves “pro-choice” are worried that a new conservative-leaning justice might spell doom for their cause. Meanwhile, those on the pro-life side see a glimmer of hope for the first time in decades.

Could the Supreme Court be set to consider abortion yet again?

If you ask Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Roe v. Wade should be respected. At least that is what he said on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press.

His main argument centers on stare decisis, which is Latin for “to stand by things decided.”

In an interview airing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Graham said that the 1973 decision has been reaffirmed “in many different ways” in subsequent rulings, and that the precedent should be respected.

“You don’t overturn precedent unless there’s a good reason,” Graham said.

“I would tell my pro-life friends: you can be pro-life and conservative, but you can also believe in stare decisis…”


I’ve never been a huge fan of Senator Graham, but this strikes me as odd, even for him. The “unless there’s good reason” response to the question of overturning is as lukewarm as it can get. As a self-described pro-life individual, the senator should have no problem stating that the issue of legal abortion may well be addressed, and should be addressed, by the high court. Furthermore, he should proudly state that the “good reason” he is seeking already exists. Our own Declaration of Independence lists “life” as the first of the three inalienable rights. The fundamental “right to life” is a God-given truth that stands regardless of the January 1973 decision, which ushered in an unborn holocaust of more than 60,000,000 dead.

I’d say the “good reason” you’re searching for already exists, Senator Graham.

But legally, there is, of course, a process to follow that may lead to reconsideration. This should be supported whether the decision is forty-five years old, as in the case of Roe v. Wade, or not.

On the most recent episode of The Right Side podcast, I asked our guest, Georgetown Law professor, Randy Barnett, the possibility of overturning the 1973 decision. Unsurprisingly, he said this would be the issue most discussed by the media in the lead-up to the selection of a new justice. Professor Barnett also mentioned that the 1992 Supreme Court decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey is what actually governs us now and not the 1973 decision of Roe v. Wade. Justice Anthony Kennedy was the swing vote in the Casey case and sided with the so-called woman’s right to choose up until the point of fetal viability. Once Justice Kennedy is no longer on the court, and no matter who replaces him, the revisiting of Planned Parenthood v. Casey is much more likely.


We still have a long way to go before possible reconsideration is even on the distant horizon, though.

For now, the uproar over President Trump’s chance to pick a second justice, and what that could possibly mean for both the pro-choice and pro-life crowds, is taking center stage.

Buckle up, folks. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Kimberly Ross is a senior contributor at RedState and a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.


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