Anthony Kennedy’s America

Anthony Kennedy’s America

Gun News

© Getty Images Thirty-one years ago, in response to Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Judge Bork to the Supreme Court, Ted Kennedy took to the Senate floor to prophesy the horrors that would ensue in “ Robert Bork’s America ” were the nominee confirmed. Bork’s qualifications were beyond question, but his mortal sin proved to be his candid support for the notion that a constitutional provision’s meaning was fixed at the time of its adoption and that Supreme Court decisions to the contrary were not interpretations but usurpations. After Bork’s nomination was rejected, then-Judge Anthony Kennedy (no relation to the senator) disavowed that heresy and was confirmed to the open seat. With Justice Kennedy’s retirement , the time is ripe to compare Anthony Kennedy’s America, in which we live, with Robert Bork’s America, to the extent it can be justly imagined (not as it was slanderously caricatured by Sen. Kennedy). One consequence of Bork’s confirmation would have been the court’s repudiation of Roe v. Wade . (Justice Kennedy cast the decisive vote to preserve Roe in 1992.) Reversal of Roe , it should be remembered, would not have made abortion illegal. Rather, it would have returned the issue to state legislatures. Some states would have revived strict legal limits; others would have ratified the court-imposed regime of choice. The court itself would have receded from the controversy. The debate about abortion was part of a broader debate about the Supreme Court’s “privacy” decisions, all of which Bork renounced. As a […]

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