America’s Declaration of Independence referenced our Creator endowing unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Does that mean life from the moment of conception/fertilization? Is there a fetal right to life?
Do our founding documents stand for banning abortion? And abortifacients? Prospective Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett may soon decide. Judge Barrett is the darling of the pro-life movement for good reason. She has walked their talk.
Judge Barrett and her lawyer husband, Jesse Barrett, adopted two Haitian children. The Barretts have five other children, including a beautiful Down Syndrome boy named Benjamin. Many can relate to her attending a small liberal arts college, and a terrific non-Ivy League law school. How can you not root for the Barretts? They are the American dream.
But not so fast. Barrett’s nomination may extend a nightmare for Colorado Republicans who cannot win a statewide race. Colorado trailblazed America’s abortion rights laws. In 1967, freshman Rep. Richard Lamm (a future three-term governor) introduced America’s first pro-choice law.
Lamm’s bill easily passed a Republican dominated legislature before being signed by GOP Gov. John Love, who was soon re-elected.
Rowe v. Wade created controversy in 1973 with a 7-2 opinion announcing women had constitutional rights to abortions. If Roe is overturned by the likes of Justice Barrett, the public debate over abortion will expand.
Every debate among legislative candidates will descend to arguments about abortion. We know how this debate goes in Colorado. Republicans lose.
In 2008, a ballot initiative in Colorado known as the Personhood Amendment boldly sought to outlaw abortion by asserting Colorado’s constitutional personal rights “shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization.” Amendment 48 lost 75-25.
A slight variation by pro-lifers was attempted in 2010. The “fertilization” language was changed to “from the beginning of the biological development of that human being.” Amendment 62, Colorado’s Fetal Personhood Initiative, lost 70-30.
Forget those votes. The biggest vote for pro-lifers will be the vote upcoming in the U.S. Senate to confirm Barrett. The next big vote happens when five or more Supreme Court justices vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
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Americans by and large support Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to choose. This is especially true in Colorado. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, states will decide, and women in Colorado will surely retain an unfettered right to a first-trimester abortion. Women in the Bible Belt will face different laws.
Amy Coney Barrett was impressive at her Saturday introduction. Expect confirmation. Dems might be wise to boycott. Better to complain outside the hearing room about the process, which has been unfair to Barack Obama, the Democrats, Merrick Garland and the will of the American people.
The pro-life side cares not about this unfairness. All is fair in protecting the lives of their zygotes and embryos.
As for humans outside the womb, the GOP wants people to fend for themselves to find pandemic aid and medical care. Judging by the lack of masks and social distancing at her opening White House ceremony, and given her announced opposition to Obamacare, Barrett has demonstrated some Trumpiness.
Donald Trump wants to ride to electoral victory on the morality and credentials of Judge Barrett. This is the only voting outcome that truly motivates Trump.
Calling her a brilliant legal mind and extraordinary scholar, Trump told his Saturday night campaign crowd in Pennsylvania that Barrett was a better student than Joe Biden and she should be running for president. If only it could happen, and she could run instead of Trump.
Judge Barrett possesses morality. Donald Trump, as Ted Cruz so accurately announced in 2016, is a serial philanderer, pathological liar and utterly amoral.
So what the heck’s going on here? It must be the art of the deal. Trump pretends he’s pro-life and the religious right pretends he’s not amoral.
But what about the rest of us? Do we have a voice? Will our votes be counted? How can we trust Trump when he proclaims, if he loses, he may not leave because the election will have been rigged? Trump’s irresponsibility and cheating have no limits.
Someday, and it might be soon, Justice Barrett may be the critical swing vote in a decision regarding the re-election and/or imprisonment of Donald Trump. If Dems aim their fire at Trump and Mitch McConnell, and not Barrett, perhaps she and other Trump judicial appointees will rule against Trump as his actions become even more reprehensible and indefensible.
Or better yet, the president is so clearly repudiated in November that Trump’s complaints will be comparable to arguing the Broncos got cheated in their first four Super Bowls.
Joe Biden is a far better person than Donald Trump. Biden is a devout Catholic who could win convincingly in November. So should John Hickenlooper, who remains the luckiest politician in Colorado.
Democrats can win big this November if they don’t go overboard opposing Barrett personally. Once normality is restored, it would be nice returning to regular checks and balances. A conservative Supreme Court may restrain liberal excesses. Oh, for normal times again. Let’s make it happen.
Craig Silverman is a former Denver chief deputy DA who also has worked in the media for decades. Craig is columnist at large for The Colorado Sun. He practices law at the Denver law firm of Springer & Steinberg, P.C. and is host of The Craig Silverman Show podcast.
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