Conservatives are salivating at the prospect that President Donald Trump will be able to install a third member to the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday. Such a move appears likely to accomplish their No. 1 goal: dismantling the abortion rights established in the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
Although Ginsburg made one last wish, asking not to be replaced “until a new president is installed” following this year’s election, Trump and Republican Senate leaders have made no attempt to conceal their desire to shove her replacement through the gears of Congress as quickly as possible.
And conservatives have begun to signal that they are preparing for a showdown on abortion rights, which Ginsburg, a feminist icon, had staunchly defended since being confirmed to the bench in 1993 as a decision women should be able to make for themselves.
Shortly after news surfaced of Ginsburg’s death made headlines, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) posted a scathing tweet: “RIP to the more than 30 million innocent babies that have been murdered during the decades that Ruth Bader Ginsburg defended pro-abortion laws. With [Trump] nominating a replacement that values human life, generations of unborn children have a chance to live.”
Collins, who is running for the GOP Senate nomination in Georgia against incumbent Kelly Loeffler, was excoriated for his callous message.
He was accused of “celebrating” Ginsburg’s death by Scott Dworkin, founder of the Democratic Coalition. Carolyn Bourdeaux, a Democratic House candidate from Collins’ state, called his message “wrong and despicable.”
But Collins refused to back down. On Saturday morning, as his name trended on Twitter, he doubled down.
“As a pastor and father, the issue of life is deeply personal to me,” he tweeted. “We’ve got our best chance in decades to strike down Roe V. Wade. Let’s take it.”
Collins was far from the only one openly acknowledging the opportunity tha suddenly looms for conservatives.
The Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s right to an abortion in Roe v. Wade and clarified what that right looks like in subsequent decisions, and the court takes precedent seriously. Yet because abortion rights are not enshrined in state law across much of the country, the high court wields the power to dramatically restrict access to abortion care.
On Saturday, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) reaffirmed his desire to install a new Supreme Court justice who would take a pickaxe to abortion rights.
“Two months ago, I pledged to vote only for #SCOTUS nominees who understand and acknowledge that Roe was wrongly decided,” he wrote in a tweet. “I stand by that commitment, and I call on my fellow Republican senators to take the same stand.”
The Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion right organization, called Ginsburg’s death a “turning point for the nation.”
The group said in a statement that “the pro-life grassroots have full confidence” that Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham “and every pro-life senator will move swiftly to fill this vacancy.”
Trump on Saturday declared his intention to replace Ginsburg “without delay,” and McConnell and Graham are backing that effort.
Several other anti-abortion groups expressed condolences over Ginsburg’s death while at the same time calling on the Republican-controlled Senate to approve an anti-abortion rights replacement quickly.
Students for Life claimed in a statement that past Supreme Court decisions have “made the deaths of more than 60 million baby boys and baby girls possible.”
Americans United for Life issued a press release urging Trump to choose Amy Coney Barrett, a 48-year-old judge on the Seventh Circuit federal appellate court. The group said it was “confident” Barrett would “prove herself a trusted caretaker of the Constitutional protections extended to every human person in America, including human lives in the womb.”
Barrett has openly criticized Roe v. Wade.