The Gorsuch Test

Every time I see the name of Judge Neil Gorsuch in a headline, my mind re-imagines the news story to be talking about Rorschach tests. It's an apt metaphor. A psychologist could slide a photo of Gorsuch in front of you and find your response just as informative as how you perceive Rorschach's ink blots and smudges. Two people can view the same image; one is inspired and the other discouraged. It depends on your personality and emotional state.

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Before we talk about the current Supreme Court nominee, we need to take a trip back in time. So get in your DeLorean, your TARDIS, your phonebooth, your WABAC Machine, or any other time travelling vehicle. Our destination is the year 2000.

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The vice president (a Democrat) was facing off in the presidential campaign against a governor from Texas. This Texan, Republican George W Bush, wanted to re-brand his party as compassionate conservatives. Like most Republicans - especially those from the Bible Belt, Bush Jr. described himself as ardently pro-life. As a presidential candidate, he stated, "I believe every life is valuable, even when it is unwanted, even when it is physically imperfect. I believe our society has a responsibility to defend the vulnerable and the weak. And I believe our nation should set a goal: that unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law." Bush wanted to create what he called a "culture of life" and frequently talked about reducing the number of abortions performed in America. During a debate against Al Gore, Bush said, "Surely this nation can come together to promote the value of life." Bush won largely due to the Evangelical vote who supported his pro-life stance. Many of those Christian Right voters believed George W Bush would be the one who would overturn Roe vs. Wade.

Jump back into your time machines and travel to the next presidential election. Abortions were still legal and Roe vs. Wade was still law. Yet President Bush maintained his pro-life views. During his acceptance speech at the GOP convention, he said, "a caring society will value its weakest members. We must make a place for the unborn child." And during his 2005 State of the Union address, Bush repeatedly mentioned building a culture of life.

Another trip through the space time continuum brings us four years closer to the present. Bush Jr was coming to the end of his presidency. Abortion remained legal and religious conservatives did not get their wish to see Roe vs Wade undone. Many right-wing advocacy groups criticized Bush's moderate approach to abortion. Prolife Profiles hold President Bush accountable for the deaths of over three million children. They described his mother, wife, and two daughters as openly pro-abortion. American Right to Life said, "far from being a pro-life hero, former president Bush is typical of the modern Republican hypocrisy on child killing and guilty of the mass murder of millions of innocent children."

The Democrat candidate that year was a young senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. He supported women's right to choose and the Christian Right campaigned hard against him due to his stance on abortion. Many Christians referred to Obama as a gleeful baby-killer as if he was excited to see women abort their babies. His actual beliefs were far from how conservatives thought of him. He didn't like abortion. His goal was to reduce how frequently they were provided in America while maintaining the right for women to choose to terminate their pregnancies. I even wrote a post about it and as a result was told that I should be ashamed of myself. A family friend said I was everything that was wrong with America and I was going to Hell.

A funny thing happened in 2008. The Christian Right lost. The little known liberal and rookie politician beat out the well known and established candidate. Obama became the president and right wingers everywhere predicted doom. Then another funny thing happened. What Obama hoped to see in the issue of abortion actually came to pass. During his presidency, less abortions were provided. According to the CDC, in the ten years spanning from the start of Bush Jr's second term through Obama's sixth year in office, the number of abortions dropped by 20%, the rate was reduced by 21%, and the ratio experienced a 17% loss.

Now let's return to the present time. Please leave all historical figures and companions in their own timelines and avoid any grandfather paradoxes.

Party on, dudes!

I don't know many people who like Trump. Even in Idaho (the reddest of red states) most people I encounter are disgusted by our President. Yet many of those same people voted for him. Some were straight party voters who refuse to elect a Democrat; these people would probably vote for Satan as long as there was the magical letter R next to his name on the ballot. Others voted for him because they couldn't stand the thought of another President Clinton. And there were those who voted for Trump because of one singular issue: his promise to nominate a pro-life judge to the Supreme Court and finally overturn Roe vs Wade. I even heard one local resident say, "I can't stand his policies, and I think he's a racist, but at least he's pro-life." Even that claim is sketchy. Trump's spoken stance on abortion changes as frequently as the seasons.

I wish to address this last group of people, the single issue voters. Are you happy now? Did you get what you wanted? This week, we've been watching the confirmation hearings for Judge Gorsuch. When asked if he and Trump had any discussion about Roe vs Wade, Gorsuch denied giving any indication that he would overturn the landmark court ruling. He adamantly stated, "That's not what judges do." Gorsuch admitted that Roe vs Wade has been "reaffirmed many times" and is a case with important precedence. If he is confirmed, he is the kind of judge that will continue to uphold, not reject Roe vs Wade. So dear Trump voters, those of you who only voted for him so you could get the judge who would outlaw abortion, it looks like Trump has broken his promise. If Gorsuch is your Rorschach test, do you like what you see? Do you have regrets?

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