So it turns out that the 1857 decision Dred Scott v. Sandford, which President Bush clumsily referenced during Friday's debate after a question about who he might name to the Supreme Court, was not an absurd non sequitur. For more than a decade, abortion opponents have likened Roe v Wade, which legalized abortion, to the reviled Dred Scott case--in which a slave sued for his freedom and lost--on the legal theory that slaves cannot be citizens and have no rights under the U.S. Constitution. (Ironically, that decision was arguably in line with so-called "strict constructionists" in its day, but nevermind that). Today, among a segment of the anti-abortionists, Roe is Dred's equal in the pantheon of bad supreme court decisions.
, dating from 1994.
So while most people scratched their heads in befuddlement, Bush's digression on Friday signaled his base once again that he will, if given the opportunity, appoint a judge who is ready, willing and able to overturn Roe and outlaw abortion in all 50 states. Given that many observers think
, Bush's veiled reference is worth pondering for voters on all sides of this issue.
for this one.