Single-Issue Voters And The Courts

There are plenty of reasons to criticize the single-issue voters who are willing to put up with a mentally-ill, deeply-corrupt President if they think their votes will translate into the nomination and confirmation of “conservative” judges–defined as judges likely to overrule Roe v. Wade. 

Unfortunately, “conservative” judicial candidates able to pass the right’s litmus test aren’t just reliably anti-choice. Individuals who are willing to ignore stare decisis and the multiple complexities of women’s situations in order to criminalize the termination of pregnancy don’t approach that decision in a vacuum.

Scholars who have researched the differences between pro-life and pro-choice activists have concluded that both positions are elements of far more comprehensive world-views, some religious, some not.

Pro-life activism more often than not includes the belief that men and women are intrinsically different–and that, as a result of those differences (as one study has put it), men are best suited for the public world of work, while women are best suited to rearing children. These worldviews frequently include homophobia, and often a (selective) rejection of science.

Lawyers who argue that government has the right to decide such intimate matters for individual women are conservative only in the sense that they elevate “tradition” over the limitations that the Bill of Rights places on state power. They tend to see the United States as a “Christian nation,” and are thus willing to rule in accordance with the beliefs of (some) Christian denominations and to ignore the doctrines of denominations or religions that do not consider abortion or homosexuality sinful.

I do not think it overstates the case to assert that a significant number of the “conservative” lawyers being elevated to the federal bench aren’t simply anti-choice; they are anti-modernity.

I thought about the consequences of staffing the federal courts with people who define conservatism in this very narrow way when I saw news about a recent case involving the EPA.

In a victory for science and public health, a federal court determined that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cannot exclude scientists who have received EPA research grants—who happen to be mainly academic scientists from research universities—from serving on its advisory panels. The change, made by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, had a silencing effect on public health studies.

The court’s decision in the case, which was brought by NRDC in 2019, “affirms the role of science in protecting our environment and public health,” says Jon Devine, director of federal water policy for NRDC’s Nature Program. “This is a victory for basic truth and good governance.”

Pruitt claimed that his 2017 directive reduced bias on the EPA’s nearly two dozen advisory panels, which offer scientific expertise that then guide policy decisions on environmental pollutants, such as industrial chemicals or airborne particles from power plants. But unsurprisingly, Pruitt’s rule was not extended to scientists and consultants with ties to chemical or fossil fuel companies, allowing the agency to soon fill some open seats with industry insiders who disputed the known harm of pollutants, like ozone and PFOA.

Devine calls the now-debunked plan a “pernicious scheme to stack the deck in favor of big polluters by trying to shut out the voices of scientists—all to pump more pollution into our lives.”

The ruling was handed down by Judge Denise Cote for the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, after several courts had tossed similar claims.

It’s safe to assume that Judge Cote was not a Trump appointee–NPR recently reported that 70% of Trump’s judicial appointments have been white men. (As of last August, he had not nominated a single African American or a single Latinx to the appellate courts.)

And speaking of terrifying world-views,

Dozens of those nominees have refused to answer whether they support the Supreme Court’s holding in Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 opinion that said racial segregation of public schools is unconstitutional.

I wonder how many of the people who voted for Trump because they oppose Roe v. Wade will be equally happy with the other decisions these “conservatives” will inevitably hand down?


  1. How many of McConnell’s quickly appointed “conservative” judges are women? How many of McConnell’s quickly appointed “conservative” judges are black, or Hispanic? How many of McConnell’s quickly appointed “conservative” judges have actual judicial experience to qualify them for appointment? I won’t ask if any are gay. I will ask if there is information about any of these appointees having charges filed against them, such as Kavannaugh, and had those charges ignored or dismissed with no hearing?

    “I do not think it overstates the case to assert that a significant number of the “conservative” lawyers being elevated to the federal bench aren’t simply anti-choice; they are anti-modernity.”

  2. There’s one thing for sure, these right-wing judges aren’t going to change their views without a darn good reason to do so, nothing less than the “Wrath of God.”

  3. I continue to be astounded by the large number of otherwise intelligent people who “go along to get along” in some misguided idea that they are serving the country and not the dictator. I think of the woman who once was part of the Obama Administration who jumped right in to help Mike Pence “handle” the corona virus crisis. She will be helping to contain the bad news not the virus along with a man who is not a doctor, has no scientific education or background, who in the recent past was responsible for a HIV outbreak in his home state, and has backed all sorts of anti-science measures by the Trump Administration.
    It’s time for a little Gandhi…. “Non-cooperation with evil is a sacred duty.”

  4. Marv,

    The wrath of God won’t be sufficient to sway these ideologues. First, where was God’s wrath during all the other unspeakable horrors mankind visited upon itself…like the Holocaust? Second, the fantasyland of churches of all faiths have predicated their existence on the control of men over women. The health and decision-making for reproductive health given to women is anathema to what these churches have decided to dictate.

    When we say “right-wing” judges, we’re really talking about Federalist Society judges who are arch-conservative in the Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan/Donald Regan mold. This “society” has given us Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh on the SCOTUS bench, all appointed by Republican presidents. When the Federal court system is finally filled with these ideologues, our system of checks, balances and fairness will be replaced by medieval interpretations and our Constitution will be further shredded.

    Yes, it is about control. Control and power. The control of women is the main pillar for the existence of so-called conservative ideology. I think the answer to the question of “why” this is the way it is goes back to the very beginnings of human existence. These judges are the latest iteration of cave men.

  5. And I’ll bet that most if not all of the candidates who won’t express an opinion on Brown v. Board of Education will be happy to say they believe in stare decisis.

  6. Vernon,

    “Marv, The wrath of God won’t be sufficient to sway these ideologues.” You’re right. I was only daydreaming. What about a REVOLUTION, would that do the job?

  7. Marv,

    Revolutions can be very messy. One is never assured of the outcome. As with all groups seeking ideological control, there are power struggles that ultimately ruin the idealism of said revolution.

    On the other hand, calling Bernie’s movement a revolution is something of a non sequitur. His base policies are not much different than FDR’s second bill of rights. That said, it was FDR’s uncle who called for basically the same programs. So, why weren’t these idealistic plans put into place for all time? Who would fight equality, fairness, health, education and decent housing? Republicans and their donors, that’s who.

    Capitalism, left to the plutocrats will create a dystopia of UN-equality…just as Marx prophesied. Republicans adore these plutocrats, because they acquire money, wealth and power from them. What they don’t grasp is the fact that they’ve made themselves into the whores of monied interests. Egalitarianism will never be achieved until the monied class is OUT of our politics. I doubt this will happen is what’s left of my life. Too bad. Only a revolution will do this – one not unlike the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, but without the mass murders….I would hope.

    I’m glad I’m old.

  8. Is there really any such thing as a “single issue voter?” I’d be willing to bet that those who applaud the anti-choice judges would also applaud the reversal of Brown.

    I wonder what God thinks about those who tell us that anything is all part of his plan? Maybe his only plan was to put us here and watch how many times we can screw it all up. To quote that great philosopher Yogi Berra, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

    If we can get Democratic majorities in both House and Senate and the Presidency, we can begin a movement for an independent Federal judicial review board. The purpose of this board would be to investigate complaints and compile evidence to present to Congress for impeachment of judges who are either incompetent or crooked. The first category should take care of most of the 2017 – 2020 appointees. Take these decisions away from SCOTUS.

  9. Vernon @ 8:43 am “On the other hand, calling Bernie’s movement a revolution is something of a non sequitur. His base policies are not much different than FDR’s second bill of rights. That said, it was FDR’s uncle who called for basically the same programs. So, why weren’t these idealistic plans put into place for all time?”

    I agree with your statement that Bernie’s policies are built on what FDR started. The Why answer at least IMHO, began in the 1980’s when the Democratic Party started turning to the Right and then embraced Wall Street instead of Main Street in the 1990’s. Now it seems to me the “Center” of the Democratic Party is inhabited by Jerry Ford Era Republicans.

    You have to ask yourself the question since Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, when is the last time the Republican Party as a whole embraced changes that would benefit the people. The Republicans are quick to pull out the “Red Scare” scenario whenever a change that benefits the people over Wall Street and their 1% is proposed. Ike would not fit in the current Republican Party, or Jerry Ford.

  10. Well there is some relief here and there:
    Trump ‘Efforts to Serve Corporate Polluters’ Dealt Blow as Judge Vacates Oil and Gas Lease Sales on Nearly 1 Million Acres.

    Environmental advocates cheered a federal judge’s ruling Thursday that voided oil and gas leases on roughly one million acres of public lands and rejected a Trump administration policy that accelerated extraction of the fossil fuels.

    “The judge confirmed that it’s illegal to silence the public to expand fossil-fuel extraction,” said Taylor McKinnon, a senior campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity.

    Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush said BLM was “arbitrary and capricious” in issuing the new policy, and said the agency clearly sought to mute public input.

    The “BLM jettisoned prior processes, practices, and norms in favor of changes that emphasized economic maximization—to the detriment, if not outright exclusion, of pre-decisional opportunities for the public to contribute to the decision-making process affecting the management of public lands,” he wrote.

    Other news: Voting rights advocates applauded a Wisconsin appeals court ruling Friday which is set to stop a voter purge from going forward—sparing more than 200,000 people from having their names removed from voter lists.

    The Single Issue voters which want Roe V. Wade over turned, simply do not care that these “judges” that want to restrict or eliminate abortion carry the Corporatist Baggage of “Corporations Over All”, in other words any laws or regulations that impede profits or exploitation of land in favor of fossil fuels must be eliminated in favor of the Corporations.

  11. Peggy,

    “If we can get Democratic majorities in both House and Senate and the Presidency, we can begin a movement for an independent Federal judicial review board. The purpose of this board would be to investigate complaints and compile evidence to present to Congress for impeachment of judges who are either incompetent or crooked. The first category should take care of most of the 2017 – 2020 appointees. Take these decisions away from SCOTUS.”

    This is our only rational chance to offset the Trump nightmare. It’s not impossible, but close to it.

  12. science and DNA of a persons own self, can determine the effect some chems and organics will have on oneself. like the genes and such, some people are addictive to, while others,walk away unfettered..ive worked around heavy industrial cleaning solvents, and hot crude oil raw from the ground,and i live luckly,up wind from minnkotas most polutant powerplant. ( its been given a 500 million dollar scrubber,,to remove some,of the pests,,so far so good eh?) and driving in a enclosed cab of a fuel burning truck hasnt done well either,i dont smoke,er, tobacco. at 65 i waiting to die from so,e form other not making any fun here, and i am a clean enviroment supporter. unfortunatly,as a working class stiff, i get to either do the dirty jobs or go hungry..someone ,some where, has this job to, and we are the poster child of how and why our enviroment (man made or otherwise)kills us. the removal of any health needs because of some politicians need to support wall streets right to kill us off, shows the disrespect for the working class as a whole… lignite coal, is the dirtiest coal on earth, lead,cadmium,sulphur,are just a few of the items we throw around here. scrubber or not..
    whenwe have untold resourses of natural gas, (o.k. its not perfect,but its a better bridge to getting to,total green) is under our feet here in the largest natural gas field in north America.
    but the coop and its greed to coal is why its stays there.. but, we have three windfarms around said plant, hundreds of turbines,and plenty of nodak wind,(political and natural) and you have to take that power and cycle it to 60Hz, AC,to make it useable. hense,you still need a spinning genorator to provide that.. hold your breath, its coming..
    as i mentioned before,the economy may already be on a down swing,and wall streey seems to be using the corona virus to give flack over its falling.. fact, in trucking last quarter,and thats usually the best quarter for us, droped 15/18% in tonnage moved.. and the ATA is also on this subject.. my broakerage board for finding loads,is about 60% of what its been the last 5 years for this time and quarter.. even euro is having shortfalls also.. dont buy the flack, we maybe in a ressesion..trump is lying…as usual…

  13. Jack,

    “dont buy the flack, we maybe in a ressesion..trump is lying…as usual…”

    We have to immediately re-organize to ensure that Trump can’t manipulate himself out of the mess he is now responsible for as President to clear-up. It looks to me that Trump is on his way to being the next HERBERT HOOVER.

  14. Marv, Vernon – I feel like you both talk in circles and innuendos. From reading this blog, I greatly respect you both. But, just lay it out there – what exactly needs to happen in your humble opinions. Perhaps I’ve missed some of your entries.

  15. Marv. thanks, theres,plenty of charts and studies, the EPI. and the American trucking assoc, and its recent mention of downturn in freight. a interview years ago with warren buffet, he said he gauged the markets by what, he discussed at baseball games with the ceo of fedex.. being fedex is presently a amazon warrior,and is ups. that maybe another game now. durable goods and the like are the bellweather… as is, the falling price of diesel,,when its cold out? theres a glut…were not buying diesel.. after trumps state of affairs,er union..lie as hes been bred to, the price of diesel went down..when the economy is booming,it all goes up, consumption…sure the price of crude is down,because even worldwide output is falling to.
    any time were here, the media hypes up another scenerio,and whatevers. wall street can and will, use its influence now, “you must trust and think like us..” im sure they have the last word,in any form they can, pay for.. the last ression went on the denial swing for 6 months,and we all know,that outcome…so heres trump,bragging up the economy,when im seeing less freight,and cheaper diesel.. the fact, wall street is doing fine screwing me out of my money,and yours, while the real economy in the streets is souring..wall street is in full protection mode for its greed leaders,and sham get rich ads via,t.v. and media,where you cant go wrong investing,its sooo easy to make money(screwing me out of my wages,and living standard) i maybe in the fringe here,but as i see it, wall street is just gaming the people,for control of all the loose,they thier pockets,sorry, its the markets ya know! when the economy is in a downswing,they need capital,lets make it easy for the masses to lose again..
    best wishes…

  16. It was reported today that Bernie and Elizabeth voted for Trump court appointees more than 50% of the time – some revolutionaries! And Klobachar was a bit worse…but she doesn’t claim to be in revolt….

  17. Unfortunately people who call themselves “pro-life” are too often unfairly maligned as holding that position because of antiquated views they hold about women (ignoring the fact that about as many women as men say they are against abortion) or that the position is solely based on religious doctrine. (There are plenty of atheists against abortion).

    When most pro-lifers consider the issue of abortion, they see not one person, but two human beings: the woman and an unborn child. What impacted me on this issue was a health sciences class I took in which I wrote a paper on fetal development. After that experience, I could never look at the abortion issue and say it was simply a matter of a woman making a decision about her own body. (I’m libertarian and my inclination is to support personal freedom. That is an inaccurate characterization of the issue. Medical science about fetal development is indisputable. To risk offending people on here, this is one area in which I think those on the left do not likes the science.

    Don’t get me wrong. Pro-choicers are not wrong to emphasize the importance of a woman’s autonomy and right to make decisions regarding her body. But pro-lifers are also right to point out the issue is more complicated than a woman simply making decisions about her body — that inside that woman’s body is a developing, distinctive human being that at some point is deserving of protection.

    Let’s take the extremes. Despite the rhetoric, few people would insist we should have laws that ban abortion from Day 1 (i.e. conception). (I would point out that would knock out the morning after pill given to rape victims – which is not the abortion pill RU486 – as well as types of birth control that prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.) On the other side, few people support abortion during the last month or two when the fetus is capable of living outside the mother’s womb.

    The abortion issue should always been about WHEN. At what point during the nine month pregnancy does the emerging human life deserve legal protection? The Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade in 1973, through a twisted and tortured interpretation of the Constitution, imposed on the nation the policy decision that this cut-off point should be at 6 months (which back then was about the time the fetus was capable of living on its own outside the womb, i.e. the fetus was viable), with states having the right to outlaw abortion during the final 3 months, except when there is a medical necessity. (Doe v. Bolton).

    Although she very much supports of abortion rights, Justice Ginsburg said the problem with Roe was that the Court imposed a policy decision on the country on a contentious issue for which there was not yet a political consensus, i.e. that the Roe decision was premature.

    Medical advancements since Roe (sonograms weren’t in wide use until well after Roe and it took decades for sonogram technology reach the point where it is showing the detail it does today), have demonstrated that a fetus 4-6 months old is very well developed. Due to medical advances, medical viability has also moved several weeks earlier, necessitating the Court to redo the Roe trimester framework in Planned Parenthood v. Casey to instead focus on viability.

    Again, the issue is not who, but WHEN. Imagine if in Roe the Court had said states that the constitution protects the right to an abortion for 3 months instead of 6 months? (That is probably where most state legislatures would have eventually headed if the issue had not been short circuited by the Court in Roe. I should point out that under my theoretical rewrite of Roe, states would still have the power extend the right to an abortion longer than 3 months if they so chose, 3 months would be the minimum mandated by the Constitution.)

    90% of abortions take place in the first trimester. About 10% in the second trimester. Only about .1% take place in the third trimester. If the 3 month framework were adopted, abortion would no longer be a major political issue. I can tell you from being around them in GOP politics that what really troubles pro-lifers is those second trimester abortions. Take away that issue and abortion loses its potency for both sides. Unfortunately, the handing down of Roe v. Wade didn’t allow the legislative process (although its ugly, it can also be cathartic) to play out. Instead it froze the political issue, so both sides could take the most extreme positions without need to consider reasonable compromises.

    Now that I’ve solved the abortion issue, I’m going to tackle peace in the Middle East.

  18. Linda,

    It is painful to search for the succinctness of what my thoughts are on how to “fix” things. Some of that pain has to do with the necessary punishment of those who are ruining our national legacy – even though it is based on the largest land grab from aboriginal people in the history of mankind since, maybe, Genghis Kahn. Creatures like Betsy DeVos – who just directed a “re-interpretation” of the funding rules for poor and rural schools – must be properly disgraced as well as being removed from office. Of course, people like her will play the religious card showing absolutely how devoid of decency she is to go with her abject hypocrisy.

    In my book, “Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third-World Status”, I list fixes for everything that needs fixing. Perhaps the most important things are making election day a national holiday and registering everyone when they turn 18. Shorten the election season to 6 months. All elections should be publicly funded. Make lobbying for ANYTHING illegal across the board. NO elected government official should be allowed to work with any business or firm that deals in Federal contracts either directly or indirectly. Term limits should be: 2, 6-year terms for Senators and 4, 2-year terms for House members.

    Public education should be funded like our military. Reduce our military budget and invest in our diplomatic corps. School teachers should be paid the same as engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc., depending on education levels and experience. In sum, teachers save as many lives as doctors considering their impact on every child’s life. High-stakes testing must be eliminated and the money currently spent should be used to build classrooms, equip them and pay teachers more in salary. Teacher selection and education must be strengthened so that more people with technical and advanced degrees can afford to enter into the teaching profession. Copy the French in providing school meals. Instead of cheapest crap, they provide chef-prepared, balanced meals that taste great and are not filled with MSG and sugar.

    Speaking of sugar…. The FDA must write new guidelines that are not predicated on the sugar lobby’s dictates. Let the sugar growers grow something else. Our poor and children are having their digestive systems, brains and overall health destroyed by excess sugar in EVERYTHING.

    There is too much plastic-for-convenience in our society. Paper comes from trees which GROW BACK. Plant more trees. Also, hemp paper for TP and other single-use items is CHEAPER than and GROWS FASTER than lumber-based products. Whatever happened to glass bottles? You know, the kind you can return for deposit? Plastic waste can be converted into everything from building blocks to road beds. BTW, bottled water in plastic bottles costs more per gallon than gasoline. Think about that.

    So, that’s just the start. Should I run for office on this platform? LOL

  19. Linda,

    “Marv, Vernon – I feel like you both talk in circles and innuendos. From reading this blog, I greatly respect you both. But, just lay it out there – what exactly needs to happen in your humble opinions. Perhaps I’ve missed some of your entries.”

    Speaking for myself, you probably have missed some of my entries, as I have been a participant on this blog for over five years. I predicted that Trump would win the election, many months before the tragedy actually happened. And I wasn’t just guessing. I had been tracking this mess at the SUB-SURFACE level for almost 60 years. Trump’s election victory was for the most part UNAVOIDABLE, as he had “hijacked” the Bush movement, that had been led by both father and son.

    If there are any answers left at this point in time, they are at the sub-surface level. See my site for The Political Epidemiology Institute at Just recently, in the last few months, “The Guardian” has, finally, run an article on the VIRUS OF THE MIND, better known as the new strain of the HITLER VIRUS. We first identified it 15 years ago when three of us created the Political Epidemiology Project.

    Over the years, the Institute has developed P.E.I.S. [Peace] Systems. It’s an anti-viral platform consisting of three parts: Intelligence, Imaging, and Intervention. P.S.S.I [Political Sub-Surface Imaging], like Sonar was in W.W. II, is the most important part as it has, continually, been TRACKING and helping to TREAT, successfully, the activities of the Far Right/Religious Right at the sub-surface level since 1960.

  20. Vernon – Thank you for your explanations, and I agree with you on all points. I need to check out your book.

    Paul Ogden – I appreciate your heartfelt thoughts re the abortion issue. I struggle with this as well.
    There used to be more of a compromise on the democrat side, especially re late term abortions. I’m afraid it appears that any democratic candidate fears the backlash if they appear to embrace any middle ground. Although IMHO, that would go a long way in bringing some pro-life folks who despise trump, to vote blue.

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