Paul  Kengor

An ecstatic Biden wept tears of joy, telling Rudman over and over: “You were right about him [Souter]! ... You were right!”

The two men were so jubilant, so giddy—practically dancing—that Rudman said onlookers thought they were crazy: “[B]ut we just kept laughing and yelling and hugging each other because sometimes, there are happy endings.”

It was sheer bliss: Roe v. Wade had been saved; it was alive. The two senators, liberal Democrat and liberal Republican, were so overcome that they sobbed. It was the most joyous moment.

Thanks to David Souter, Rudman celebrated: “The combined efforts of the Reagan and Bush administrations and the religious right to overthrow Roe had been defeated, probably for good.”

Well, not quite for good. A turning point arrived with the November 2008 presidential election. And that brings me to Justice Souter’s announcement last week.

Souter will be stepping down from the court. He made his announcement only days after another liberal Republican from the Northeast—Senator Arlen Specter—announced he was leaving the GOP for the Democratic Party, and, more significantly, just months after President George W. Bush, the son of the man who had nominated Souter, left the White House.

Pro-lifers and pro-choicers alike knew the 2008 election was utterly crucial to the future of

Roe v. Wade. Literally, the legality of unrestricted abortion—plus its potential funding with your tax dollars—hinged on the next president. The contrast was unmistakable, given the remarkable pro-life views of the McCain-Palin ticket and the unprecedented pro-choice extremism of the Obama-Biden ticket. The next president would likely fill two U.S. Supreme Court vacancies: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens. David Souter’s name rarely surfaced.

Well, America chose Obama-Biden, including a near majority of American Protestants and a decisive majority of American Catholics. And last week, pro-choicers danced around their TVs when they learned about Souter. The justice surprised us all—again. He clearly had waited, silently again, for the second George Bush to get out of town.

Behold: there will be not just two high-court picks for Barack Obama but almost certainly three. Jackpot!

And, as fate would have it, shepherding the next nominee, aside President Obama, will be a still grinning Joe Biden—now elevated to the vice presidency. Biden is poised to again ensure yet more decades of Roe v. Wade, this time openly, and at new levels that even pro-choicers would have never imagined—and with Republicans unable to stop him. Biden can thank roughly 50 million Christians, including his fellow Catholics, for that ability.