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Anyone Who Thinks Amy Coney Barrett Can Magically 'End' Roe v. Wade Doesn’t Understand The Law

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Leftists are attempting to sell the narrative that a Justice Amy Coney Barrett will instantly end Roe v. Wade, the premier Supreme Court decision governing a woman’s right to abortion. This is an untrue scare tactic used by liberals to control the narrative. Removing personal opinions and politics from the controversial conversation and inserting legal facts into the discussion will easily illustrate that this argument is FALSE.

First of all, the Supreme Court is not forced to take any case on any topic. Parties unsatisfied with lower court decisions can petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case or grant a writ of certiorari. Four of the nine Justices must vote to accept a case. According to UnitedStatesCourts.Gov, the Court accepts 100-150 of the more than 7,000 cases that it is asked to review each year. This means that an abortion case must arise, a party must apply for writ of certiorari, and the court must vote to hear the case. So, step one is a hurdle in itself.

Second of all, if the court chose to hear an abortion case, they would have to get a majority decision to change the current law. One lone justice doesn’t create a majority. One rogue justice doesn’t get to change the law of the highest court in the land.

Abiding by the law and having judicial integrity is an extremely important concept to a justice. So much so, that when one becomes a judge or a justice in the United States, they must take an oath before rendering any judicial opinions. In summary, the oath says that a judge/justice will impartially administer justice under the Constitution and laws of the United States.

This concept is legally known as stare decisis. Stare decisis is Latin for “let the decision stand.” Essentially, it is a legal doctrine that obligates courts to follow historical cases with similar fact patterns in similar manners. Otherwise said, the case at hand is to be decided by the decisions of similar cases in the past. The past rules the future. This provides stability, predictability, and integrity within the justice system.

Stare decisis binds the justice to follow legal precedents set by previous decisions. Precedents are prior rulings. So, if a judge wanted to rule on an abortion case, they would be required to evaluate the facts and merits of the present case, while respecting the applicable legal precedents set by Roe v. Wade.

Yes, it is true that a justice with conservative values can work to limit or restrain certain laws, just like a liberal justice can look to expand them. However, all justices are bound by their oath. Justices are not advocates. We have a separation of powers within the government. The judicial branch does not legislate or write laws.

The power of the Supreme Court and its justices is to interpret the law, determine the constitutionality of the law, and apply it to individual cases. Amy Coney Barrett not only understands this power but has an unparalleled track record abiding by it.

Erin M. Elmore is an attorney, political strategist, on-air correspondent, and the Executive Director of USA Strong, a grassroots organization focused on rebuilding American greatness. Her commentary has been featured on Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Nation, CNN, MSNBC, Yahoo News, Daily Mail, and The New York Post, among others. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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