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Di Leo: Who Really “Won” in the Dobbs Ruling?



Dobbs decision

By John F. Di Leo - 

Some battles are clear-cut.  If the Cubs play the Brewers, one team wins and the other team loses. A score is posted and everyone knows who the winner is.

It’s often that simple with Supreme Court rulings too… but not with Dobbs.

On Friday, June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court released the long-awaited decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

At long last, the high court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision in which the Supreme Court assumed the power to regulate how and when states can regulate abortion.

Roe v. Wade

Let’s look at that again. 

We’ve spent half a century arguing about Roe v. Wade, and in truth, a lot of people on both sides of the question misunderstood the subject at hand.

We have been told that Roe v. Wade “legalized abortion.” In truth, it didn’t, at least, not directly. It’s both more and less than that.

In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court issued rules – strange, arbitrary ones, in fact – on how on what kinds of regulations each individual state can place on abortion.  The Court said that for a certain period of each pregnancy, the states cannot issue any restrictions, and for other periods, the state can issue some restrictions.   

The states might have done so anyway, without the Supreme Court weighing in; many already had such restrictions on their books, long before 1973 (and still do).  But in issuing Roe v. Wade, the federal government assumed a power it did not legally have.

By striking it down this year, the Supreme Court is not automatically decreeing “abortion is illegal” or “abortion is legal.”   Rather, the Supreme Court is saying that the federal government has no power to rule on the question; it’s a state matter, for the legislatures of each state to address as they see fit.

In response, in the years to come, some states will ban it outright, some states will limit it in some ways, and some states will make it utterly unrestricted.  The blue-state cretin JB Pritzker, governor of Illinois, for example, is making speeches proudly declaring that Illinois welcomes expectant mothers from anywhere to come to Illinois for an abortion, establishing a grotesque concept that’s beginning to be called “abortion tourism.”

The Democratic Party, which has been owned by the multibillion-dollar abortion industry for decades, is swearing to get even, calling for a night of rage, furious that Republicans have banned abortion at the stroke of a pen.

The simple fact is, however, abortion has not been banned with this ruling.  It has just been turned back to the states, where it has belonged all along.

“A Republic, if you can keep it.”

We live in a constitutional republic.  Too many people don’t know, or have forgotten, what that means, so let’s pause to reflect on it.

A constitutional republic is a nation with a severely limited national government.  Period. 

The Constitution isn’t really about whether the legislature has one house or two, or whether the president appoints the judges or the voters elect them, or whether senators serve for four years or six.  These issues are interesting, and they are certainly found in our Constitution, but they aren’t really the key to understanding it.

The Constitution is a compact, an agreement between the states and the federal government.  We must think of this document like a border wall, a hundred feet high and impenetrable, erected around the federal government. The Constitution decrees what issues the states have entrusted the federal government to handle, beyond which it simply must not reach. 

These lists of issues, such as those found in Article I, Section 8, and in Article II, Section 2, specifically list the powers that we the people (through our states) have granted to our Congress, our executive branch, and the judiciary.   These lists of limited issues are the whole point of a constitution. 

The Constitution doesn’t say “Whoever wins this election is allowed to do whatever the heck he wants for four years.”   Not at all.  It says whichever side wins this election is empowered to lay and collect taxes, provide for defense, borrow money, regulate international commerce, etc.  Only those powers listed.

And… whatever powers aren’t listed are forbidden.

That’s a tough concept for some busybodies to accept, so, just to be absolutely safe, the Founding Fathers came back a year after the Constitution was ratified and added a list of amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, which included Amendment X: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

It may have taken fifty years to finally accomplish the point, but that’s really what Dobbs is all about.  It’s a recognition of a simple fact, true since the dawn of our nation: that the federal government is limited. It doesn’t have the power to do just anything it wants; it only has the powers that were specifically granted to it by the Constitution.

All members of the Supreme Court used to understand this.  That’s why the Court had to use such insane, tortured logic in the writing of Roe v. Wade in the first place.  There is no clear text in the Constitution to direct or authorize Roe v. Wade; there never was… so, they had to make something up.  They relied on the “penumbras and emanations” of the Bill of Rights, imagined out of whole cloth in the earlier ruling of Griswold v. Connecticut, to justify their intrusion into the abortion debate.  The entire position is literally built upon a foundation of vapors.

Because of this, it has always been obvious that it would someday be overturned.  As the years have gone by, Roe v. Wade has become more and more laughable a construct.  As legal argument, it is utterly unfounded, an unjustifiable intrusion upon the rights of the states.

For a constitutional republic to stand, the limits in its constitution must be obeyed, or at least, cannot be so ludicrously disregarded. 

Eventually, the Supreme Court simply had to repeal it.

Pro-Lifers would have loved for them to somehow say “abortion is hereby banned,” and pro-abortionists would have loved for them to somehow say “unrestricted abortion is hereby legal and undeniable,” but neither was ever an option.  The Constitution simply doesn’t give the federal government the power to say it. Period.

Who won the day?

Back to our original question.  Who is the winner in Dobbs, the decision that overturned Roe v. Wade? It’s not as simple as a baseball game.

The legal team that argued the case against Roe v Wade certainly won; it’s a proud day for them.

The presidents who appointed the six justices who voted right can certainly be proud of themselves, more so in the arena of Dobbs than in the arena of most rulings.   George HW Bush, George W Bush, and Donald Trump all had their shortcomings, but they appointed Justices Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett.  All six showed great courage in doing the right thing in voting on Dobbs, despite death threats, mob action, an attempted murder, and even incitement to riot by congressional leadership.  Despite the clarity and validity of their position, it can’t have been easy to take the step.  One must recall the Lord’s prayers in the garden on Holy Thursday; at least some of these justices likely wished there were some way out of making the call, but when the time came, they did the right thing.

The pro-abortion side of the argument sees it as at least a partial loss, and rightly so, because now states are free to restrict abortion further than Roe v Wade had allowed them to.

The pro-life side of the argument sees it as at least a partial win, for the same reason.

But it’s not automatic.  In every state, the issue will now come down to the state capitols.  Each legislature and governor must now go on the record and declare themselves, with the possible exception of a few who anticipated this day and already put a framework in place for it.  Even they, however, are likely to succumb to political pressure and revisit at least some aspects of the issue, now that it really matters.

Lobbyists will win the day, on both sides, because now there will be fifty fights, not just one.  Cynical, true, but it’s a fact: when there is a fight in a state capital, it means business for the political action committees and their lobbyists, for printers and radio commercial producers.  Lobbyists always seem to win.

The greatest winners, this day, however, are two groups who are not even present to cheer the result:

The Founding Fathers are winners today, because their program of limited government has been successfully championed.  On this issue as on few others, the clarity of the message will only grow with time, as more and more people are reminded of the principles they first learned in grammar school but may have long since forgotten: the fact that a free country is one that limits its government, even to the point of sometimes saying, even on a big issue, “this isn’t any of our business.”   The Framers’ vision of a limited federal government that turns issues back to the states is the winning vision today.

And the other winners, today, are the unborn children – both those yet to come along, and the 65 million babies in Heaven who never got a chance since 1973, at least in part because the federal government had long told their parents, and their parents’ “doctors,” that the federal government of the United States of America was okay with their little lives being snuffed out.

By finally overturning Roe v. Wade, this fifty-year-old abomination, a federal “approval” of abortion-on-demand – has been wiped off the books forever.  The federal government is at long last free of this wicked stain.

Abortion may continue in many states, for many years to come.  The fight for the Right to Life is far from over.

But at least, from now on, the abortionists won’t be able to sell their ghoulish services with the claim that the intentional death of innocent children is some kind of a “Constitutional right.”

And that is indeed a victory worth celebrating.

Copyright 2022 John F. Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer and transportation manager, writer, and actor. A one-time county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, he has been writing regularly for Illinois Review since 2009.

 A collection of John’s Illinois Review articles about vote fraud, The Tales of Little Pavel, and his 2021 political satires about current events, Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes One and Two, are available, in either paperback or eBook, only on Amazon.

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  1. John, you have dissected and made this issue and broken it down in to succinct pieces of a complicated puzzle and that everyone can understand. I watched part of what Biden had to say but could not pay attention to his gibberish but he seemed to confuse sex with gender.

  2. Much impressed with the truth of the matter. But how many people really know – or care- about the truth these days? Hopefully America will one day recover from this stain of abortion and enjoy life as it is supposed to be lived, babies and all! Thank you much for this article! 🇺🇸

  3. TWO glaring errors. 1. The feder or any government was not granted any powers but was delegated 18 specific powes. Gramts are irrevoksble bug deldgations are revokable.
    2. Too often the term ” States’ Rights” is used but all governme nts have only delegated powers znd all rigts belong to the people.
    Thank yoj for reading my rant.