"Discussion about Roe v. Wade will—and must—be part of this nomination process"


That's from a letter that Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, just sent to supporters. "As you know," Keenan continues, "choice hangs in the balance on the Supreme Court as the last two major choice-related cases were decided by a 5-to-4 margin." As Charlie Savage reports in The New York Times, Keenan is among a small number of pro-choice activists who aren't yet sure they can trust Judge Sonia Sotomayor to uphold Roe v. Wade:

In nearly 11 years as a federal appeals court judge, President Obama's choice for the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, has never directly ruled on whether the Constitution protects a woman's right to an abortion. But when she has written opinions that touched tangentially on abortion disputes, she has reached outcomes in some cases that were favorable to abortion opponents…

None of the cases in Judge Sotomayor's record dealt directly with the legal theory underlying Roe v. Wade—that the Constitution contains an unwritten right to privacy in reproductive decisions as a matter of so-called substantive due process. Several of her opinions invoke substantive due process in other areas, however, like the rights of parents and prisoners.

She has also had several cases involving abortion-related disputes that turned on other legal issues. While those cases cannot be taken as a proxy for her views on the constitutionality of abortion, she often reached results favorable to abortion opponents.

Read the rest here.