Leonard Leo has been on the forefront of the Federalist Society's decades-long goal to take away bodily autonomy from women since the days of George W. Bush. The Federalist Society claims credit for both Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts on the highest court of the land.
“No one has been more dedicated to the enterprise of building a supreme court that will overturn Roe v Wade than the Federalist Society’s Leonard Leo,” Ed Whelan, a conservative legal activist and commentator, said in 2016.
And so, when Donald Trump decided to farm out the hard work of vetting possible SCOTUS nominees, Leo was only too happy to volunteer for the effort, to guarantee that whomever gets the final nod will be acceptable to his uber-conservative, Opus Dei cohorts. Funnily enough, whatever dogma that causes them to believe that they must control women's reproductive lies does not also apply to being honest because Leo flat out lies to This Week host George Stephanopoulos and denies that any speculation that Roe v. Wade may be endangered with the new make up of the court is nothing more than unwarranted fear-mongering.
"First of all, nobody really knows. We’ve been talking about this for 36 years, going all the way back to the nomination of Sandra O’Connor." Leo conveniently forgets that in 1981 when Day O'Connor was seated, she replaced the center-right Potter Stewart and the Supreme Court maintained its 6-3 conservative slant, not becoming more conservative as whatever Federalist-approved name would undoubtedly be in replacing swing voter Kennedy. "And after that 36 year period, we only have a single individual on the court who has expressly said he would overturn Roe. So I think it’s a bit of a scare tactic and ranks speculation more than anything else.”
Who would Jesus gaslight? What Leo knows and purposely deflects is that justices have been counseled by the Federalist Society and other conservative groups to NOT express opinions on controversial decisions to not give ammunition to shoot down their nominations. Hell, you can't even get conservative judicial nominees to comment on decisions like Dred Scott or Brown v. Board of Education.
Leo continued, “My goal, first and foremost, has always been to find people to serve on the court who believe in the constitution as it’s written. And that’s really ultimately what drives the conservative legal movement…I’m very confident with this president’s enthusiasm and with Leader McConnell’s enthusiasm that they can get anybody confirmed.”
Well, yes, they'll probably get whomever is nominated confirmed through the corrupt and democratic norm destroying machinations of Mitch McConnell. But what a load of horse pucky about "believing in the constitution as written." And George Stephanopoulos knows it as well. Not one of those names on the Federalist's short list would openly admit to their commitment to overturning Roe, but neither would any of them be on that list unless they did.
Unfortunately, women's rights are not the only thing that are on the chopping block. As Charlie Pierce reminds the AM Joy audience today, be prepared for major landmark legislation for equality to be endangered.
"I've always believed the real target of this everyday is not Roe but Griswold. In the Republican judicial circles, there is an article of faith that there is no right to privacy in the Constitution."
And then Charlie channels our very own Driftglass:
"And that leads me to my second point which is that this particular fight has little or nothing do with Trumpism. This is a chance to enact a Republican wish list that goes back to finally reverse the gains of the civil rights movement. John Roberts made his bones in the Reagan Justice Department as a young lawyer attacking the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act will be on the table. Obviously, labor rights, after last week, are going to be on the table. This isn't Trumpism, this is Republicanism."