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Abortion and the Erosion of Institutional Trust

Abortion and the Erosion of Institutional Trust

Letter From the Editor 

By Josh Beaudoin 

Hello Everyone, 

I promised myself at the beginning of the year that The Collegian wouldn’t talk about abortion in any way this year due to how heated the discussion can get. However, with the recent leak of the Supreme Court’s draft decision to potentially overturn Roe v. Wade, I think it’s worth mentioning. 

The issue of abortion is much more complicated than most people like to acknowledge. What concerns me about this situation is how the Supreme Court overturning one of its own decisions might affect public trust in the judicial system. 

The Supreme Court should, in my opinion, be objective, or at least be perceived as objective. It’s this perception that inspires trust from the public. When the most powerful court in the land is overtly political, it should come as no surprise when politicians like Kamala Harris, vice-president of the United States, say that if the court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, it “be a direct assault on freedom, on the fundamental right of self-determination to which we are all entitled as Americans,” as quoted in the Wall Street Journal. [1] 

Harris’s statement represents a continuing and concerning trend in the growing political divide, and subsequent diminishment in trust and respect in the court. If the vice president of the United States doesn’t trust the decisions of the highest court in the nation, why should the average American respect its decision? And why should Harris or the public trust the court’s decisions if justices fail to respect the ruling of their predecessors based on the justice’s personal political leanings and interpretation of the law? 

Unfortunately, the court appears to be getting more political, and “Modern justices seem to often vote in ideological alignment with the party of the President that appointed them. This phenomenon is relatively new. In the past, the party of the appointing President did not predict a justice’s votes” [2] according to Stanford Politics. 

Regardless of the moral merits of abortion, overturning such a heated case is bound to have severe long-term effects on how the public views the court, and how binding it considers its decisions to be.  

Josh Beaudoin 

See Also

Editor-in-Chief 

References 

1. https://www.wsj.com/articles/after-supreme-court-abortion-opinion-leak-parties-weigh-next-steps-11651656601?mod=Searchresults_pos1&page=1  

2. https://stanfordpolitics.org/2016/01/07/troubling-partisanship-supreme-court/  

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