Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin faces backlash after two Evangelical Christian, pro-birth endorsed judges he voted to confirm overturned women's reproductive rights.
Manchin—who has faced heavy criticism for blocking legislation proposed by his own party and accused of siding with Republicans—was slammed for saying he "trusted" Associate Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to uphold Roe v. Wade as "settled precedent" after both "misled" the Senate during their confirmation process.
Manchin's statement came shortly after the Supreme Court published a ruling overturning Roe, the 1973 landmark decision that once protected a person's right to choose reproductive healthcare without excessive government restriction.
Per Igor Bobic, a senior politics reporter at Huffington Post, Manchin added he is now "alarmed" Gorsuch and Kavanaugh "chose to reject the stability the ruling has provided for two generations of Americans."
The news the Supreme Court overturned Roe was not a surprise coming more than a month after a leaked draft opinion indicated the Court's ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization would move to strike it down, which it did in a 5-4 decision.
Writing the majority opinion, Associate Justice Samuel Alito said that the United States Constitution "makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment."
This argument was harshly opposed by Associate Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, who comprise the Court's liberal wing.
They charged that the decision to overturn Roe and its sister ruling Planned Parenthood v. Casey is indicative of long-held political animus, writing that the majority made the call "because it has always despised them, and now it has the votes to discard them."
In their dissent, they added that the majority "would allow States to ban abortion from conception onward because it does not think forced childbirth at all implicates a woman’s rights to equality and freedom," adding that today's Court "does not think there is anything of constitutional significance attached to a woman’s control of her body and the path of her life" and is keen to empower states to force women "to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”
Last month, Senate Democrats attempted to codify Roe's protections into law by pushing for a vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, but Republicans blocked the legislation. Manchin was the lone Democrat to vote against the law.
Manchin was harshly criticized.
Manchin's words bring to mind similar justifications from Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins, who voted to confirm Trump-nominated justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh and went on record with her belief that the two men would not vote to overturn the Roe precedent.
Collins' vote to confirm Kavanaugh in 2018 proved to be especially controversial, a decisive vote that came despite criticisms about Kavanaugh's history of hardline conservative jurisprudence and concerns over what that could mean for abortion rights.
At the time, Collins insisted that Kavanaugh would not vote to undermine or overturn Roe, but she would turn out to be wrong about him, such as the moment news outlets reported that he was among five Justices who voted not to block a Texas law that went into effect last September that prohibits virtually all abortions after a heartbeat is detected.