June 4, 2009


The Very Different Legacies of Two Court Decisions: Americans Show Themselves at Odds With Roe v. Wade (Carl Anderson, JUNE 1, 2009, Zenit.org)

Of the many U.S. Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century, two are perhaps the best known: Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade.

So important are these two cases that it was no accident that in a recent speech to graduates at Notre Dame University, President Obama based much of his remarks on their legacies.

But the legacies of these two decisions, and their level of acceptance by the American people, couldn’t be more different.

In 1990, as a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, I had an opportunity to gauge the degree to which America had embraced the legacy of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education: the decision that ended the legal sanction of racial segregation in the United States.

At that time, three and a half decades after Brown, the embrace of the ideal of racial equality had grown steadily, and was clearly embraced by the vast majority of Americans. That is even more the case today.

But if Brown was almost universally accepted by the American people, the opposite is true of Roe v. Wade: the decision that legalized abortion.

Today, three and a half decades after Roe, the consensus among the American people is increasingly -- and overwhelmingly -- opposed to its legacy. As much as Americans have embraced the legacy in Brown, they have moved further and further away from that of Roe, which has been interpreted to allow abortion without restrictions.

And opposition to Roe’s legacy by Americans is a fact: one made very clear by several recent polls.

How would one--rationally, nevermind theologically--justify the notion that you can't keep a black kid out of your school but can kill him?

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 4, 2009 5:42 AM
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