- The Washington Times - Monday, May 9, 2022

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade and leave abortion laws to the states should be viewed as a boost to democracy because it forces the people to decide the policy matter instead of justices.

“There is nothing in the Constitution that identifies abortion as something that’s protected by the U.S. Constitution,” the Republican told Fox News host Trey Gowdy. “Those powers that are not granted to the federal government and that are not prohibited by the government to the states are reserved to the states or to the people.”

The leak of the draft opinion written by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. caused a firestorm in Washington, with liberals seizing on it as an attack on women’s rights ahead of the midterm elections and conservatives seeing a long-sought win on pro-life matters.

Critics of the draft opinion say the court would be erring in undoing a longstanding precedent, while Republicans have said Roe was incorrectly decided and the states should write laws on abortion.

“When we reserve power to the states we are reserving it for the people,” Mr. Lee said. “That’s why abortion, while a significant issue of public policy discussion and an issue about which people have strong moral, religious and policy views, as important as those issues may be, they are not appropriate for policy decision-making by five lawyers dressed up in robes. These are matters left up to the people.”

Critics of the draft “are saying that it’s overthrowing democracy. Nonsense,” Mr. Lee said. “This actually enables democratic processes. If you want to talk about something thwarting democratic processes, it’s Roe v. Wade which has taken people out of the equation altogether.”

Mr. Lee also rejected claims that the opinion, if issued, could prompt the justices to overturn precedents on gay or interracial marriage.

“That’s a different provision of the Constitution. That’s the Equal Protection clause,” he said. “That’s something that prohibits the states from discriminating on the basis of race. It’s a totally different issue than we are discussing here. Nothing does that with regards to abortion.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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