ICYMI: GOP Justices’ Deep Ties to Federalist Society Indicate How They’ll Rule on Abortion Cases
August 23, 2022
Columbus, OH — In case you missed it, The American Independent outlined deep ties between the three extreme Republicans running for the Ohio Supreme Court and the Federalist Society, a right-wing organization with an agenda aimed at installing far-right judges and stripping abortion rights in states like Ohio. The deep ties between GOP justices and the organization that has been working for years to overturn reproductive rights indicate that if Republicans retain the Court, abortion rights in Ohio are on the line.
“The outcome of these three races will directly affect the future of abortion access in Ohio. Immediately after Roe was overturned, an Ohio law banning abortion after six weeks’ gestation went into effect. Attorneys representing the state’s abortion providers sued to restore access, and the case is waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court, but the outcome of November’s elections could determine how the court rules,” writes The American Independent’s Matt Cohen.
“Make no mistake, reproductive rights are on the ballot at every level this November. This new report puts a direct spotlight on Republican justices’ extreme and troubling views when it comes to abortion rights in this state and indicates that Ohioans’ rights will be stripped away if Republicans retain the court in November,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson Matt Keyes.
Read more from The American Independent here and below:
- When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, its 1973 landmark ruling that affirmed Americans’ constitutional right to an abortion, it was a moment that had been decades in the making. And the organization that played a leading role in laying the groundwork for the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe continues to push its broader agenda in such states as Ohio, where it is working to make abortion illegal.
- As Ilyse Hogue, former president of the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, noted in a story adapted from her book on the movement to abolish abortion rights, “The Lie That Binds,” a great deal of the push to overturn Roe was organized by the Federalist Society, a right-wing organization founded in 1982.
- The Federalist Society, Hogue says, was “a new effort to train and promote conservative-minded lawyers into prominent positions, with an eye toward installing far-right judges.
- And now that the future of abortion access is in the hands of the states, the Federalist Society is setting its sights on state supreme courts, utilizing its network and resources to ensure a majority of state supreme court justices are aligned with its conservative values.
- The effort is especially pronounced in Ohio, where two of the state’s Supreme Court justices are running for reelection, and a third open-seat race will fill an impending vacancy on the seven-person court.
- The outcome of these three races will directly affect the future of abortion access in Ohio. Immediately after Roe was overturned, an Ohio law banning abortion after six weeks’ gestation went into effect. Attorneys representing the state’s abortion providers sued to restore access, and the case is waiting to be heard by the Supreme Court, but the outcome of November’s elections could determine how the court rules. A recent Suffolk University/Cincinnati Enquirer poll found that a majority of likely midterm voters in Ohio want see abortion rights protected.
- Currently, the Ohio Supreme Court has a 4-3 Republican majority, and three of the four conservative justices have deep ties to the Federalist Society.
- Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer, who are both running for reelection, are both listed as contributors on the Federalist Society’s website. DeWine, who is also the son of Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, participated in Federalist Society-sponsored events during his candidacy in 2016 and often refers to his involvement with the organization on Twitter.
- Fischer too participated in Federalist Society events when he was a candidate for Ohio’s highest court in 2016, as has continued to do so since he was elected.
- Sharon Kennedy, a sitting justice who is running to fill the impending vacancy left by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who is set to retire after this year, participates in Federalist Society events and frequently mentions her involvement with the organization.
- But the Federalist Society’s influence in Ohio’s judiciary branch doesn’t end with the state Supreme Court. Ohio Attorney General David Yost is also listed as a contributor on the Federalist Society’s website and has repeatedly mentioned his involvement with the organization. After Roe was overturned, Yost hurried to file a motion to dissolve a federal court injunction that had been placed in 2019 on the state’s recently passed and misnamed “Heartbeat Protection Act,” which prohibits abortion as soon as what is incorrectly referred to as a “fetal heartbeat” is detected. As doctors note, there is no heart in an embryo when electrical activity right-wing lawmakers incorrectly call a “heartbeat” can be picked up by an ultrasound.
- Yost drew widespread ire in July when he questioned the veracity of a story of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who was allegedly raped and had to travel to Indiana to get an abortion because of the Ohio abortion ban that he championed. Shortly after Yost cast doubt on the story, a 27-year-old man was arrested and charged with rape. The Democratic Party of Ohio has since called on Yost to resign.