Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine Joins Fellow Republican Justices in Signaling That He’s Willing to Rip Away Abortion Rights
September 19, 2022
Abortion Rights are on the Ballot
Columbus, OH — In case you missed it, the Ohio Capital Journal today reported on recent remarks from Republican Justice Pat DeWine, questioning how Ohioans’ due process rights should be applied based on the Ohio Constitution. With due process rights at the center of ongoing court cases on Republicans’ six-week abortion ban and proposed legislation to ban abortion entirely, Pat DeWine is once again signaling how he’ll rule should an abortion ban come before him on the court.
“Whether the Ohio Constitution’s due-process protections prohibit enforcement of Ohio’s strict new abortion regulations is at the heart of a lawsuit filed in Cincinnati. That suit has temporarily stopped enforcement of the new law. But the dispute seems all but certain to be headed to the state Supreme Court, upon which DeWine sits. And, of course, it’s important context that Senate Bill 23 — the abortion law that is temporarily stopped — was signed by Justice DeWine’s father, Gov. Mike DeWine,” writes Marty Schladen for Ohio Capital Journal.
Pat DeWine’s comments follow Justice Pat Fischer’s recent comments comparing abortion to slavery and giving his thoughts on Roe v. Wade, another sign that if Republicans retain the bench, they are ready to rule in favor of abortion bans, which Pat DeWine’s dad – Mike DeWine – has promised will “go as far as we can.”
“Justice DeWine’s comments are just the latest reminder that abortion rights are on the ballot this November. Pat DeWine joins Pat Fischer in making clear that they’re ready to rule to rip away reproductive rights if they remain on the court. We can’t let that happen,” said Matt Keyes, spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.
Read more HERE and below:
- In a speech last Tuesday, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Pat DeWine said that since the Civil War, state constitutions “too often” have become “secondary.”
- In the same speech, he highlighted that due-process protections in the Ohio Constitution are different from those in the federal 14th Amendment, which was passed in the wake of the Civil War. That’s when the slaves were freed and the feds said states have to respect guarantees that the government won’t “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
- However, whether the Ohio Constitution’s due-process protections prohibit enforcement of Ohio’s strict new abortion regulations is at the heart of a lawsuit filed in Cincinnati.
- That suit has temporarily stopped enforcement of the new law. But the dispute seems all but certain to be headed to the state Supreme Court, upon which DeWine sits.
- Pat DeWine made his comments in a speech to law students at Ohio Northern University, where his father received his law degree. He prefaced them by voicing a judicial philosophy shared by the majority of the U.S. Supreme Court that on June 24 overturned Roe v. Wade — the 1973 decision that protected a woman’s right to abortion. The philosophy holds that judges’ understanding of the writers’ intentions in the text of laws and constitutions should guide their thinking.
- Such “textualist” thinking has led some judges to discard decades and more of decided law, as the U.S. Supreme Court did when it overturned the 49-year-old Roe decision.
- “Since the Civil War, too often state constitutions have become secondary,” said DeWine, who is seeking re-election. “A lot of that is the fault of state supreme courts. State supreme courts have often said, ‘Well, we’re just going to interpret our state Constitution exactly like the federal Constitution if there’s a similar provision.’
- “We’ve done that in Ohio in many cases. And I think it’s been a mistake. Often we’ve interpreted the state Constitution like the federal Constitution even though the state Constitution has very different language.”
- Was he hinting that he would use due-process protections in the state Constitution to extend individual rights to unborn fetuses?
- The idea might not be far-fetched. SB 23, the law restricting abortions signed by his father, refers to a fetus as an “unborn human individual” 22 times.
- In the likely event that the case goes before the Ohio Supreme Court, we might learn more about what Justice DeWine meant last week when he said that when it comes to due process, many state supreme courts have lost their way since the Civil War.