The imagined implications of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation for the future of legal abortion have brought visions of long-awaited sugar plums to anti-abortion politicians and activists. In 2016, candidate Trump pledged to appoint anti-abortion justices to the Supreme Court, saying that two or three such appointments would mean the end of Roe v. Wade. Next week, we get the name of President Trump’s second pick. Trump’s anti-abortion supporters — including his evangelical advisers, the National Right to Life Committee, Americans United for Life, the Susan B. Anthony List, and most significantly, the Republican Party — are now confident that it is just a matter of time until Roe is overturned.
Overturning the landmark 1973 ruling, as seems more and more likely, might take away a powerful tool for energizing conservative voters — and motivate liberal ones.