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High Court Shouldn't Ban Abortion, Buchanan Says

January 29, 1996

TIME Magazine


WASHINGTON -- Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan said it would be wrong for the Supreme Court to outlaw abortion under existing law. Not that he's gone soft on the issue. The GOP presidential hopeful favors a constitutional amendment to ban the procedure, and he is one of abortion's most outspoken opponents. But he told the conservative Heritage Foundation Monday that a court ruling barring the procedure would constitute "judicial dictatorship."

At issue is whether judges should interpret the law narrowly or philosophically. Buchanan favors the former and says court decisions like Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion, don't pass constitutional muster. "The Founding Fathers would have been appalled," Buchanan intoned, "at the lassitude and torpor with which Americans take dictation from judges." Liberals, he said, have turned the courts into a "super-legislature," one that has undermined the rule of law and "centralized control over virtually every moral, political, social, and economic issue in the country." That, he said, has advanced the agenda of minority groups at the expense of the majority.

To guard against judicial activism, Buchanan said voters should be empowered to overturn Supreme Court rulings. In addition, Buchanan would end lifetime appointments for federal judges, and he'd allow the constitution to be amended without the approval of Congress if three-quarters of the states agreed.

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