The White House called it a "scheduling conflict." But people at Notre Dame knew it was something else: a conflict of values. When Joe Biden didn't give the keynote address at Sunday's graduation ceremony, his absence was enough to make headlines. After all, it's been a modern certainty that the president or vice president of any new administration is at least invited to South Bend to headline the commencement. The only truly controversial visit was Barack Obama's in 2009, but that would be nothing -- protestors warned -- compared to the backlash over Biden.
The news that Biden had even been invited (a fact the university still won't admit) was enough to make some alumni's blood boil. That swell of disapproval only grew when a group launched an open letter urging Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins to reconsider, blasting Biden for undermining church teachings. "Biden... rejects Church teachings on abortion, marriage, sex and gender and is hostile to religious liberty. He embraces the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history." In fact, the organizers argue, his views are so radical that they almost make Obama's seem tame. "The case against honoring him is immeasurably stronger than it was against honoring President Obama, an action that alienated countless Catholics and brought upon Notre Dame the harsh criticism of 83 cardinals, archbishops, and bishops."
More than 4,300 Notre Dame students, alums, and community members signed the petition, which spelled out all of the ways Biden has financed, enabled, or worked for the killing of the innocent unborn. But it's his hypocrisy on matters of faith, they write, that's the most offensive. "In terms of Notre Dame's honoring Biden, matters are made still worse by Biden's repeated profession of his Catholicism, and one who, as you have acknowledged, believes abortion to be morally wrong. His is not the familiar 'personally opposed but will not impose' dodge of too many Catholic politicians," they argue. It's his enthusiastic promotion of abortion that encourages people do what "one knows is wrong."
And let's not forget, the signers write, it's not just unlimited abortion that Biden supports. On issues of "sex, gender, and marriage, Biden's actions already taken and those promised are breathtaking in scope and will undermine the religious liberty of individuals in their private lives, employment, businesses, and social and religious activities and of religious organizations and institutions such as schools, including Notre Dame, hospitals, and adoption agencies." The new administration's policies and promises of policies would level institutions like Notre Dame, stripping them of their free speech, free exercise, and federal partnerships. For that, they'd put Biden in a position of honor? Or give him a platform to lecture their graduates?
Even now, the Biden administration is so obsessed with the idea of unlimited, taxpayer-funded abortion that it's plotting to blow up the Supreme Court and pack it with far-Left zealots who will do Planned Parenthood's bidding. That's not the posture of a man who's personally pro-life. It's the posture of a true abortion loyalist. If there was any doubt, the White House cleared that up last week when reporters asked about the justices' decision to hear the case over Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. What was the president's response? Jen Psaki said he'll work even harder to make Roe v. Wade permanent.
Meanwhile, the president's hard-Left turn on a procedure he refused to even fund his first 40 years in politics is creating a ripple effect at every level of politics. In state races like Virginia and Texas, extremist groups like EMILY's List are making abortion the issue of 2022 -- which is just fine with pro-lifers. They know better than anyone that Democrats are overplaying their hand on the issue, assuming voters are as radical as they are. They aren't. Most Americans are horrified at the idea of legal abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, which is what Biden's party supports. The last time NPR/PBS/Marist pollsters asked, only 29 percent of Americans thought abortion should be allowed after the first three months of pregnancy. That's a far cry from what this administration is advocating.
If Joe Biden wants to dismantle the Supreme Court because the justices might finally put some common-sense limits on abortion, then he's alone on that too. And yet Democrats, led by people like Senator Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), argue that rethinking Roe v. Wade would be a betrayal of "fundamental constitutional principles." Actually, what's a betrayal of constitutional principles is insisting that issues like abortion should be decided by the Supreme Court at all. The founders never intended these nine unelected justices to be the center of our political process. The legislature, not the courts, are where those debates should take place. And then, Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) pointed out, the people get to decide if they want to hire us or fire us."
But legislators don't like getting fired, and so for years, they've kicked the most controversial issues to the courts or executive branch. Over time, the justices have gotten surprisingly comfortable in their elevated role. But that's not how the framers designed it. "If the voters are going to retain their power," Sasse argued, "they need a legislature that's responsive to politics, not a judiciary that's responsive to politics." What's at stake in the Mississippi case isn't just the lives of millions of unborn babies. It's the future of our democratic process. For once, the justices have a chance to put the decision-making back where it's always belonged: in the hands of the people.