In case there was any doubt that Senator Bob Casey Jr.’s (D-Pa.) transformation into a hard leftist was real, it’s been confirmed by his announcement this past week that he will vote against confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. So why should Pennsylvanians and non-Pennsylvanians care? First, a little history.
Casey is the son of Bob Casey Sr., one of the last few truly courageous politicians. Casey Sr. was a Democrat who served two terms as governor of Pennsylvania and was one of the old breed of Pennsylvania Democrats: Catholic, son of a Democrat, supporter of gun rights, and, most significantly, pro-life. Despite its recent streak of going for Democrats in presidential elections, Pennsylvania has traditionally been a more conservative, blue-collar state.
As governor of Pennsylvania, Casey Sr. signed the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act into law. The act was a package of restrictions on abortion: requirements for informed consent and a 24-hour waiting period, parental notification when minors sought abortions, and a ban on partial-birth abortion. Planned Parenthood sued over the law, arguing it violated Roe v. Wade, and Casey, Sr. was named as the defendant.
The Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey struck down the restrictions, but Casey Sr. still stood by them. He later sought a speaking slot at the 1992 Democratic National Convention to offer a minority platform plank to give pro-life people a voice in the Democratic Party. Democrats refused to allow him to speak, and they spent the convention taunting and mocking him. As the Democratic Party became increasingly radical in throwing out pro-lifers and supporting abortion without restriction, Casey Sr. never shifted his views and remained pro-life until his death in 2000. He was perhaps the last, great pro-life Democrat.
So when his son, Bob Casey Jr., ran for the U.S. Senate in 2006, he adopted the moderate, pro-life image of his father, and, at a time when the Iraq War was unpopular, he beat the incumbent Republican Rick Santorum for the seat. But he has taken a decidedly left-wing turn since then: he has announced his support for gay marriage and has voted for Obamacare, for excessive gun control regulations, for Common Core, against defunding Planned Parenthood, and against a number of other pro-life pieces of legislation. Casey Jr. is not the moderate, conservative Democrat he claims to be. He’s sold out to the left.
And the nail in the coffin is his opposition to Judge Gorsuch. Every reasonable observer agrees — even the leftist American Bar Association — that Gorsuch is a highly qualified judge who will apply the law fairly as it was written and as it was intended. But Casey Jr. has become so liberal that he says he won’t vote for Gorsuch because he “exercises extreme skepticism, even hostility, toward executive branch agencies.” That’s a bad thing? Tell that to the Pennsylvania coal miners who are out of work due to excessive regulations on coal by aggressive federal agencies like the EPA.
It is now beyond a doubt: Sen. Casey has become a hard left-winger. Hopefully the good people of Pennsylvania — who turned the state red in 2016 — will recognize his transformation and show him the door next year.
Photo credit: Senate Democrats via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)