Could We Just Lay Off Judge Roberts Already
There's been so much angst expressed over the fact that the Hon. John Roberts is Catholic. Folks are all worried that -gasp- this might influence his decisions on issues like abortion. Abortion is a bullet issue -- you shoot yourself in the foot with a good percentage of the population no matter what your stance on the matter is. Since abortion is such a divisive issue, everyone, i.e. Naral and Senator Barbara Boxer, has their panties in a bunch over this appointment. So when the Senate interviews Roberts next month you can be sure Roberts is going to be probed HARD on abortion. AND ITS ALL JUST A BIG DISTRACTION. Mr. Surly never gets worked up over abortion because the abortion debate is a big sham and has been for years. You heard it here first. The hoopla is all for the benefit of the sheep-like uninformed electorate. It's a big opportunity for the abortion special interest groups -- pro and con -- and the Senate to look like they are protecting the right to ___ life ___ choose. Check one.
Pre-Robert Bork, the judicial apointment confirmation process used to be about making sure appointees were qualified. Now, its a time to spout rhetoric and make sure the apointee holds the right views. How American. In the end, however, it's a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.
In an ideal world, jurists are supposed screen out their prejudices, which we all have, from their decision making process. Rulings are to be made based on the facts and the law. So in an ideal world, Roberts' views on abortion are irrelevant. This clearly not being an ideal world though, there is a much better reason why Roberts views on abortion is of minimal importance. Roe is well established law. The anti-abortion side of the high court had a shot at overturning Roe in the early 1990's in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Instead the Court affirmed Roe. There hasn't been a serious challenge to Roe since. Why? Two words. Stare decisis. Judges don't overturn an established precedent lightly. Jonathan Rauch explains in the July 30 issue of the National Journal:
To end the right to abortion, says Ernest Young, a law professor at the University of Texas (Austin), "you need three appointments in a row to do exactly what you expect them to do on Roe." That is a tall order. Young notes that President Reagan and the first President Bush got five Supreme Court appointments between them. Only two, Scalia and Thomas, have lived up to abortion opponents' hopes -- a track record of only 40 percent.
Even on Roe and other mainstays of the Warren and Burger courts' liberalism, conservatism speaks to both sides of the issue. Few are the conservative jurists who have a kind word for the likes of Roe, and fewer still are any such jurists who Bush might appoint to the high court. But a deep current of conservatism, perhaps the deepest of all, regards precedent as the touchstone of legal and thus social stabilty, and is reluctant to sweepaway settled law, even if that law is flawed.
How strong is the doctrine of stare decisis? As Rauch points out, Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote the majority opinion in the 2000 case Dickerson v. U.S. affirming the Miranda decision. Rehnquist! No one has less love for criminal defendants than him! So Roe is here to stay indefinitely. Nothing short of amending the constitutiuon is gonna change that any tme soon. And even if Roe was overturned tomorrow, I still wouldn't lose sleep. In 1970 -- Nixon was President then remember -- 16 states had legalized abortion. Something tells me just as many if not more would turn around and legalize abortion today. Democracy is good.
So now that you don't have to worry about the right to choose, what are you going to do with your contributtion to NARAL? I suggest giving it to Project Prevention, the greatest cause ever. What is Project Prevention? I'm glad you asked. Here's the group's mission statement:
Project Prevention offers cash incentives to women that are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol to use long-term or permanent birth control. Temporary or permanent, the choice to use birth control while taking drugs can prevent the suffering and potential death of an innocent child. Avoiding unwanted pregnancies. Preventing abortions. Lowering the caseloads of social workers. All this while saving taxpayers millions of dollars. A common sense approach to a very serious problem!
A lot of people are critical of Project Prevention because they basically pay crack addicts $200 not to have kids. Critics have questioned the ethics of offering money to crack addicts to get sterilized. Drug addicts don't have the best impulse control after all. Having kids is a fundamental right, but frankly I am all in favor of crack addicts not reproducing. Call me carzy. And unless Project Prevention is actually sterilizing people while they are smoking the pipe, no one has any reason to complain. The law protects you from fraud, not from being stupid. So send'em some cash.