john roberts saves rove, and sets end of world in motion

A few weeks ago, when this whole Rove thing started, I suggested that the President would respond by rushing to nominate a new Supreme Court Justice to fill the seat vacated by Sandra Day O’Connor, thereby diverting attention from the evidence mounting against him. Well, it looks as though that’s exactly what happened. After announcing that he’d take at least a week to interview candidates, Bush decided to charge ahead and announce his choice, John Roberts, a judge from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a man with a reputation for being not only politically conservative, but reasonably well respected, experienced and scandal-free. (He’s argued 30 cases before the Supreme Court, winning 25 of them.)

Unlike some of the others that Bush could have suggested, Roberts doesn’t seem to be a raving lunatic, in spite of the fact that he’s been tied to such inspirational episodes of American history as the Clinton impeachment proceedings and the 2000 recount in Florida. For the most part, that’s due to the fact that, as he’s only served on the Court of Appeals for two years, he doesn’t have much of a record as a judge… Some might say that makes him unqualified, but, from the Bush/Rove perspective, it makes him the perfect candidate. He’s conservative, but he hasn’t as of yet left a trail showing how that conservative ideology might manifest itself in law… He’s like an untraceable gun.

I was keeping an open mind about Roberts, until I heard the loud chorus of praise coming from the evangelical, extremist right… Here, for instance, is a quote from Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council:

“The president is a man of his word. He promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas, and that is exactly what he has done.”

(Actually, if the president was a man of his word, he would have fired Rove when it came to light that he leaked the identity of Valerie Plame-Willson, but I digress.)

And, here, speaking on behalf of reason, is Chris from the MyDD site, going a little farther than most in his condemnation of Roberts:

The Bush administration has clearly stepped up the nomination of John Roberts in order to deflect attention from Karl Rove. Really, it makes sense. One partisan hack is deflecting attention from another.

Karl Rove is a lifetime Republican operative. John Roberts has been filing briefs and providing legal support for recounts (Roberts worked for Bush-Cheney 2000 in Florida, and he also worked with Ken Star) on behalf of Republicans for two decades. John Roberts is a partisan hack taking the heat for another partisan hack. He has only been a judge for two years. He has been a partisan Republican hack for twenty years.

The Bush administration was elected by the Supreme Court, and now it is now trying to elect a member of its campaign team to the Supreme Court in order to deflect attention away from ethics violations by the head of its campaign team, Karl Rove. This is partisan hackery at its best. The Bush administration has decided to treat the Supreme Court as an ambassadorship.

And so the fight is enjoined–the Bush administration wants to nominate a partisan hack who helped elect Bush via the Supreme Court, which elected Bush, in order to deflect attention from the possible treasonous activates of another partisan hack who led the Bush campaign in 2000 and 2004. And so this is our fight–the Supreme Court is not the Northern Mariana Islands. The Supreme Court is not a way to reward those who helped get you elected. The Supreme Court is not a way to help deflect attention from the ethics violations of those who helped elect you. The Supreme Court is not a place for partisan hacks, but the Bush administration thinks it is. And so this is our fight–country over partisanship. And so it begins.

And, as long as I’m cutting and pasting, here’s another clip that I found interesting. This one comes from Craig Crawford by way of the Huffington Post:

“Does the Constitution recognize and protect an unenumerated right of privacy?”

I’ll never forget the stunned faces among senators and spectators on the day 15 years ago when Supreme Court nominee David Souter answered that question in the affirmative. It was the first answer of his Senate confirmation hearing, and it showed that he embraced the legal underpinning of Roe v. Wade’s protection of abortion rights. Conservatives were furious, never forgiving President George H.W. Bush for naming Souter. Liberals were shocked, but pleased, and many quickly endorsed his nomination.

The more provocative version of this question, as noted by a commenter here, would be, “Does the Constitution protect a right of privacy that is not in the Constitution?” But the court has ruled that this “unenumerated” right exists, although a growing number of justices oppose it, which is why it is such a critical question for the next round of nominations.

It should be the first question put to President George W. Bush’s nominee, John Roberts. If, like Souter, he says yes, then he’s unlikely to provide the next vote needed to overturn Roe. If he says no, then abortion-rights activists probably should prepare to take their battle to the states and no longer expect the high court to stand in the way of state legislatures that would outlaw abortions.

So, the hearings should be fun. We’ve got a political operative with not much of a record to base our opinions on, and we have very vocal advocacy groups both for and against him. And, we have Roe v. Wade, and lots of other things of immeasurable importance in the balance… And the money, as I type this, is making its way into the coffers of the networks, who will be inundating us these next few weeks with messages from both sides. So, get ready to be assaulted in a way that you never felt possible. This is just the beginning.

…For more information on Roberts, check out the People for the American Way pdf on him and the entries on both Wikipedia and Kosopedia, and this article in Salon.

Oh, and also interesting is this Metafilter entry on Bush’s nomination speech and the coded messages it may have contained for the religious right.

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  1. mark
    Posted July 21, 2005 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    So, in the parlence of our friend Lakoff, what’s the frame going to be? Abortion? Privacy? Abuse of Power? The fact that they didn’t choose to replace O’Connor with someone equally as moderate?

  2. Jim
    Posted July 21, 2005 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Great post!

    I think that the Dems’ best chance is to focus on the process and demand forthright answers from Roberts in the hearings. Make him say what he thinks about Roe, etc. If he won’t talk, then they can oppose him on that basis and even gain popular support for a filibuster. (E.g. “Roberts is making it impossible for the Senate to exercise its advise and consent function,” etc.) If he will talk, then go ahead and give him an up or down vote (unless he admits to something completely unacceptable, like that Constitution in Exile lunacy). The Democrats are not in a position to demand much, but they should be able to strengthen the expectation that nominees will answer the committee’s questions.

  3. Posted July 21, 2005 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    When I measure him against all the potentials who would have been much, much worse, I can’t complain. ‘Least he’s intelligent and well educated, a thing I can’t say about all the potential candidates for the seat.

    Clinton got his confirmed. Now it’s Bush’s turn. “To the winner the spoils.”

    What I’m interested in is how quickly Congress will turn out an anti-abortion law giving the SC orginal or exclusive jurisdiction. This is the big chance to overturn Roe once and for all. Now they’ll have the votes. Will it happen before or after mid-term elections, do you think?

  4. Posted July 21, 2005 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    I saw the quote about a judge in the same vein as Scalia and Thomas I had a heart attack. Dear God, yes, that’s exactly what we need. More hate-filled people on the Supreme Court.

  5. Shanster
    Posted July 21, 2005 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    What makes someone who holds conservative positions hate-filled? Opposition to infanticide? Lack of experience as an ACLU member? Please give me one example of Thomas, Scalia, or Roberts being “hate-filled”.

  6. mark
    Posted July 21, 2005 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t say that he was “hate-filled.” I just said that he was conservative and gave indications that he would, if chosen for the court, overturn Roe v. Wade and other legislation that I happen to agree with… And, just so we’re clear, abortion isn’t “infanticide.”

  7. chris
    Posted July 21, 2005 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Alright people, as the old lady here I have a guess that was discussed w/ other old ladies. Roe v Wade will NEVER be overturned. It just won’t happen. Why? Because that is not what they really want. They being the GOP. What they do want, however, (and they don’t mind floating it on the backs of the millions of innocent dead babies-the millions of dead babies would be in italics if I knew how to do it) is to abolish federal funding, ie-Medicaid, for said outpatient surgery.

    Yes, this is what will happen. And has been happening for many years now in that the states pretty much oversea the disbursement of these monies. And that will be the concession and everyone on their side will be happy. Most of all the Walmart shareholders who fear the decline of the American education system and the depletion of Pell grants are not happening fast enough to allow them to cherry pick late night stockers. Kind of like a reverse Soilent Green. Ever wonder why the highest Walmart earnings come from states that have the most rabid antichoice movements.

    Even before abortion was legal many women, who could afford it, had them in hospitals. They were then know as D & C’s, or dilation and curretage, or menstrual extractions. These will and are still available but will become more common given the Supreme Court is allowed to masturbate onto the will of the people. So whatever.

    And Shanster, I do not mind if you want to call abortions infanticide, but make sure you fit all unwanted baby deaths under that umbrella. AND swear to me that you have NEVER had premarital sex without a condom. Because if you have you truly do not have a ball to stand on regarding your “pro-life” stance.

  8. Shanster
    Posted July 22, 2005 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Mark- My hyperbolic response was to Kathleen’s heart-attack comment. I certainly don’t want to re-tread the abortion waters; it seems no one will ever change their opinions. We can’t agree on a common way to look at the issue.

    Chris- I can swear what you ask, but is why is that a requirement for a “pro-life stance”? I am interested in your idea the GOP being interested only in removing the federal funding; I guess we’ll find out if you’re right.

    I’ve been doing a search for hateful, and haven’t found anything incriminating about Thomas or Scalia, but then again I couldn’t find anything about Ginsburg either. Ann Coulter and Michael Moore, on the other hand turned out plenty.

  9. Shanster
    Posted July 22, 2005 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I didn’t really mean to be inflammatory. An infant is defined as a small baby, the derivation being from Latin for a child who has not yet developed the ability to speak. I think the language supports my wording, but fetucide may be more acceptable.

  10. Tony Buttons
    Posted July 22, 2005 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    A friend just sent this to me. It comes from Billmon:

    Since the guy is probably going to be confirmed anyway, maybe the Dems should praise him instead of slamming him. Talk about his tolerance and his respect for diversity. Congratulate Bush for picking such a moderate, fair-minded jurist — one who has already testified that Roe v Wade is “settled law.” Tell the world they’re overjoyed the president selected a nominee who can reach across the partisan divide, instead of some extremist skin job with a radical religious agenda. Smother Roberts in some hot, juicy Demo love.

    Say that kind of stuff often and loud enough, and it might plant some seeds of doubt in those tiny wing-nut minds: “If the filthy ‘rats like him so much, he mus’ be some kinda librul.”

    Who knows? If enough of the “base” starts talking like Frau Koch (Ann Coulter), it might even force Roberts and his GOP support team to drop the warm and cuddly spin, and demonstrate just how much of a hardliner the guy really is — thereby stripping some of the radar cloaking off the Stealth nominee. But frantic efforts to polish up Roberts’s ultra-right credentials might further feed wing-nut paranoia about the guy: “If he’s one of us, how come they gotta keep defendin’ him alla time? And why don’ his forehead slope down like ourn?”

    Maybe I’m reaching here. But if it worked, it would be a very clever use of political jujitsu — a variation (at least from an extreme right wing point of view) on Lyndon Johnson’s alleged suggestion that his campaign spread a rumor that his opponent enjoyed carnal relations with his barnyard animals.

    “But Lyndon,” his shocked campaign manager supposedly replied, “nobody will believe that!” (This was before Rick Santorum’s time.)

    “Yeah,” Johnson is said to have replied. “But let’s make the sumbitch deny it.”

  11. Posted July 22, 2005 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    That, Mr. Buttons, is just BRILLIANT! Thank you for sharing.

  12. john galt
    Posted July 22, 2005 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    tony is of course Mark’s Psuedonym, How is partial birth abortion (supported by dems) not infanticide? This process involves a viable human having a hole drilled in its skull and its brain sucked out. I don’t really have an objection to an abortion in the first trimester, but if the child is viable outside the womb, isn’t that murder? Or do you guys just not care? If a mother kills her 1mo old baby because its crying.. that’s murder right?? If she kills her 8mo old fetus thats ok?

  13. Jim
    Posted July 23, 2005 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    That’s funny John, because I had begun to think that you were Mark’s alter ego, created to keep us reading this blog.

    Anyway, I’m intrigued by your position on abortion–do you really think that viability should be the defining line? I ask because I strongly believe that decisions about pregnancy should be made by the woman; however, I would also agree with you that (in the absence of extenuating circumstances) it is difficult to distinguish an abortion in the eighth month of pregnancy from infanticide.

    Also, the proper name for the surgical procedure to which you refer is “Intact Dilation and Extraction.” It is performed extremely rarely, and counts for fewer than 0.2% of all abortions performed in the US. For a reason why this procedure might sometimes be justified, consider this discussion from the Wikipedia article on this topic:
    “Some of the babies which fall into this later category have developed hydrocephalus, a generally untreatable condition usually leading to fatal abnormalities or permanent and severe deformity and disability. Approximately 1 in 2,000 babies develop hydrocephalus while in the womb; this is about 5,000 a year in the United States. The defect is not usually discovered until late in the second trimester of pregnancy. If a baby develops hydrocephalus, the head may expand to a size of up to 250% of the radius of a normal newborn skull, making it impossible for it to pass through the cervix.”

  14. chris
    Posted July 23, 2005 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Again, no man can discuss abortion as morally unacceptable unless that man does not, and has not, practiced premarital or extramarital sex without a condom.

    A man who cannot morally accept a termination is then morally compelled to prevent unwanted pregnancy, and at least on an individual level to always use a condom. As abstinence, a condom, or a vasectomy is the only way that he can guaruntee that pregnancy will not be a result of recreational sex. If he feels he has a right to make a decision after a pregnancy has begun, then he has a moral obligation to prevent that pregnancy from beginning (provided said sex act was committed without the intention of a planned pregnancy).

    Oh, and by the way, that fucking bullshit about, “she said she was on the pill (said in a really whiny voice)” ain’t gonna fly. Nor does it count in a paternity trial w/ respect to child support. And then again, neither does the argument that the man used a condom. Which really only leaves one with abstinence. Perhaps the religious right/Bush administration is right then to sock all that funding into abstinence programs.

    Sorry about the tangent Mark. I know I should stay on thread. I promise to be better in the future.

  15. mark
    Posted July 23, 2005 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    As Jim says, the proceedure that John is talking about is extremely rare, and I doubt that more than one or two cases can be cited per year of women doing it just because they didn’t want to have a baby. The fact that he brings it up as a reason to ban all abortions would be like if I brought up the case of Pat Tillman, the US soldier who was killed by his own fellow soldiers during the heat of battle, as a case against war. “This war makes absolutely no sense. We’re killing our own men.” True, but it’s a small percentage and it’s not a fair argument, at least in my judgement, as to why we should end the war…. Does that make any sense at atll?

  16. john galt
    Posted July 23, 2005 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Looks like you’re off your meds again.. I never said I wanted to “Ban all abortion” I even said that I’m not against an early abortion (first month). The moral quandry here is when does sentience begin? To terminate at 8mos I consider infanticide. If a man murders a woman who is 8mo’s pregnant, that man is charged with the death of the baby, if I woman does it.. its ok? I see a moral delima here. All I wanted to point out is that if the child could live outside the womb on its own and you kill it.. why isn’t that murder? It is also important to point out that NOW lobbied not to have Scott Peterson charged with infanticide for killing his wifes unborn children.. They didn’t want the courts to take up this rather sticky problem. I’m don’t agree with the life begins at conception crowd, but neither do I agree with the “it’s not a human until labor” crowd.

  17. mary
    Posted July 23, 2005 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    It is all about privacy for the person that is lving the issue. Not about a difference of a day or week, but very simply up to that person living the issue.

  18. Posted July 24, 2005 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    Speaking of meds and who’s on and who’s off, John, you earlier said you weren’t against 1st trimester abortion, a trimester is 3 months, not one.
    Then you referenced not prosecuting for Lacy Scotts unborn children, if that were the case we could charge any murderer with up to hundreds of murders each time. We could prosecute male masturbators. We could prosecute woman on the pill. Of course I do realize you actually meant child. I just can’t resist pointing up your errors since you called Mark out.
    I don’t think all this prosecuting for damage, murder etc. of unborns has arisen in the last 10 years or so for any other purpose than to incrementally further the right to life agenda.
    Many religious folk certainly didn’t have such qualms when it was fairly common to eviscerate living women and drag out their unborns and entrails when prosecuting for witchcraft, heresy, harlotry and other crimes in the middle ages .
    And of course the modern example which is many of these same people raising such furor over the sanctity of life and the preciousness of children now, have no interest in or remorse for, living children of other cultures being destroyed by corporate and/or foreign policies that this government forms and/or supports and/or enforces.
    But I know I’m just asking for more of the very same old same. Dont know why I felt like bothering tonight, I just did.

  19. Shanster
    Posted July 24, 2005 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    Actually, Stella, the prosecuting for damage to a woman who is with-Fetus (I wouldn’t be so presumtuous as to say with-child) goes back to the mosaic law. It’s only mentioned once that I found, but the punishment was still harsher if the human fetus was miscarried. So, it ain’t jes them newfangled Raht-to-lahfers what gots an agenda.
    If it makes you feel any better, I, for one, do feel for those unfortunate children in other cultures, but currently my only ways of helping are by supporting international adoption and missionaries who aid orphans…at least it’s somethin.

  20. john galt
    Posted July 24, 2005 at 8:39 pm | Permalink


    Ok first trimester is 3mos, I just think that if your going to abort, the earlier you do it the better. I don’t know where sentience begins, but if we ever figure it out that should be the cutoff. Abortion must be horrible for the woman, I can’t imagine living the rest of my life with such a big what-if… Its probably worse if you in China where the govt. supports forced abortion for women who have too many children (WHO funded).. Is a forced abortion murder? I find it odd that the people who are so rabidly pro-abortion believe it is only up to the mother.. If a man didn’t want to have a child and acted to prevent the pregnancy going to term, that would be a crime. This whole notion that the living (person in control) is the ultimate arbiter of life seems a bit selfish to me. Is a fetus at 8mos not living? Do premies at 5mos not survive and thrive? A friend of mine has three children all born at 5mos or less. Amazing how much invective I generated just by questioning the moral ramifications of abortion and admitting a pretty moderate stance on the issue. If as Mark states that partial birth procedures are so rare, then why did the dems make such a big deal about it? For the case of encephalitis (probably got that wrong) would a C-Section work? Seems like thats probably the majority of deliveries these days given liability suits. I’m sure most rational people would support an abortion if the life of the mother was at risk, but I am also sure that a large percentage of mothers would take the risk for their child.

  21. john galt
    Posted July 24, 2005 at 8:43 pm | Permalink


    After re-reading your post, when has a woman had her child dragged out for witchcraft lately? Thats just stupid. Good attempt at tossing a red-herring in there though. I’m sure if you go back 2,000 years you can find other barbaric pratices to attribute to modern christians.

  22. Jim
    Posted July 24, 2005 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    It was the Pro-Lifers, not the Democrats, who made a major issue out of intact dilation and extraction (D&X). Knowing that most Americans want abortion to be legal, Pro-Lifers have tried to erode reproductive rights by restricting access to abortion, cutting funding for abortion, and making illegal particular procedures (including intact D&X). John’s suggestion that a woman who has decided to abort a hydrocephalous fetus should undergo unnecessary surgery (a C section) for no good medical reason shows how important it is that women be able to make their own decisions about their medical care.

    A recent report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute shows that:
    “Almost 90 percent of abortions are performed in the first trimester — during the first 12 weeks after the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period — with most performed before nine weeks. Because of newer surgical and medical techniques, the proportion of abortions performed at six weeks or earlier has almost doubled in the past decade.

    “Less than 1 percent of abortions are done after 24 weeks.”


  23. mark
    Posted July 24, 2005 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the numbers, Jim.

  24. chris
    Posted July 24, 2005 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Stella- Just be happy that Galt did not refer to you a “human cum dumpster who murdered her baby”. As he referred to me in an earlier post. Meaning, who gives a shit what he says.

    Now, regarding Galt’s concept of the outlook of preemies. WTF are you? The Tom Cruise of pro-life? You have no ides of what kind of medical and developmental struggles these children will be going through. So DO NOT be so fucking flippant about it, and using it as a defense against abortion. You say you are prochoice and then you start conjecturing on the quality of life of medically endangered infants?

    Stick to what you know buddy, the Bush Administration. In other words, the unlikely and underqualified success of the priviledged mediocre white male.

  25. john galt
    Posted July 25, 2005 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    where did I refer to you as a “human cum dumpster who murdered her baby”?

  26. chris
    Posted July 25, 2005 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    A while back, so long ago it would take too long to find it. And, you didn’t say I murdered my baby. I think it was more like…’if you want to be a human cum dumpster who murders her baby’. So you more kind of conjectured about the baby murder thing and never actually said I did this. But human cum dumpster I remember. I was pretty impressed with misogynistic metaphor.

    Anyway, sorry I got so angry but the preemie, and save the hydroencephalitic baby via C-section was crossing a line for me.

  27. john galt
    Posted July 25, 2005 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    well I’m pretty sure I didn’t say that.. not something I would come up with, I don’t think the premie or C-section to save a baby was in any way crossing a line.. Do people not have c-sections to save babies that cant be delivered vaginally? Seems less traumatic than aborting a baby that can’t be delivered vaginally to me.. I wasn’t making a statement that abortion is wrong, simply pondering the moral issues.. Seems like some people can’t even discuss these issues in a rational way without flying into hysteria

  28. chris
    Posted July 25, 2005 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    This is not hysteria but personal experience. There you go…ya fuckin happy now? And please, no you don’t have the right to elaborate.

    And yeah, “cum dumpster” was you.

  29. mark
    Posted July 25, 2005 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, I tink you may have said it too, John… Unfortunately, the search function on the site apparently doesn’t search the comments though, so I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.

  30. john galt
    Posted July 25, 2005 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    well if it was under my name, it wasn’t me as I don’t think I’ve ever used the pejorative term “cum dumpster” I googled it but all I got was alot of bukkake sites.

  31. Posted July 25, 2005 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    While I don’t have a clear recollection of who said it, it was in the heighth of the flame wars (november, December?) and it definitely got said. In my sometimes faulty memory it was either John or Mike. John it might be worthwhile for you to research it, as I believe it’s one of the things that impugns your credibility here.
    And in response to your “That’s just stupid” comment,
    it’s not stupid; (A) it’s historical fact, (B) I didn’t say Christians I said “many religious folk”, and (C) I was using it as a comparison to the justifications used for modern atrocities. Therefore it was completely in context.
    Indeed there are myriad examples which we could trace back way beyond 2000 years and most definitely bring forward to right this very frickin minute, of the same shit occurring now, when people are whipped up by their compatriots into a (frequently religious and/or ideological) fervor, become mobs with a mob mentality, or call them soldiers as many do, and commit atrocities. This is precisely my point.
    Also if you think women pregnant or no (and children and men) are not being mutilated, stoned, burned and yes, disembowelled for witchcraft, apostasy, heresy, adultery and harlotry on this planet right now usually by religious people, you’re wrong.

  32. Shanster
    Posted July 26, 2005 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    That was a really helpful point about the conditions of the partial birth abortions, and related statistics. Even as a pro-lifer, I understand how this could be necessary, and possibly should be on the doctors’ list of options. That’s a medical, emergency situation, and that’s not the real issue in the life/choice debate. I think the issue is whether or not the Human Fetus has any rights, and if those rights outweigh the mother’s. I was an unwanted/unplanned baby, and I am glad that my teenage mom sacrificed her short-term goals (college, sleep) so that I could exist.

  33. Ricardo el Alab
    Posted July 26, 2005 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The cum dumster is over here.

    It is no Mr. Galt, like you say but his friend from work, Mike.

  34. Tony Buttons
    Posted July 26, 2005 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    What if we could compromise and just make abortion illegal for white women? I suspect that several Republicans would be willing to go that far.

  35. chris
    Posted July 26, 2005 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Shanster, you may have been unplanned but you most certainly were wanted. I am in awe of women who share your mother’s experience and believe we need to do more to support them. I wish we could move policy discussion from abortion to the needs of the children who are hear.

    Educaation, quality daycare, training and or college funding for single parents. Larger tax exemptions for single parents. Seriously enforced child support laws. And maybe some type of affirmative action for single parents.

    I think anti-choice movement is punitive in two ways. The first being, it potentially brings a child into a hostile environment and two, it takes the focus off children and parents who could really use some real federal support to keep their families together in a functional way. Are you listening Senator Santorum? Where are the proceeds from his book sale going?

    And Tony, ain’t that the truth.

  36. chris
    Posted July 26, 2005 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Grammer check: here

    If the anti-choice movement were to be successful, it potentially brings children…

  37. Shanster
    Posted July 26, 2005 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Chris, I was with you completely for the first two paragraphs, except for the Affirmative Action idea, but I reckon you were just thinking out loud…maybe some law protecting single parents from being fired or dismissed for being good parents and taking their kid to a doctor instead of finishing some super-important corporate memo about the misuse of staples.
    Third paragrah…later.

  38. Shanster
    Posted July 26, 2005 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Potentially bringing a child into a hostile environment? If I may be so bold as to edit this phrase slightly, just for correctness…”potentially allows children to enter a hostile environment.” OK? I see your point, but if this were a one-year-old, we would have Child Protective Services remove the child to a safe environment, rather than no environment, or get counseling for the parents. ie, change the environment not the child.

    Back to the nominated Judge Roberts…What is the real information about the brief that he wrote about Roe v. Wade, and what was the basis for the opinion that it was wrongly decided? Right to privacy? I think a better argument for abortion could be made if we grant the human fetus status as a living person, who has de facto transferred his or her durable power of attorney to the mother. As opposed to the “Right to privacy”. I don’t usually try to make the other side’s arguments, but I just thought this was a more compelling argument.

  39. chris
    Posted July 27, 2005 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    I live in New York City which is next door to New Jersey. The federal government has stepped in to sue NJ’s child protection services for actually bringing children into more harmful “protective” custody then the home they were removed from. Shanster, you gave me the impression you were not naive, but more an idealist. I applaud idealism as it usually provokes action. However…

    I have worked many years in different social service programs where I have heard the personal horror stories of children and adults who had been in the custody of protective services and foster care. Not to mention the outcomes of children who never made it into custody. One case that sticks out is the 9 yo child who was HIV+, and had genital warts. These were merely the physical symptoms of the years of abuse she had experienced in her previous nine years at the hands of her parents and the child protection services.

    I am sure your argument is that these individuals have a right to life as much as those people who did not have these horrific experiences. I agree, I will go you one further. They have a right to life without these horrors.

    Now my question is, what are those individuals who are so vehemently anti-choice doing to guarantee access to such a quality of life. Once I see the anti-choice movement working towards improving the quality of life of those children who are here, maybe I will see all their bellowing as something more than self-serving righteousness. This sound screen keeps us from tackiling such issues. Which is just what they want as the GOP would rather see tax breaks than funding for continued, well conceived social service programming. And, my friend, as Tony Buttons so eloquently and succinctly surmised, we will never see the end of abortion. They’re using you to sing and dance that old time religion while they steal the chickens out of your pension fund.

    Reg.-Roberts. Whatever. A woman would have been nice. But at this point, does it even matter?

  40. Shanster
    Posted July 27, 2005 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    I’ll take the idealist monicker. What are anti-choicers doing to guarantee access to such a quality of life? I can’t say, but there really is no such guarantee. Anything could happen to me or you today, although I pray that it doesn’t because I’m enjoying this exchange, that would shatter our idea of ‘quality’. I would be all for putting more into social programs and taking some out of the space program. I tried to find the GOP budget, to say that they were spending X to promote adoption or single-parent assistance, but I couldn’t find the any simple, clear budget listed. I’ll just keep singing my old time religion while they take your chickens (I don’t have a pension fund.)

  41. Posted July 27, 2005 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to digress, but perhaps it might be apropos to look at what O’Connor said in the majority opinion that she wrote in response to a Roe v. Wade type challenge:

    Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt. Yet 19 years after our holding that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy in its early stages, Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), that definition of liberty is still questioned.
    . . . .
    Men and women of good conscience can disagree, and we suppose some always shall disagree, about the profound moral and spiritual implications of terminating a pregnancy, even in its earliest stage. Some of us as individuals find abortion offensive to our most basic principles of morality, but that cannot control our decision. Our obligation is to define the liberty of all, not to mandate our own moral code.
    . . . .
    The obligation to follow precedent begins with necessity, and a contrary necessity marks its outer limit. With Cardozo, we recognize that no judicial system could do society’s work if it eyed each issue afresh in every case that raised it. See B. Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process 149 (1921). Indeed, the very concept of the rule of law underlying our own Constitution requires such continuity over time that a respect for precedent is, by definition, indispensable. See Powell, Stare Decisis and Judicial Restraint, 1991 Journal of Supreme Court History 13, 16.
    . . . .
    No evolution of legal principle has left Roe’s doctrinal footings weaker than they were in 1973. No development of constitutional law since the case was decided has implicitly or explicitly left Roe behind as a mere survivor of obsolete constitutional thinking.

    The excerpts are from Planned Parenthood of Pa. vs. Casey in 1992. I think it’s interesting that her words totally contradict AG Alberto Gonzales’ interview yesterday, where he said any new justice could vote however he wanted, even on a settled issue of law. To do so is to completely ignore the doctrine of stare decisis (that precedents, unless obviously wrong, must stand). I think it’s also interesting that she declines to enforce her own moral code on others, which is what the debate really ought to be about.

  42. Teddy Glass
    Posted July 27, 2005 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Are you suggesting, TG, based on the words of our Attorney General, that the Supreme Court may move to invalidate prior rulings without going to the effort of proving first that those rulings were wrong?

  43. Posted July 27, 2005 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think SCOTUS would do so on its own, but that previous 5-4 majority would flip if the issue were brought before it again. If you do the math, Casey was 5-4 upholding Roe v. Wade. If you assume the current Justices vote as they already have on record, and that Roberts will follow Gonzales’ reasoning when he takes O’Connor’s place, then you have a 5-4 ruling overturning Roe.

    With all the talk about how impossible it is that this would happen, I must admit that I don’t think it is impossible at all. I think the opposite — that it is very likely that Roe will be overturned.

  44. Teddy Glass
    Posted July 27, 2005 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    It’s my understanding that even if Roe is overturned that individual states can still allow abortion. Is that correct?

  45. Posted July 27, 2005 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Oh, of course. All Roe really stands for is that women have a constitutional right to abortion during the first trimester. Without the right, states can do whatever they want. Many will ban it, some will not. I believe that some of the laws that were invalidated by Roe and its progeny are still on the books, so if Roe is overturned, it may well be that all those laws that have not been repealed in those states may instantly be binding.

    What disturbs me is the lack of commitment to precedent. We are not only losing the swing vote, but we are losing someone who values precedent and will follow it for proper and principled reasons that have guided our judiciary for over a century.

    For example, the Michigan Supreme Court, the majority of which was appointed by Engler and are Federalists (like Roberts, Thomas and Scalia), has for a decade now been turning the clock back, ignoring decades-old precedents with no respect for stare decisis. The MI Supreme Ct has a pro-business, anti-consumer agenda that knows no bounds. If SCOTUS does the same thing, abortion may end up just one of a large laundry list of important rights lost by Americans.

    The only thing standing between us and the tyranny of the majority is the Constitution. If it falls to the political will of the majority, anything goes. By losing O’Connor, we are losing the swing vote on a number of these issues.

  46. chris
    Posted July 27, 2005 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Yes, TG and TG you are right reg. the state’s right to ultimately decide. Much to Scalia’s relief or chagrin. As he really woould be stuck here.

    Reg. Roberts, given what I read today in the NYT’s I guess he seems to be a nasty fucker with all the knee jerk reactions to all constitutional challenges that liberals hold sacred. Very, very, very, eloquent knee jerk (emphasis on jerk) reactions.

    But again. This juggernaut has gained such momentum (The Bush administration) only the apocolypse could stop it at this point.

  47. Jim
    Posted July 28, 2005 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Since no one has taken up Shanster

  48. Shanster
    Posted July 28, 2005 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    So, Jim, your central opposition is that we don’t have a clear milestone for defining the beginning of personhood, and I agree. Therefore, given that a sperm isolated from an egg and vice-versa will die (be lost) naturally during urination or menstruation, we do have a clear milestone which alters that isolated situation and leads naturally to personhood: conception. If pro-abortion people would propose another milestone (brain activity/heart development) as the basis for personhood, there may be some on the pro-life side who would be willing to concede and allow that line to be drawn. Of course they would hope to re-draw it later, but at least we could agree.

  49. Jim
    Posted July 28, 2005 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Roe v. Wade does point to a defining milestone: viability. Of course, this has proved problematic, as medical advances have moved the point of viability ever earlier. Heart development and brain activity begin too early in fetal development to be useful markers of personhood.

    You point out that sperm and unfertilized eggs naturally die and are lost, but so is a fertilized egg/embryo if it is not implanted in the uterus. Thinking of the embryo/fetus as an independent organism, and the mother

  50. Tony Buttons
    Posted July 28, 2005 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Shanester, I must confess, I thought that you were a regular run of the mill troll when you first started dropping in. Now I’m actually starting to like you though.

    It’s refreshing to debate with someone who is legitimately interested in working out solutions, and not just winning at any cost.

    As for the start of life, I suspect there’s a very identifiable point in the development of a fetus where it would, even without it’s mother, be able to make it in the world without too much in the way of medical assistance. I’d have to do some research, but it’s probably a few weeks into the third trimester. While there’s probably some faction of the anti-abortion folks who would agree to that line of demarkation, however, I think most would stand firm on conception as the beginning of life. I’d like to see the “pro life” movement have that internal debate, however.

  51. Shanster
    Posted July 28, 2005 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Tony, I try. I wasn’t sure whether this site was mainly a liberal vent or frank discussion, and I’m pleased to find that sometimes it is the latter.

    I don’t think that debate will really happen within the pro-life movement, though. If the wording of the law were just right, it could be acceptable to both. i.e. Life begins some time before x, therefore after x abortion shall only be allowed in y cases. Both sides could claim victory.

  52. chris
    Posted July 28, 2005 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    34 weeks at gestation is the fetal age that OB/GYNs will not attempt to stop premature labor. That is not to say that abortion should be allowable up until this time. Just how the medical community sees possible independent viability is for babies.

    Speaking of abortion. Mark, when do you pull the plug on a thread.

  53. john galt
    Posted July 28, 2005 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    so 8.5mos or so is the cutoff? That’s crazy. A friend of mine has 3 healthy kids all born around 5mos. Unless the mother is going to die.. an abortion at 8mos is an extreme act of hubris. If they were to give birth at 8mos and then kill the child they’d be charged with murder. There’s a lot of moral issues here and I just fail to concede that life is disposable.

  54. john galt
    Posted July 28, 2005 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    doesn’t RvW specify the first trimester as the cutoff?

  55. chris
    Posted July 28, 2005 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    GOOD GOD NO JOHN THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM SAYING. My comment was in response to TB’s comment, “As for the start of life, I suspect there’s a very identifiable point in the development of a fetus where it would, even without it’s mother, be able to make it in the world without too much in the way of medical assistance.” I said that OB/GYNs do not try to prevent premature labor after 34 weeks knowing that the infant will probably not need any excessive medical attention. Meaning, this when they believe that an infant is independently viable.

    For the record I believe that 1rst trimester is totally acceptable for those who elect to terminate a pregnancy. And partial birth for the reasons that partial birth is legalized. But that is such a fuzzy issue.

    I have a partial birth conundrum. During one of my previous employments I was witness to a medical ethical debate. That was a case of a woman with AIDS who was pregnant and wanted a late term abortion. I am curious about some of the conservative readers view of this case.

    And please quit using the preemie argument as a defense against abortion. Your friend was having a planned pregnancy. This is an another scenario entirely. BTW, I find it VERY hard to believe that your friend had three babies at 20 wks gestation and they are perfectly fine. In fact, that they lived after delivery of 20 wks would be an act of God. The gestational age has got to be higher than that.

  56. mark
    Posted July 28, 2005 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ve still got a few weeks before I have to decide whether or not to pull the plug on this thread… Let’s see how it goes.

    All kidding aside, I’m proud of you guys. This is a really good conversation, and much more interesting (and fruitful) than anything I’ve seen recently in the corporate press. I just wish the people of the United States would allow such issues to be decided here, in our comments’ section.

  57. Enoch Kwok
    Posted July 29, 2005 at 3:53 am | Permalink


    Are you grateful you were not aborted?

  58. Jim
    Posted July 29, 2005 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    I’m also pleased that we could find so much common ground on such a highly polarized issue.

    In response to EK’s question: Yes, I’m glad that my mother did not have an abortion, but that has no bearing on the question of whether abortion should be legal. I’m also glad that my parents did not put off having children until my father had finished school, because if they had my brother and I would not exist, but I do not therefore think that contraception should be illegal.

  59. Tony Buttons
    Posted July 29, 2005 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I don’t want to complicate the issue, but, since you asked, I feel as though if I had been aborted, I would have been born somewhere else at a different time. I don’t think my personal beliefs should influence legislation though.

  60. Shanster
    Posted July 29, 2005 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    The AIDS baby may be an ethical conundrum. Let’s think it through. Let’s assume the baby DOES have AIDS. Life expectancy would be very short, and most likely very difficult and very expensive. From a conservative view, that’s still no justification for the late term abortion. I would say “give the kid a chance to breathe fresh air, maybe see mom’s face, be surrounded by loving caring people for as long as life lasts.” The conservatives SHOULD then be willing (but admittedly many often aren’t) to foot the medical bills, or more likely get some private sector group to do so. What was the actual decision?

  61. chris
    Posted July 29, 2005 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Shanster, I agree baby, I agree. Two sad notes, the woman chose not to continue the pregnancy…though I cannot judge her. Then again, I am to often to quick to judge women I perceive as bad mothers. The other unrelated sad note, a liberal academic woman I know of was in the process of adopting a child. Once she found out the baby was HIV+ she stopped the adoption process. Sometimes abortions happen after the baby is born and I often wonder which is worse. Though, I force myself not to judge her either.

  62. Teagan
    Posted July 29, 2005 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    What do you mean when you say that “sometimes abortions happen after the baby is born”?

  63. chris
    Posted July 29, 2005 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Parents abort the parenting role/process. A gross (def. not in the icky sense but more a very rough square peg in a round hole fit sense) is the example I gave of the Professor who began the adoption process and then decided against with the new knowledge of the baby’s HIV status. Again, I am not saying that the Professor’s decision was either wrong or right, just that she “aborted”-if you will- her decision to adopt the baby.

  64. john galt
    Posted August 3, 2005 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I think the AP has the answer to when life begins..

    Life Begins at Conception–if You’re a Panda

    “A 13-year-old giant panda gave birth to a cub at San Diego Zoo, but a second baby died in the womb, officials said Wednesday.”–Associated Press, Aug. 3

    “A cancer-ravaged woman robbed of consciousness by a stroke has given birth after being kept on life support for three months to give her fetus extra time to develop.”–Associated Press, Aug. 3

  65. Posted August 3, 2005 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    yes and the fetus was well under 2 pounds which makes it an extremely low birth weight baby. That means the chances for CP, under 85 IQ, need for lifelong ongoing medical supervision, vision or hearing problems, developmental, emotional, neurological, pulmonary and cardiology problems etc. etc. have increased substantially.
    Then there was the recent article pondering the question why in our state with only 17.5% black population, black children made up 52% of the children in the foster care system.
    But I’m sure neither of these has anything at all to do with issues such as equal access to supportive services for women and mothers, affordable, non-judgemental birth control and abortion services, a society which respects women as owners of their own bodies or when a fetus becomes “viable”.

  66. john galt
    Posted August 4, 2005 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    from Taranto

    ACLU Defends Patriarchy
    “The American Civil Liberties Union has sued a school district on behalf of a 14-year-old rap music fan who was expelled after he posted lyrics on the Internet in which, according to police, he threatened to shoot up his school and named a potential victim,” the Associated Press reports from Pittsburgh:

    The ACLU said the songs by Anthony Latour, of Ellwood City, are protected speech, among other reasons, because they were composed at home and not brought to school. The suit says Latour’s expulsion in May from the Riverside Beaver County School District violated his parents’ right to control his upbringing.

    “The school may not like Anthony’s songs, but it is beyond their ability to dictate what he reads, writes or even raps at home,” said Witold “Vic” Walczak, the ACLU of Pennsylvania’s legal director. . . .

    “It is our job, not that of school officials, to decide what music Anthony can compose and listen to in our home,” Anthony’s father, John Latour, said.

    We tend to agree with the ACLU’s position on this one, but we have to laugh at the idea that the group is an advocate of “his parents’ right to control his upbringing.” Would the ACLU support this principle if the Latours had a daughter and didn’t want her to get an abortion? The question answers itself. Patriarchy is just fine, though, when the kid is a rapper or a husband wants to kill his disabled wife.

  67. Shanster
    Posted August 5, 2005 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    Tend to agree with the ACLU? No. His threats directly to both a specific place and specific person (if that’s true) would make the posting of his lyrics a crime in some states under cyber-stalking legislation. I think NC has such a law. It doesn’t matter to me who was being threatened, but I’m sure it would to the ACLU. What if the intended victim were gay? Then it’s hate speech? But if the target is a white straight euro-American male, then it’s protected?

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