Opposition to abortion != a vote to overturn Roe

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Dahlia Lithwick complains about Harriet Miers's evasion on the topic of abortion:
Nor, she told Sen. Charles Schumer of New York in no uncertain terms, does anyone know "my views on Roe v. Wade." But today it seems that a whole lot of pro-lifers not only know her views on the subject but were assured of her support in reversing it. Affixed to the mostly innocuous responses to the Judiciary Committee questionnaire she turned in this morning was another questionnaire, from 1989, which she filled out at the behest of Texans United for Life while running for Dallas City Council. In this document, the eager-to-please candidate pledged her willingness to actively support ratification of a constitutional amendment to ban all abortion, unless it was necessary to save the life of the mother. She promised to oppose the use of city money to "promote, encourage or provide referrals for abortions." She pledged to vote against the appointment of "pro-abortion persons" to any city boards or committees that dealt with health issues. (Here she appended this lawyerly qualification: "to the extent pro-life views are relevant.") She also promised to use her influence as a pro-life official to "promote the pro-life cause."

While it does seem likely that Miers is dissembling about her views on Roe, saying that you're in favor of a constitutional amendment doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to vote to overturn Roe. Remember that at least in theory--although Dan Simon will no doubt argue not in practice--judges make decisions on the law not on their personal preferences. It's perfectly possible to believe that (1) abortion is bad (2) it should be illegal and yet (3) the constitution protects it. If you believed all those things, then you could certainly be in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. After all, consider that many people believe the opposite position: abortion should be legal and yet the constitution doesn't guarantee a right to abortion (i.e., that Roe was wrongly decided).

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3 Comments

I guess I should go first...

There's also the small matter that overturning Roe would not make abortion illegal, except in those states which have not repealed their anti-abortion laws. Quite a few pro-lifers understand that constitutionally, this is (properly currently) a states' issue.

Furthermore, I believe that most of the "anti-abortion" crowd support a ammendment protecting innocent human life from conception through natural death. This is designed to hit abortion, euthanasia/assisted suicide, and reasearch cloning, and plainly goes much further than any but the most (conservative) activist court might attempt.

As for Miers, the selection procedure (which excluded men) is too deeply flawed for me to be able to support the nomination. Nevermind her personal qualifications.

Frankly, I support the Miers nomination, BECAUSE she is an incompetent toady with the loyalty of a weather vane (remember, she was a democrat when texas was democratic. she's loyal to whoever her boss is, but where will her loyalties go if she doesn't HAVE a boss anymore?).

In the supreme court, she is just 1 of 9, so gross incompetence is not a handicap for the court as a whole. It's not like FEMA, NASA, FBI, CIA, or just about any other institution. This is a case where incompetence is not a crippling defect when it is only 1/9 or 2/9ths.

And consider the alternative: As a moderate, I don't want Scalia Jr: Someone smart, articulate, persuasive, and slightly to the right of atilla the hun. And this is what Bush, if he showed the same loyalty to his electorate as he expects others to show to him, should have selected.

I'd much rather have an incompetent, even IF said incompetent is also slightly to the right of atilla the hun, and even if said incompetent remains a loyal toady. Face it, Miers is the perfect pick, given the current administration. Whe should all endorse her wholeheartedly.

Thank you Jackie Gleason.

Seriously, a principled communist would be less of a threat to the rule of law than someone with "the loyalty of a weather vane". Constancy is a really, REALLY important aspect of the law.

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