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Monday, November 14, 2005

Alito's letter

The Washington Times:

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, wrote that 'the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion' in a 1985 document obtained by The Washington Times. 'I personally believe very strongly' in this legal position, Mr. Alito wrote on his application to become deputy assistant to Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III.
This is the big news of the day and it has both Liberals and Conservatives girding their loins and preparing for apocalyptic battle. I don't have any real issues philosophically with what Alito wrote, indeed I agree with them by and large and think that they are sound reasoning. Unlike many though, I get no thrill out of the prospect of a great battle for the Supreme Court. I think that such a battle, and the glee with which conservatives in particular are embracing the concept of such a battle is harmful. There is little interest in convincing anyone that the principles Alito holds are correct, rather their is delerious joy at defeating the liberals and showing Republican primacy. I suspect that conservatives will get what they want. The letter makes a knock down drag out more likely, they will probably win the fight, and that win will probably serve them well in 2006. I don't know how well that will serve us all in the long run though. The war for the Supreme Court isn't the real war we are facing. This lust for partisan combat, from both sides to an extent but especially among the more rabid conservatives divides us as a nation at a time when we can ill afford that. Let me be clear, I support Alito's nomination. He strikes me as a very good judge. From what I have read about him he seems to have a very good legal mind and approaches his cases fairly and consistently. I don't think conservatives should not support Alito. I don't think that the fact that this letter came out is a bad, or an unfortunate thing. What I don't like is the attitude conservatives are displaying (here is one example many more can be found.) Rather than saying 'yes, Alito think that and we think that and here is why' they are saying it doesn't matter that you liberals don't like it we are the big dog and we can take you. I am under no illusions that a more respectful attitude would change many Senate votes or make liberals like Alito more. It might though help elevate, rather than degrade, political discourse in general. Liberals are not the enemy. They may be wrong (and I often think they are) but for the most part they are trying to do what is right just like the rest of us. Many conservatives seem to in love with the myth of themselves as valiant heroes engaged in a mythic struggle against the evil forces of liberalism though. This myth demands a gotterdammerung of course, and they are delighted to have it.


Blogger The probligo said...

Dave, it truly is sad when the nation that promotes itself as "the greatest nation on earth" has to take a religious stand into its judiciary.

Yes, NZ has legislation setting out the process by which a woman may legally procure an abortion.

Yes, as a consequence of that legislation, NZ has comparatively "open" abortion laws.

Yes, there are "well meaning" people in this country who would (and still try to) have that legislation changed.

The point is that having that law does not make abortion compulsory. If a woman chooses to have an abortion, she may seek that as a legal option, without her choices being limited by the arbitrary "beliefs" of others.

The point is that doing away with the law makes the continuance of the pregnancy compulsory on the mother. That continuance is irrespective of the consequences (in EVERY respect) to both mother and child.

If the child is then put up for adoption as was the norm in the past then the results can be quite satisfactory. The big problem that NZ faces at that point (and I suspect that the same may well exist in the US) is that most people seeking to adopt want a blue-eyed blonde girl, and most of the babies up for adoption are brown-eyed, black haired and coloured. Well, they certainly would be a high proportion in this country...

11/14/2005 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Certainly most countries hold that a legislature has the right to set laws governing abortion. The U.S. is an outlier in that regard, where currently abortion is not subject to the legislature but has been determined to be a fundamental privacy right.

The question with Alito in regards to abortion is not whether or not abortion is 'good' or whether or not is should be legal, properly speaking the question is whether the Constitution mandates that abortion be legal.

I am of the opinion that abortion should be legal, but that the constitution does not mandate it's legality and that the legislatures of the various states can handle the legality of abortion just fine.

I do believe that there is a point, sometime after the first trimester and before the third, when the fetus is also a person and that terminating its life is not a matter of 'choice' anymore than terminating the life of an infant would be.

11/14/2005 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Cubicle said...

"without her choices being limited by the arbitrary "beliefs" of others."

The woman made her choice to get pregant. Now she wants to undo that choice.

I belive women get one and only one choice card to play. (If they were raped, they they did not get to play their choice card, so they can play in in the form of an abortion if they want.)

Secondly, what if the belifs of others are right and the belif of the woman is wrong. In that case the womans choices are limited by the beliefs of others (ie murder, speeding, drugs..you name it)

11/14/2005 03:09:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

"The woman made her choice to get pregant. Now she wants to undo that choice."

Huh? I note that you would allow abortion following rape.

What about failure of a contraceptive - pill, loop, whatever it might be?

How is about rape by a husband? Is that in your law or is that a legal thing for a husband to do?

What about the 16 y-o girl given alchohol by an 19 y-o boy and then has "consensual" sex?

Cubicle, I think that you need to leave the four walls...

11/15/2005 01:30:00 AM  
Blogger K. Pablo said...

Aww, come ON! Where's your sense of fun? For most, politics is a spectator sport. Other than voting in elections, the average politics junkie has nothing better to do than to get exercised over polemics. Conservatives truly relish the sense of outrage someone like Teddy Kennedy can inspire; it is a self-affirming & validating catharsis. Likewise, I'm sure liberals find enormous satisfaction (whether they admit it or not) indulging in self-righteous vitriol at the latest atrocity perpetrated by the diabolical Chimpy Hallibushitler.

This psychological mass mechanism is particularly comforting to partisans of the out-of-power side of the spectrum. Surely, you must remember the previous administration?

While you are to be lauded for desiring more light rather than heat, I don't know how realistic that goal is given human nature. It was ever thus in politics; look at some of the editorials contemporary to George Washington's Farewell Address ("the loathings of a sick mind", or those of "a tyrannical monster"). Tom Paine himself wrote about how he prayed for Washington's death. Incivility is the rule rather than the exception.

11/15/2005 08:23:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Some people go to hockey games for the fights. Others to watch atheletes compete against one another.

I like politics for the competition of ideas. The more 'fights' there are, the less of a game there is.

I don't think that this will disapear, but it does rise and fall, and I think we are in a peak right now.

11/15/2005 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger K. Pablo said...

I go to hockey games to watch my team win. I don't like it if they lose or if they win on a bad call. Yesterday I went to see the Lightning spank the Flyers 5-2; though there were no fights I do remember a time the Flyers were a more physical team and this made for better hockey.

11/15/2005 02:06:00 PM  

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