Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Perfect Souter:

Giving my obligatory 2 cents on the John Roberts matter, I think he may turn out to be for Bush II what Bush I hoped Souter to be. Roberts not only has perfect credentials for the position, but he is also a "stealth candidate" in that he, as far as we know, has never spoken in his own voice on any controversial constitutional issues. Thus, he hasn't produced any rope with which the other side can use to hang him.

After he is confirmed, I have the feeling that he will be a pretty solid conservative on the bench; certainly I think he will be anti-Roe v. Wade (his wife was Executive VP of this group).

BTW: I'm more concerned with the Griswold line of privacy/liberty cases in general than Roe in particular. Abortion deals with the moral question of whether and when a fetus is a human being with civil rights, and obviously government has a legitimate interest in protecting the life of innocent human beings.

Lawrence and Griswold, on the other hand, deal with what consenting adults do behind closed doors. And that certainly is none of government's business and proscribing such is not a legitimate function of government.

I give an exercise to my Business Law students every semester on Roe and Casey and I can attest that many ordinary, average folks don't understand these cases; they think that if Roe were overruled, automatically all abortions would be illegal. No, it just means that states would decide the issue and certainly many states would indeed illegalize abortion (Alabama, and a few other southern and Midwestern states). But many states, particularly in the Northeast, would retain the legality of abortion. If someone from one of the illegal states were really desperate for an abortion, all they'd have to do is travel to one of the many states, like NJ, Mass, Conn., where abortion would remain legal.

Finally, I'm not saying that I'm in favor of overturning Roe or Casey; I'm just noting that if Roe were overturned, it wouldn't mean the end of all abortions in the US and that in many states, probably most, abortion would remain legal.

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