Tag Archives: abortion rights

Abortion debate brings out the demagogues

I continue to grapple with the most emotional issue of our — or probably any — time.

The issue is abortion. I happen to favor giving a woman the right to decide whether to carry a pregnancy to full term. I also believe there should be some restrictions on that decision. I oppose late-term abortions. I detest the idea of “gender-selection” abortion.

My pro-choice views on this subject have exposed me to those who contend that I “support abortion,” that I “favor abortion.”

I do not support abortion. The basis for that declaration is a simple one: I cannot possibly ever counsel a woman to abort a pregnancy. That decision is not mine to make. It is hers. It also belongs to the father of that baby. It lies also with her spiritual adviser. It rests ultimately with God, or whatever deity she worships.

To that end, such a decision shouldn’t rest with politicians, many of whom have never been pregnant or faced this kind of gut-wrenching decision on their own.

Does my support of pro-choice politicians define me as one who “supports” abortion? No. It doesn’t, for reasons I have tried to explain with this brief blog post.

Why am I writing about this? Because it has troubled me for decades about how this particular issue brings out the demagogues. It fills normally sensible individuals with blind rage.

So I’m getting a couple of matters off my chest … once again.

I have written about this before.

Pro-choice does not equal pro-abortion

I just have this need to clear the air, not that it will satisfy those who stand foursquare on the other side of the great divide separating those who believe women have the right to make decisions regarding their bodies and those who want to make those decisions for them.

Time to praise SCOTUS selection

I am feeling so good over the rescue of the Thai boys and their soccer coach from that flooded cave in northern Thailand that I want to offer a good word for Donald John Trump’s selection to the U.S. Supreme Court.

I’ll stipulate up front that you’ll deem this to be faint praise, but it’s praise nonetheless.

Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court has angered the crackpot Trump “base.” They’re none too happy with Kavanaugh, fearing that he doesn’t appear to be as firmly opposed to Roe v. Wade as the base continues to be. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania chided the president for surrendering to what he called the “Washington elite” by selecting Kavanaugh.

To be sure, the justice nominee is a conservative. He appears to be what one could call a “mainstream conservative,” not a goofball/wack-job conservative.

He has pledged to be independent and to study the law as it is written, not as one wishes it were written.

Is this the kind of judge I would have selected? Of course not! However, Trump is the president of the United States.

By anyone’s measure, Kavanaugh is supremely qualified to serve on the high court. He’s a Yale Law School grad, meaning that the entire Supreme Court would comprise Ivy League legal eagles if Kavanaugh is confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The Senate will nitpick the daylights out of Kavanaugh’s lengthy written record. Senators will need to examine Kavanaugh’s views on health care, as well as on whether sitting presidents can be indicted for criminal offenses. His record suggests he might tilt the “wrong way” on both of those issues.

I continue to believe that while Kavanaugh’s conservative credentials might solidify the court’s right-leaning bias, it doesn’t guarantee it necessarily on every single key ruling that would come before the Supreme Court.

That seeming uncertainty, I submit, is what might be driving the Trump bloc of “base” voters nuts.

SCOTUS nominee needs to get set for big battle

Brett Kavanaugh is now headed for the fight of his life.

He stands nominated to a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. He is 53 years of age. We know a good bit more about his personal history: only child of two two lawyers; father of two daughters, one of whom he said “likes to talk a lot”; married to a West Texan.

He also pledges to be faithful to the U.S. Constitution. But that’s what all Supreme Court justice nominees pledge to do.

What happens next? He’s going to make the rounds of senators who will vote up or down on his nomination.  He won’t answer questions about how he would vote on specific issues that come before the high court.

Kavanaugh won’t have to answer those questions for senators to get a good read on this man’s judicial philosophy. He has a lengthy paper trail of opinions he has written, of essays, a history of serving as a clerk for the justice he seeks to succeed on the court, Anthony Kennedy.

If I could ask him one question it would be this: Do you consider Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion in this country to be “settled law”? I would prefer him to answer “yes.”

If he says “no” or refuses to answer because he might have to decide an abortion case, well, that’s troubling.

This nomination will proceed, despite protests from those — such as me — who think the Senate should await the results of the midterm election this fall before considering this nomination.

I won’t predict how it will turn out. I feel comfortable suggesting that this confirmation process is going to be a donnybrook.

We’ll see about ‘judicial activism’ from SCOTUS nominee

Donald J. Trump says he will reject any candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court who advocates “judicial activism.”

Well now. How about that?

Here’s part of what he said in a radio address:

Judges are not supposed to rewrite the law, reinvent the Constitution, or substitute their own opinions for the will of the people expressed through their laws,” Trump said. “We reject judicial activism and policymaking from the bench.”

“In choosing a new justice, I will select someone with impeccable credentials, great intellect, unbiased judgement, and deep reverence for the laws and Constitution of the United States,” he added.

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s upcoming retirement from the Supreme Court has launched a serious national debate over the future of what many call “settled law,” meaning the legalization of abortion in the United States.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the next justice must leave his or her hands off of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion. Any hint of overturning it, she said, is a dealbreaker.

That brings up a critical point. If Roe v. Wade is “settled law,” does the court run the risk of becoming a panel of “judicial activists” if it decides to repeal any or all of the reproductive rights guarantee?

The president has said he would appoint a justice who would overturn Roe, but then has said he won’t ask any of the candidates that question explicitly. He’ll know their views on the issue if he takes time to read their writings or understands their notion of the how justices should rule on these matters.

I guess I could add that judicial activism isn’t  a malady that afflicts only liberal judges. Conservatives can get pretty damn activist, too.

Hoping that SCOTUS leaves ‘Roe v Wade’ alone

Let’s talk about abortion rights, shall we?

The talk of the nation appears to be the future of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States of America.

The ruling didn’t give women carte blanche to obtain abortion on demand. It merely declared that the U.S. Constitution contains a provision that gives women the right to choose to end a pregnancy. They are allowed to consult with their partner, with God, with their doctor, their conscience.

It is their call. No one else can make that call for them.

The Supreme Court vacancy that Donald J. Trump wants to fill well might put Roe v. Wade on the line.

I do not want the court to mess with that ruling. I do not want the court to toss the law back to states. The Supreme Court ruled correctly, in my view, to give women the right of choice and to ensure that they alone can decide whether they want to give birth.

Do not accuse me of being “pro-abortion.” I am not. I never could counsel a women to get an abortion. Thankfully, I’ve never faced that dilemma. No woman has ever asked me for my advice on that most personal of decisions.

My point is that this decision doesn’t rest with me. Nor should it rest with lawmakers at the state or federal level.

Roe v. Wade has been at the center of a political firestorm for the 45 years since the nation’s highest court shook up the world with that decision. It well could boil over and might damn well explode if Donald Trump picks someone who is intent on tossing Roe v. Wade aside at the earliest possible opportunity.

Pure politics drives this SCOTUS nomination

The federal judiciary isn’t political? It isn’t driven by partisan politics?

Excuse me while I bust out laughing.

There. Now I feel better.

Donald J. Trump reportedly has narrowed his short list of U.S. Supreme Court justice candidates to an even shorter list. It’s good to ask: Do you think the president is poring over written opinions, legal scholarship and the candidates’ judicial records to help him make this pick?

I don’t believe that’s the case.

Unlike some of his predecessors — namely Barack H. Obama, who taught constitutional law before entering politics — this president depends seemingly exclusively on the politics of the moment and on whether he likes whoever he might select for a lifetime appointment to a federal judgeship.

This is a big one, folks.

Roe v. Wade — the landmark 1973 ruling that made abortion legal — is on the line. Do you believe the president has studied the implications of that ruling, that he understands its legality?

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s pending retirement gives Trump the chance to make his second Supreme Court appointment. Think of this, too: It’s only a year and a half since he took office. How many more appointments do you think this president can make before his time is up?

Then there’s the question of whether the Senate should consider this appointment before the midterm election. Given the masterful obstruction that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell performed to block Obama’s selection of Merrick Garland to succeed the late Antonin Scalia, there might be a push to delay this vote into 2019. Don’t bet on it, though, given polling that suggests Americans want the Senate to proceed.

I have one more issue to raise quickly. Trump said he won’t ask his court candidates how they would vote on reproductive rights. Do you take him at his word?

Neither do I.

The drama is about to get real thick.

Cruz demonstrates his loopiness

I’ve been following U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s public life for a little more than a year and I learned pretty early on that he was prone to say just about anything to get attention.

Now, though, the junior Republican senator from Texas has really done it.

Cruz was speaking to a conservative audience the other day and said the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body needs 100 members following in the footsteps of the late North Carolina Republican Jesse Helms.

http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/09/12/ted-cruz-wishes-more-in-the-senate-would-say-crazy-things/

This is amazing and disgusting all at once.

Helms was known for a lot of traits, most of them — to my way of thinking — weren’t good. He was a segregationist, he espoused homophobic views, he spoke referred often to ethnic minorities in disgraceful language.

The man was known as Senator No, because he voted “no” on virtually every piece of constructive and/or progressive legislation that came before the Senate.

And all along the way, he would make the craziest statements.

Ted Cruz wants to serve with more senators like Helms? You must be kidding.

I’ll give Cruz this much: He said the Senate needs 100 folks like ol’ Jesse, which means he considers himself already to be a political clone of Helms, meaning the place needs only 99 more of them.

Helms never understood that he represented his entire state, which included many individuals who disagreed with his views on racial segregation, gay rights and abortion rights. He listened only to those who agreed with his pronouncements.

Yes, he got elected several times to the Senate from his home state, which means most of those who voted every six years approved of this guy’s incredible mean streak.

However, Jesse Helms was in no way, shape or form a constructive member of the Senate. He was an obstructionist who harbored hateful racist views.

That’s the kind of Senate Ted Cruz wants for America.