Tag Archives: Roe v. Wade

Schumer needs to settle down

“I want to tell you Gorsuch. I want to tell Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”

So said U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. He was directing his remarks to Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

They were taking part in a Supreme Court hearing on a controversial abortion case out of Louisiana. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, of course, are two justices nominated by Donald John Trump and approved after bruising confirmation battles in the Senate; Schumer opposed them both.

Sen. Schumer is wrong to threaten these justices. Chief Justice John Roberts took the unusual approach in rebuking the Senate leader, calling the threats leveled by Schumer “inappropriate” and “dangerous.” Yes. They are.

Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh aren’t my favorite members of the nation’s highest court. I want them to rule the right way on this case and I want them to preserve a woman’s right to control her own body. However, Sen. Schumer has stepped way over the line that separates the legislative and judicial branches of government.

Schumer needs to pipe down and let these justices do their job without that kind of intimidation.

Sanctuary cities for unborn? Oh, my … get ready for the fight

Three Texas communities — Big Spring, Colorado City and Rusk — have thumbed their collective noses at a legal activity that I acknowledge fully has its sworn enemies.

The cities all have created what they are calling “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn.” They have declared that abortion is illegal in their cities and I will presume women who obtain them are subject to criminal prosecution.

Abortion-rights activists are furious, as they should be. Why? Well, it’s a simple notion, truth be told. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 that a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy was legally protected under federal law. Subsequent high court rulings have upheld the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

Thus, the activity remains legal. Does it produce a desirable outcome? Of course not. However, I am in no position — nor is anyone else, for that matter — to dictate to a woman how she must make such a gut-wrenching decision. That is her call in consultation with her partner, her physician … and her conscience.

The Texas Tribune reports: The American Civil Liberties Union has said it is seeking to strike them down. Three towns — Mineral Wells, Omaha and Jacksboro — have voted down similar ordinances or walked them back under advice from city attorneys.

Big Spring, Colorado City and Rusk haven’t yet made their decisions final.

I am all for local control. I dislike states telling cities and towns that they cannot, for example, install electronic devices to help police enforce traffic laws. However, the U.S. Constitution remains the law of the land and in the case of abortion, the Supreme Court already has stood behind the Constitution as the final arbiter on the inflammatory issue of whether a woman can choose to terminate a pregnancy.

Texas already has told cities they cannot create sanctuaries to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation. Yes, I am aware of the intense political differences between illegal immigration and abortion.

But the Texas cities that are seeking to create “sanctuaries for the unborn” need to prepare for a fight that they should not win.

Hell freezes over: I agree with Pat Robertson

Hell has frozen over and the sun is going to rise above the western horizon tomorrow morning.

How else to explain that televangelist Pat Robertson and yours truly are on the same page regarding arguably the most emotionally charged issue of our time . . . or any time, for that matter?

Robertson says the Alabama Legislature has “gone too far” in banning abortion in that state. Gov. Kay Ivey signed the bill into law earlier today.

Robertson calls the Legislature’s move “extreme.” Indeed, he is right. Imagine that, if you can; he and I agree on something.

The law bans abortion except only when the mother’s health is in peril. Rape victims? Those who are impregnated by their, oh, fathers or uncles or older brothers? They’re out of luck. A doctor who terminates those pregnancies are going to face prison terms of as long as 99 years.

Well, I don’t know yet how to act this late in the day.

I know the sun will rise in the morning. I just hope it comes up on the correct side of the house.

If you think the Kavanaugh battle is tough, just wait

The fight to seat Brett Kavanaugh on the U.S. Supreme Court has turned into a donnybrook, with charges of sexual assault coming from two women who contend the high court nominee misbehaved seriously when he was a much younger individual.

The battle was joined actually before that, when Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to succeed Anthony Kennedy on the nation’s highest court.

From a philosophical standpoint, though, I remain somewhat perplexed as to progressives’ angst over the thought of Kavanaugh joining the court. He is a conservative who would replace another conservative on the nine-member Supreme Court.

Yet the fight has been joined. Progressives don’t want Kavanaugh on the court because they fear he could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that in 1973 made abortion legal in this country.

If you think that this has been the Mother of Supreme Court Battles, just wait — heaven forbid — Trump gets a chance to nominate someone to replace one of the court’s four remaining liberal justices.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg keeps emerging as the next likely jurist to leave the court. She said she isn’t going anywhere as long as Trump is president. I’ll take her at her word, provided she can control her own destiny … if you get my drift.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonja Sotomayor and Elena Kagan? They aren’t leaving on their own while Trump is in the White House.

Fate does have a way of intervening, so it’s wise to keep your minds open to potential shock waves when any of the four progressive justices decide it’s time to go.

If you for a moment thought this fight over Brett Kavanaugh is as bad as it gets, then you need to take another look across the political landscape and anticipate the eruption that would occur if Donald Trump gets to find someone to replace one of the court’s liberals.

We’d all better hold on with both hands.

Yes, elections have consequences

Brett Kavanaugh is likely to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become a justice on the Supreme Court.

Is he the kind of judge I want on the court? No. But here’s the deal, and I take no pleasure in acknowledging this: Donald Trump is the president of the United States; he was elected in 2016 by winning enough electoral votes to take the nation’s highest office; he gets to nominate individuals to the high court.

Elections have consequences. Of that there can be no doubt.

Kavanaugh is qualified to serve. I heard much of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. I listened to Democrats try to trap him into saying something he shouldn’t say. Kavanaugh didn’t take the bait.

I am deeply troubled that the president would declare his intention to nominate someone who would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that legalized abortion. Tradition usually dictates that presidents not set pre-determined parameters for who gets nominated. This one, though, busted that tradition to pieces.

So, the court will have an even stronger conservative majority if Kavanaugh gets confirmed. I wish it weren’t so. But it appears set to occur.

We’re about to reap the consequence of the 2016 presidential election in a big way. That’s how the system works. I accept the process that has brought us to this point. That doesn’t mean I like it. Far from it.

Sen. Collins: Kavanaugh says Roe v. Wade is ‘settled law’

It might be that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has won over a key Senate Republican vote as he seeks to be confirmed for a spot on the nation’s highest court.

If Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is right, and Kavanaugh believes a landmark court ruling on abortion is “settled law,” he has gone a long way toward winning the support of many skeptics across the country.

Collins and Kavanugh met and the senator — a noted GOP moderate lawmaker — said the following to reporters: “We talked about whether he considered Roe (v. Wade) to be settled law. And he said that he agreed with what Justice [John] Roberts said at his nomination hearing, at which he said that it was settled law.”

Those of us who believe in a woman’s right to choose to end a pregnancy consider this an important hurdle that Kavanaugh has to clear if he is to be confirmed to a seat vacated by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy.

I do not believe Sen. Collins is prone to shoot of her mouth without thinking, which gives me hope that her two-hour closed-door meeting with Judge Kavanaugh produced the kind of dialogue she has mentioned. Collins has declared Roe v. Wade to be the benchmark on which she would decide whether to confirm his nomination to the court.

There are many other hurdles, though, to clear. Such as the one about whether the president of the United States can be charged with crimes, or whether he can be compelled to testify before a judicial body. He once thought it was OK to compel a president to testify; then he seemed to have changed his mind.

That will be explored in detail, I presume, when the Senate Judiciary Committee considers Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.

However, if Sen. Collins is correct and Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t want the high court to mess with Roe v. Wade, then he well might have won an important skirmish in the battle royale that is shaping up in his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Let’s end pro-choice demagoguery

Abortion is coming back onto center stage soon as the Senate gets ready to debate the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

I know this won’t happen, but I’ll ask for it anyway. How about calling a halt to the demagoguery that equates “pro-choice” with being “pro-abortion.”

The anti-choice side no doubt will make that unfair assessment as it argues on behalf of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination by Donald J. Trump. The president has vowed to appoint federal judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that in 1973 legalized abortion.

The ruling has enraged anti-choice advocates for 45 years.

What has been troubling to me has been the conflating of “pro-choice” advocacy with favoring abortion.

I consider myself to be a pro-choice American. I also am vehemently opposed to abortion. Could I ever advise a woman to end a pregnancy? No. Thankfully, I’ve never faced that question from a woman.

To be candid, I’ve never met a single person in my entire life who’s admitted to favoring abortion. And, yes, I have made the acquaintance of many people over the years who have been pro-choice on the issue.

To believe in a woman’s right to make the gut-wrenching choice about ending a pregnancy is not an endorsement of abortion.

Can we please end the hateful demagoguery? Emotions run white-hot enough as it is whenever the topic concerns abortion.

There will always be abortions

Let’s be crystal clear about something few of us want to discuss.

If the U.S. judicial system decides to overturn a ruling that legalized abortion, does anyone really believe that abortion will come to an end? Will women across the country decide to give birth even though they have been raped by an attacker, or impregnated in an incestuous relationship?

Abortion is about to return front and center to the public debate stage as the U.S. Senate ponders the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1973 the high court ruled in the epic Roe v. Wade decision that abortion can be done legally throughout the United States. It declared that the Constitution guaranteed a woman’s right to choose to end a pregnancy.

The discussion today centers on whether the court would reverse that decision if it receives a case involving abortion.

I want to be clear. Abortion won’t end if the court hands the issue back to the states. Many states are likely to make abortion illegal. I live in one of those states: Texas. Legislators here already have enacted anti-choice legislation and Gov. Greg Abbott has signed it into law. They have decided to make obtaining an abortion quite difficult.

Does it end abortion? Not in the least. Women will continue to seek them — for whatever reason they believe compels to do so.

I get the argument from those who are fervently anti-choice. They are sincere in their belief about when life begins. Their argument, though, won’t ever stop women from making profoundly difficult choices that only they can make.

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.