Monday, October 31, 2005

Alito Nominated, Abortion becomes Prime Issue--Again

The President showed us that he's back in the game. He nominated Samuel Alito of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. And it appears that we're dealing with a superior choice. A few things to think about with this judge. Bush picked him from one of the most liberal Circuits. Having been a lone ranger on that bench, Alito send the message to Bush's base that he remains unswayed in the face of liberal activism. He is young. At 55, he could be on the court for as much as 30-35 years. And he has a paper trail a mile long indicating that he is a thinker, a scholar, and a jurist with extensive experience in the very matters with which the Supreme Court will be dealing. And therein lies the ammo for the Democrats.

Harry Reid told Bush not to even bother with Alito. Which means that Alito probably has the right stuff for the job. And Schumer, Kennedy, Leahy, etc. are all up in arms. Surprise.

And the usual mantras follow: feigned disappointment that Alito is not a unifying figure (meaning that he disagrees with the left), that Bush is sowing the seeds of division (meaning that the Dems don't like (and often can't muster) an intellectual debate over these very serious issues, but rather simply prefer having people blindly agree with them), and that he will "turn back the clock" on various liberties we have worked hard to attain (meaning the left's sacrament of abortion).

And this confirmation will be all about abortion because Alito was involved with the decision of a fairly significant case impinging upon abortion, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. At issue were various abortion restrictions in the State of Pennsylvania involving informing the patient of the risks and complications of an abortion, parental notification, spousal notification, and a 24 hour waiting period. As an aside, it strikes me as particularly strange when Planned Parenthood talks about abortion being "safe and legal" when they oppose informing women about the risks to the procedure, as every other doctor must do for every other procedure. But that aside, Planned Parenthood opposed each of those restrictions. And the Courts upheld them, with the exception of the spousal notification component. Alito dissented only in that regard. He reasoned that the spousal notification requirement might actually get spouses to make decisions together (a novel concept for the pro-abortion left), and might actually make the woman more comfortable with carrying a pregnancy to term. Note well, that this was not a spousal permission requirement, just that they be notified. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, which in this case allowed the rule to be relaxed in cases where the husband was not the father, the husband could not be found, the pregnancy was the result of a reported spousal rape, and of course, the reasonable liklihood that the spouse would harm the wife if notified.

A truly pro-family position by Alito. And an insult to the left. But that wasn't his point. And while I was unable to find the actual text of the case, Wikipedia has some quotes that indicate that Alito was not advocating for abortion restrictions at all, but rather the legislature's right to impose them. A very important distinction. Alito treated the legislature's power to impose restrictions on abortion as he would the legislature's power to impose restrictions on people's rights to operate a motor vehicle. The legislature had various powers available and used them properly, per Alito. That it had anything to do with abortion is secondary. And that's what we want from Supreme Court appointments.

But the Kennedys, Schumers, Leahys, Bidens, Durbins, Boxers, and Reids will oppose anyone who does not stand by Roe and pledge to uphold it no matter what.

So when you hear talk of stare decisis, living document, fundamental rights, and any other term they are using to sound reasonable, be advised that all they are talking about is Roe v. Wade and abortion, perhaps with a little bit of racial and homosexual preferences mixed in.

And I think it's high time we have this fight. We have for too long gone under the assumption that abortion is some uber-right that stands equal to the right to free political speech. We have for too long been hectored into believing that Roe is the only case which cannot be overturned. We have for too long labored under the misperception that the holding in Roe is legitimate, and not a gross judicial overreach. We have for too long allowed to linger the thought that judges can supplant the will of the legislature, or that it is their place to set policy.

This nomination is not about abortion, but the Dems and their cohorts on the far left will make it so. So let's lay it all out on the table. Unless, of course they are afraid to engage in real debate.

UPDATE

Patterico has a great post which includes the Planned Parenthood dissent.

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