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Alito is Supreme
January 31, 2006 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Samuel Alito was sworn in as the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice Tuesday after being confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 58-42.(CNN)

John Kerry: This morning, 42 Senators voted against Alito's nomination. That's the highest number of votes against any Supreme Court nominee since Clarence Thomas in 1991. (from Kerry's email)
posted by doctor_negative (76 comments total)

 
Yes, we all read cnn.
posted by ORthey at 2:31 PM on January 31, 2006


This partisan crap is really getting old (and I'm talking about the Senate's vote, not the FPP). Surely there was at least one republican who didn't think Alito should be confirmed. Surely there was at least one Democrat who thought that he should be confirmed. When senators vote party-line, they're being just as stupid as voters who blindly vote for the party they affiliate with. Party-line votes undermine democracy.
posted by JekPorkins at 2:33 PM on January 31, 2006


That's the highest number of votes against any Supreme Court nominee since Clarence Thomas in 1991

That's remarkably unimpressive considering there's only been three other nominees taken in since 1991.
posted by saraswati at 2:35 PM on January 31, 2006


(i realize it was not a pure party line vote, but nevertheless . . . )
posted by JekPorkins at 2:35 PM on January 31, 2006


Oh no, am truly sad about Alito's confirmation.
posted by nickyskye at 2:36 PM on January 31, 2006


And thanks to the sloppy filibuster effort organized by Kerry, the Democrats were handed two defeats in 24 hours instead of just one. Thanks, Kerry.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:37 PM on January 31, 2006


I'm having visions on a comedy starring Jim Carrey in which a bassett hound gets nominated to the Supreme Court and then, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-like, manages to usher in a new golden age of American justice through the application of down-home common-sense. And also, you know, sticks it to the gays.
posted by chasing at 2:37 PM on January 31, 2006


Jek, Byrd, Conrad, Johnson, and Nelson are Democrats who thought Alito should be confirmed.

Chafee is a Republican who didn't.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:38 PM on January 31, 2006


MrMoonPie, I realize that. But seriously, that's all?
posted by JekPorkins at 2:40 PM on January 31, 2006


This will be hi-larious when the NSA spying thing gets to the supreme court, is ruled constitutional 5-4, and the majority opinion is written by Alito saying the Pres. can do whatever he wants, including canceling elections. Fun!

Yeah, yeah, you can all call me crazy or whatever. The great thing is that soon enough, we'll know.
posted by jlub at 2:44 PM on January 31, 2006


I agree with Jek, on this one. The state of partisan politics in this country is ridiculous and this vote is perhaps the most glaring example of the problem.
posted by shmegegge at 2:45 PM on January 31, 2006


...incredibly and blatantly sloppy and half-assed filibuster effort...

What passes for an opposition party is a sick, sad joke.
posted by amberglow at 2:45 PM on January 31, 2006


Maybe it's time for the Dems to implement their own version of Operation Supreme Court Freedom.
posted by gigawhat? at 2:46 PM on January 31, 2006


*shrugs*
posted by Smedleyman at 2:53 PM on January 31, 2006


including canceling elections


Elections are high-profile national events scheduled far in advance -- perfect openings for terrorist attacks. It's much safer for the President to appoint a successor on our behalf -- then there's no chance of election day attacks, and no chance of a terrorist sympathizer sneaking into office and handing the country over to Osama.
posted by eustacescrubb at 2:54 PM on January 31, 2006


Well, I'm off to my favorite watering hole. No plans to watch the SOTU, but I do plan to drink. The only thought I'll give to the address is on my way home, as the cab will have to take a detour around the Capitol, unless I'm out past 10:30. Hey, incentive to stay out late!
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:54 PM on January 31, 2006


After (regretfully) giving money to the Dems last election cycle, I now get junk from them about 5 times a week. Kerry is trying to spin it as a win:

"refused to stand silent while President Bush worked to pack the highest court in the land with far right ideologues. We fought a fight that needed fighting.

We made sure the nation knew the truth about the Alito nomination. We made sure America heard how a right wing ideological coup sandbagged Harriet Miers' nomination and replaced her with Judge Alito. No one will be able to say, in five to ten years, that he or she is surprised by the decisions Judge Alito makes from the bench."


Yeah, that'll be great consolation when they're rounding us up for the detention camps (for our own protection of course, it's only for the duration of the war).
posted by doctor_negative at 2:55 PM on January 31, 2006


As I wrote on my blog:

13% — Percentage of American population that is Roman Catholic and male. [source]

56% — Percentage of Supreme Court that is Roman Catholic and male. [Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Kennedy]

67% — Percentage of Supreme Court nominated by a Republican president. [Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, Souter]

100% — Percentage of the Catholic males on the Court nominated by a Republican president.
posted by crazymonk at 2:59 PM on January 31, 2006


When senators vote party-line, they're being just as stupid as voters who blindly vote for the party they affiliate with. Party-line votes undermine democracy.

I'm a party-line voter. I'm pro-choice, anti-death penalty, pro-civil liberties, support government services, etc., etc. Why would I ever vote for a republican? How am I undermining democracy by voting people who share common beliefs that I have and happen to be in the same political party?

What Alito stands for is antithetical to the Democractic Party platform, I'm amazed any Democrat voted for him.
posted by Mijo Bijo at 3:00 PM on January 31, 2006


Quit your whining, bitches! If John Kerry wanted to have some say over who gets appointed to the Supreme Court, there was something he could have done about it in 2004. But he failed to do it. So stop complaining, get your act together, and see if you can't get _your_ guy elected next time.

Kerry thinks the fillibuster attempt was a good use of his time and energy. What an idiot.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 3:03 PM on January 31, 2006


Yeah, that'll be great consolation when they're rounding us up for the detention camps...

Gotta take that with a grain of salt coming from you, doctor_negative. ;)
posted by kosem at 3:03 PM on January 31, 2006


Assuming that the members of a given party agree or disagree with you without exception undermines democracy.

If you lived in Nevada and voted for Harry Reid, you'd be voting for a pro-life Democrat, who is the most powerful democrat in the country.
posted by JekPorkins at 3:04 PM on January 31, 2006


mijo, are you a senator?
posted by shmegegge at 3:06 PM on January 31, 2006


While a lot of us may agree that Alito is far from someone we'd like to see elevated to the Supreme Court, let's not go crazy here. E.g., jlub:

This will be hi-larious when the NSA spying thing gets to the supreme court, is ruled constitutional 5-4, and the majority opinion is written by Alito saying the Pres. can do whatever he wants, including canceling elections. Fun!

Let's all take a deep breath and relax. The Court is comprised of nine Justices, and - even assuming that Alito will indeed follow up with the ridiculous unitary executive doctrine and Thomas will continue to maintain his deference to the executive branch - there are still six Justices who rather vehemently disagree with this line of reasoning (see, for example, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld where everyone but Thomas basically rebuked the government). It remains to be seen which side Roberts will join, of course, but it's a little early to predict apocalypse based on the addition of one admittedly troublesome associate justice to the bench.
posted by Pontius Pilate at 3:11 PM on January 31, 2006


Mijo, just because someone shares your party doesn't mean they share your beliefs in the slightest.
posted by nomisxid at 3:11 PM on January 31, 2006


Another inch slouched towards Bethlehem.

This was a pretty smooth confirmation, JekPorkins. If it still made a partisan lump under your stack of mattresses then I think you probably won't be able to take any amount of politics, cuz it's just so partisan.
posted by fleacircus at 3:20 PM on January 31, 2006


peeping_Thomist: If John Kerry wanted to have some say over who gets appointed to the Supreme Court, there was something he could have done about it in 2004. But he failed to do it. So stop complaining, get your act together, and see if you can't get _your_ guy elected next time.

Your grasp of how government works is without peer, but it is pretty amusing to imagine the raging partisan shitstorm that would have come about if Kerry had won in 2004 and tried to push two nominees through a Republican Senate.
posted by fleacircus at 3:26 PM on January 31, 2006


had won in 2004 and tried to push two nominees through a Republican Senate.

He wouldn't have "pushed through" any nominees. He would've done what Clinton did with the Republican Senate: asked for them to suggest some moderate nominees that would be generally agreeable.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:31 PM on January 31, 2006


If Kerry was really all that interested in supreme court nominations, he would have pushed for a seat on the Judiciary Committee. Then he could have filibustered before the nomination ever even got out of committee.

And rxrfrx, which of Clinton's nominees do you think a: are moderate and b: were suggested by republicans? Which republicans suggested them?
posted by JekPorkins at 3:37 PM on January 31, 2006


I'm with peeping_Thomist on this one. Really, what did we think would happen to the Court when we elected Bush? It's a miracle it's taken this long in his presidency for any of the seats to become open. We deserve Roe to be overturned, to teach us a lesson in stupidity.

Wait until Stevens retires or dies and there will be no question of "swing" votes for many years to come.
posted by onlyconnect at 3:40 PM on January 31, 2006


there are still six Justices who rather vehemently disagree with this line of reasoning

except they're all old, and Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito are not.
posted by amberglow at 3:43 PM on January 31, 2006


Onlyconnect: you deserve Roe to be overturned in any case. Serious constitutional scholars acknowledge that it was a bad decision, and one that prevented a political resolution to the problem. Abortion would probably be a resolved issue by now if the Supreme Court hadn't arrogated to themselves the authority to "resolve" it.
posted by peeping_Thomist at 3:45 PM on January 31, 2006


And rxrfrx, which of Clinton's nominees do you think a: are moderate and b: were suggested by republicans? Which republicans suggested them?

Clinton went to Orrin Hatch (? I think? or Arlen Spector?) with an A list, and Hatch told him he didn't think he could get any of those through, but picked the candidates from another list that he did think he could get through. One of those was Ginsburg. And, viola. This was discussed on npr a few days ago.

peeping-Thomist, your "serious constitutional scholars" will also argue that overturning Plessy v. Ferguson was a bad decision, too, for all the same reasons. Because, you know, the states and Congress would have worked out that whole racial injustice thing amongst themselves without the interference of the courts. Look at the great job they were doing with it up til then!
posted by onlyconnect at 3:51 PM on January 31, 2006


but picked the candidates from another list that he did think he could get through.

Thanks! I assume the "other" list was also provided by Clinton, right? Or did Hatch submit the second list?
posted by JekPorkins at 3:58 PM on January 31, 2006


Mijo, just because someone shares your party doesn't mean they share your beliefs in the slightest.

I don't blindly vote Democrat. When doing research on candidates I inevitably end up chosing the Democrat. I have abstained from voting in a Senate race once because I didn't agree with the Democratic candidate, but her opposition was far worse.
posted by Mijo Bijo at 4:01 PM on January 31, 2006


I pretty much have to agree with Barack Obama on this one. He pointed out that a fillibuster is a tool of last resort, something to be used when you've laid out your case and the majority has trampled your rights and done everything in its power to thwart you.

I don't think that the Democrats did a good job stating their case. I think Obama is as guilty of that as anyone else. I believe that Alito will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade (refused to state that it was "settled law" even after Roberts did), I believe that he is an enemy of the right to privacy and that his support of the authority of the Executive branch is unhealthy. But damn if I didn't have to read a lot of transcripts, blogs, legal analyses, etc to come to that conclusion. I don't even think that the left-wing blogs did a good job of making a solid case against him, let alone Democrats doing it where it mattered, in the main-stream press.

There wasn't even a good attempt at saying "he'll overturn Roe v. Wade". The charitable interpretation is that he never said he would overturn it, so there is no evidence that he will. Please, when was the last time that the media needed "evidence" for allegations like that? Democrats couldn't even smear the guy for hiding a politically unpopular opinion. So instead he gets the support of Bushies because they know that GW wouldn't nominate someone that supported Roe v Wade and the other side can't be bothered to call him on it.

What really bugs me though is that Democrats have done a shitty job of standing up and saying "the right to Privacy matters. Ideological balance on the Supreme Court matters. The balance between the three branches of government matters and this candidate does not stand up to those tests." Sure, he's a well qualified jurist. He's not Harriett Meyers. But just because he's a well spoken, thoughtful guy does not mean that he should fill Sandra Day O'Connor's spot on the bench. That point was never well made, in my opinion, and we will suffer for it a long time.
posted by afflatus at 4:08 PM on January 31, 2006


Did he actually say the post title doctor_negative?
Alito is Supreme.

heh heh.

"My name is Samuel Alito, Supreme of Judges:Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
posted by Smedleyman at 4:10 PM on January 31, 2006


"except they're all old, and Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito are not."

Not really. Kennedy is in his early 60s, so is Souter, so is Breyer. Ginsburg is 65. That's pretty young by SCOTUS standards. Really, the only old justice there who is likely to vote against the administration in such cases is Stevens, who has got to be at least 80.
posted by Pontius Pilate at 4:14 PM on January 31, 2006


What onlyconnect said, in spades. Revisionist legal scholars like to trot out the canard that some SCOTUS decisions were "wrongly made," as if procedure trumps actual justice. They're quick to point out how the libruls have made the court "ends based" and therefore tainted by "personal opinion."

This is rhetorical coating of the worst kind--judges are human beings, and always have been, and this type of argument is nothing new. The real issue surrounding Roe is whether or not the 4th amendment guarantees a right to privacy between you, the people you sleep with, and your doctor(s). The sooner Democrats realize the real meme involved and shout it out loud--most Republicans want to take away your right to live your live in peace as long as you do no harm to others--the sooner we can have a real debate over whether Americans prefer freedom or a big daddy calling the shots in their personal life.

Until then, I'll be damned if I'll be satisfied with "cool, calm, dispassionate" activist judges like Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, and Alito determining a woman's right to medical and personal privacy and running roughshod over settled law (yes Virginia, Roe v. Wade is not an opinion, it's settled law, and Alito and Roberts were too cowardly to admit as much and show their hands).

That said, Alito strikes me as a bit of a chump. Weren't the Republicans grooming Federalist society types for two decades for precisely this moment? And they get a guy who has zero charisma and even less personal integrity (Vanguard, CAP, fawning deference to the Executive, etc.?).
posted by bardic at 4:15 PM on January 31, 2006


Just for giggles, let's also recall the rest of that:

"Look on my works ye mighty and despair!
Nothing beside remains."

Hah.
posted by Pontius Pilate at 4:18 PM on January 31, 2006


JekPorkins: I assume the "other" list was also provided by Clinton, right? Or did Hatch submit the second list?

Hatch says that he suggesting the names himself.
posted by fleacircus at 4:21 PM on January 31, 2006


As I wrote on my blog:
...
67% — Percentage of Supreme Court nominated by a Republican president. [Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts, Kennedy, Souter]


correct your blog, then. Stevens was nominated by a Republican, too.

anyway, more serious matters:



posted by matteo at 4:23 PM on January 31, 2006


Well, somebody called me crazy.

It's cool though. I said he could.

But if I could predict that correctly, what else might I be able to predict?
posted by jlub at 4:29 PM on January 31, 2006


matteo, you have it all wrong.

The Alito-design is more like this:


posted by Rothko at 4:53 PM on January 31, 2006


bardic, a few questions, but first some background: I am pro-choice, but I think that Roe v. Wade was decided on shaky ground that has become progressively shakier.

Do you believe that there should be no government regulation of the medical community at all? Are there no medical procedures whatsoever that should be illegal or regulated? Does the constitution grant a woman the right to have an unlicensed doctor perform an abortion while drunk using unsanitary tools? If not, where is the line drawn by the 4th amendment?

As for "settled law," if it's settled law, why does it keep coming up before the court?
posted by JekPorkins at 5:00 PM on January 31, 2006


One comment noted that the NSA issue will be going to Supreme Court soon. To too, now 5 states are moving anti-abortion bills through their agenda, with abortion only to save a woman's life:
5 states That too will work its way to the Court.
posted by Postroad at 5:02 PM on January 31, 2006


the only old justice there who is likely to vote against the administration in such cases is Stevens, who has got to be at least 80

Justice Stevens is 85. Ann Coulter recently joked that someone should poison him.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:07 PM on January 31, 2006


"As for "settled law," if it's settled law, why does it keep coming up before the court?"

“Congressman, since you have been implicated in this scandal...”
"Who is saying that?"
"I am...I just implicated you.”

- S. Colbert.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:21 PM on January 31, 2006


“Congressman, since you have been implicated in this scandal...”
"Who is saying that?"
"I am...I just implicated you.”


So, you're saying that the circuit courts and state supreme courts are intentionally trying to make this not a matter of settled law? Or is it the state legislatures that are doing it? See, since the state legislatures are the ones who actually, you know, make the law (hence the term "lawmakers"), then it's really not "settled" until it's actually settled, right? Besides, "settled law" isn't a legal term of art anyway. What does it even mean?
posted by JekPorkins at 5:27 PM on January 31, 2006


What I want to know is this - what the hell would the Democrats have had to lose by filibustering? I mean, sure, Scalito may have gotten confirmed anyway, but at least I would feel like they're DOING SOMETHING. Besides, the right-wingers are always fighting battles that they know that they can't win, and it seems to do nothing but good for them.

Seriously - what do the Democrats have to lose at this point? I think that they should go all-out, balls-to-the-walls crazy at this point. I think they should do everything they can to stop the Republicans from doing anything they want to do.

This self-flaggelating impotence on the part of the Democrats has gone on long enough. It's time to stand up for something, even if it makes us look totally stupid. Hell, it's worked for the Republicans.
posted by Afroblanco at 5:51 PM on January 31, 2006


"Do you believe that there should be no government regulation of the medical community at all? Are there no medical procedures whatsoever that should be illegal or regulated? Does the constitution grant a woman the right to have an unlicensed doctor perform an abortion while drunk using unsanitary tools?"

I don't think anyone believes any of these things you suggest, Jek - they are hyperbole at best, and I'm sure you know that bardic doesn't believe them at all.

I think you are introducing logical fallacies that aren't germane to the discussion in order to raise the emotional state here and derail the thread. Please don't do that.

You're smart enough to ask bardic how he feels about things without resorting to such tactics.
posted by zoogleplex at 5:53 PM on January 31, 2006


I think you are introducing logical fallacies that aren't germane to the discussion in order to raise the emotional state here and derail the thread.

That is certainly not my intent. Bardic flatly stated that "Republicans want to take away your right to live your live in peace as long as you do no harm to others." He cited "a woman's right to medical and personal privacy." I'm asking what the boundaries, if any, are to that right.

I might point out that the "do no harm to others" is the part that pro-lifers generally are upset about. They believe that killing an unborn child is doing harm to others. They also believe that an abortion does harm to the woman, and they believe that sometimes the law exists to prevent people from hurting themselves, since self-harm harms society as a whole.

I'm not sure what "logical fallacies" you think I've introduced. If a woman (or a man) has an absolute right to be free from government intervention in personal medical decisions, then there should be no regulation of the medical profession -- women should be allowed, legally, to go to anyone they want for an abortion, no matter how dirty. I don't think bardic believes that, either. That's why I wish people wouldn't make those kinds of assertions regarding constitutional rights.

What I want to know is this - what the hell would the Democrats have had to lose by filibustering?

Well, they'd be wasting a heck of a lot of time that should be spent actually legislating. But since most of what they do is a waste of time anyway, I suppose that wasting more time with more political posturing wouldn't really harm that much.
posted by JekPorkins at 6:09 PM on January 31, 2006


A little part of the US died today...
posted by qwip at 6:13 PM on January 31, 2006


Postroad writes "To too, now 5 states are moving anti-abortion bills through their agenda, with abortion only to save a woman's life:
"5 states That too will work its way to the Court."


Looks like more abortion vacationers for us.
posted by Mitheral at 6:41 PM on January 31, 2006


What I want to know is this - what the hell would the Democrats have had to lose by filibustering? I mean, sure, Scalito may have gotten confirmed anyway, but at least I would feel like they're DOING SOMETHING.

Because it gives Rush Limbaugh et al. more fodder to make fun of the ineffective, can't-do-anything Democrats. Because it makes Kerry look like an opportunist who decided at the last moment that it might serve him well in his inevitable 2008 run to take a "principled stand" on an issue (a position that's severely undermined by his relative inactivity up to this point). Because it's a tool of last resort and not something to be used lightly or for political self-aggrandizement. Because doing something merely for the sake of doing something is not a good enough reason to do it.

Is that enough reasons?
posted by Pontius Pilate at 6:46 PM on January 31, 2006


Looks like more abortion vacationers for us.

This must be where all those new minimum wage service jobs are coming from, that Bush is talking about tonight.
posted by Rothko at 6:54 PM on January 31, 2006


Sorry about that, by us I mean Canada
posted by Mitheral at 7:09 PM on January 31, 2006


Buh-bye, Sandy! Good luck! Would it have killed you to wait until 2009 to retire, you goddamn bitch?!
posted by rob511 at 8:25 PM on January 31, 2006


Afro, that's why for the first time ever i have no more hope.

They now have all 3 branches.
posted by amberglow at 8:37 PM on January 31, 2006


.
posted by moonbird at 8:50 PM on January 31, 2006


They now have all 3 branches

.
posted by Rothko at 8:58 PM on January 31, 2006


There's still Tony Kennedy, guys. He stopped drinking the Kool-aid back in '92.

anyone think that Bush's attack on human cloning was really directed at Justice Stevens? There's gotta be lots of smart engineer-types who can make him live to be 150. Pump him full of stem cells, stat!
posted by Saucy Intruder at 9:14 PM on January 31, 2006


Pontius Pilate, I respectfully agree to disagree.

I think that the Democrats squandered a valuable chance to make a big deal about something that actually is really important.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:24 PM on January 31, 2006


They now have all 3 branches.

If they didn't have the judicial branch already, we would have had a lot more fireworks in 2000.

I'm trying to be positive. Every generation thinks they're living through The Worst Thing Evar. I know you have, shall we say, highly-specialized concerns, but this won't last forever.
posted by Cyrano at 10:11 PM on January 31, 2006


What I want to know is this - what the hell would the Democrats have had to lose by filibustering? I mean, sure, Scalito may have gotten confirmed anyway, but at least I would feel like they're DOING SOMETHING.

It wasn't necessarily a consensus: a group of moderate Democrats basically agreed with a bunch of moderate Republicans that they wouldn't block the nominations in return for something else. I remember reading about it in the news back during Roberts' nomination, but the first source I could find now is Wikipedia.
posted by jacalata at 10:27 PM on January 31, 2006


JekPorkins: "He cited 'a woman's right to medical and personal privacy.' I'm asking what the boundaries, if any, are to that right."

Roe states the mother's / family's right to reproductive privacy as ending in the first trimester. After that the states can decide, until the end of the second trimester. That answer your questions?

I have no idea where you are getting this idea that the state cannot regulate physicians (who might perform abortions) whatsoever. That the physician must be licensed and so forth goes without saying. See also, free speech, crowded theater. It's not a departure into Bizarro World.

Just out of chatty curiosity, since you claim to be pro-choice, what do you see as an acceptable compromise between your own views and that of the pro-life crowd? And if you don't see a possible compromise, why are you tooting their horns?
posted by fleacircus at 11:42 PM on January 31, 2006


I'm not willing to compromise with the pro-life crowd, since they want laws against abortion and I don't. I think that people should have the freedom to choose abortion, and I think that they should use that choice to not have an abortion, in most cases, though I think there are some situations where an abortion is justified. I think the individual is the one who should make that call.

But I don't think that the Constitution guarantees that right. I think that reading the right to an abortion into the constitution makes a mockery of the document, frankly. I think the government should stay out of the abortion issue, but that they're not required constitutionally to stay out of it.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:55 PM on January 31, 2006


Alito is such a nerd. I hate nerds!
posted by I Foody at 4:59 AM on February 1, 2006


JekPorkins, when you say, "If a woman (or a man) has an absolute right to be free from government intervention in personal medical decisions, then there should be no regulation of the medical profession -- women should be allowed, legally, to go to anyone they want for an abortion, no matter how dirty." -- you are being disingenuous.

This is not the issue. This is not something the Supreme Court is even empowered to decide. The Supreme Court is only tasked with arguing whether or not the procedure is legal -- so is it?

Once it has been established that abortion is legal, abortion safety is for the American Medical Assocation and other rregulatory agencies to decide. In other words, the legislative branch.

My concern is that the pro-life movement is working to get legislation passed that defines life as beginning at conception, which would confer equal status under the law on an embryo as an adult woman. My opinion is that most "pro-life" groups are really anti-sex groups, who want to confine sex to marriage and are just as opposed to birth control as they are to abortion. (I know of only one pro-life group which actively supports contraceptive education as an alternative to abortion.)

An embryo is not a human, yet. It becomes a human if I want it to, if I love it enough to carry it to term in my womb and commit to a life of caring for it outside of my womb. An embryo is a potential human, which can, for a thousand reasons, cease to exist, both for reasons of neglect (although fetuses are actually pretty hearty things, and often survive long enough to be born despite a complete lack of prenatal care on the part of the mother) and for reasons of serious defects. Any woman who has ever miscarried knows how fragile that potential human is, how uncertain, how uninevitable its eventual life is.

Certainly, abortion is not an "absolute" right. I realize that there are legitimate reasons to restrict abortion to the first trimester, and there may be other legitimate limits. But I tire of needing to to defend the rights of the born above the unborn, and I have no admiration for groups who love the fetus right up until the day it is born, and then have no love for the baby or the child. Fetus love is free, and meaningless. Loving a born baby and child takes an enormous amount of money, and some parents don't have enough. Any pro-life group that has its heart in the right place would be simultaneously working just as hard to pass pro-child legislation (and to defeat any de-funding of such services that exist today) as it is to pass pro-fetus legislation.
posted by jenii at 5:31 AM on February 1, 2006


Sorry, that was over-long, and kind of a derail.

I wrote that last night before JekPorkins' response to fleacircus, and must have forgotten to preview before I posted it this morning.

My main point is that there doesn't seem any way to have a meaningful dialogue about abortion in this country. The two sides are so polarized that every discussion turns into a screaming match, or worse. I truly believe that the majority of Americans feel as JekPorkins does, that abortion should remain legal and safe, but should be rare, and while I know even those words have started to sound like a marketing phrase, I think they are meaningful.

I hope that somewhere in Alito's brain there is some understanding that keeping abortion safe, rare, and legal in this country is far better than the alternative.

I guess I should add "affordable" to that list though. My other fear is that abortion will stay safe, legal, and rare for the wealthy and well-insured, but completely inaccessible to the working (and, increasingly, middle) classes.
posted by jenii at 5:51 AM on February 1, 2006


it wasn't at all a derail, jenii. I don't think Alito has that understanding at all, and it's something O'Connor did have.

Every generation thinks they're living through The Worst Thing Evar. I know you have, shall we say, highly-specialized concerns, but this won't last forever.
My "specialized concerns", cyrano, should be everyone's concerns if they care about justice and equal rights for all (go read a little). I'm simply thrilled to be marginalized like that, and can't wait for the next 30 years (only what? a third of my life?) to pass--maybe when i'm in my 70s i'll be allowed to marry? or have a federal right not to be fired from a job? or not rented to? not be discriminated against by my own government?
posted by amberglow at 6:47 AM on February 1, 2006



posted by specialk420 at 8:32 AM on February 1, 2006


“What does it even mean?” -posted by JekPorkins

Means I’m just being a smart ass. Sorry.

/my wife and I plan to have her get an abortion, we’re just having trouble conceiving.

Interesting commentary on what I thought was going to be a boring post. I suppose you need the mopping up after tho.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:39 AM on February 1, 2006


But I don't think that the Constitution guarantees that right.

So, I may be way off here but I figure that any right not specifically granted to the government. by the poeple, is a right of the people.
Since abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution then that decision belongs to the individual, not the state.

Are you saying that since the right to abortion is not specifically granted by the constitution then the state owns all women's uteruses and can deremine what they do with them?

How do you argue the Federal Reserve and printing of money then?
posted by nofundy at 12:21 PM on February 1, 2006


So, I may be way off here but I figure that any right not specifically granted to the government. by the poeple, is a right of the people.

Yeah, you're way off.

Are you saying that since the right to abortion is not specifically granted by the constitution then the state owns all women's uteruses and can deremine what they do with them?


Nope.

How do you argue the Federal Reserve and printing of money then?

I'm really not sure what you mean by that.
posted by JekPorkins at 6:40 PM on February 1, 2006


So Alito voted to let a guy stay alive a while longer, but the Patriot Act renewal takes it away from the courts unless Gonzales approves first--wtf? -- ... But tucked away in the pending renewal of the USA Patriot Act, the nation's controversial law to fight terrorism, is a provision inspired by Spears. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., inserted language that could make it harder for state death-row inmates to appeal cases in federal court.
Under current law, federal courts of appeal decide whether states can speed processing capital cases. Kyl's change would give that power to the U.S. attorney general. ...

posted by amberglow at 11:55 AM on February 2, 2006


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