Wednesday, October 05, 2005

One Issue Country?

With the nomination of Harriet Mier to the Supreme Court and the resulting brouhaha over it I have come to the conclusion that this country is strictly a one issue country. That one issue is abortion. That one issue has become so ingrained in our national conscience. I realized the other day as I was listening to NPR that the code words for this issue are, in effect, "the issues" (when in fact there is only one), "liberal" (prochoice), "conservative" (prolife). Its almost funny to hear reporters, political pundints, and talking heads dance around the "a" word.

How do I feel about the appointment? I'm not really sure. At first hearing of it I did a "Huh? Who's that?" But I thought about it a bit and decided that maybe it was a good thing that Mier doesn't have the "judicial baggage" that comes with being a sitting judge, its not unprecedented that Supreme Court Justices have been plucked from the realms of lawyer-dom: example: Chief Justice Warren appointed by Eisenhower. He was the Govenor of California another example: President Taft who was appointed to the bench after his term, he never really wanted to be president, he had always had his eyes set on the bench of the Supreme Court. So, its not unusual, I think I heard the statistic that 36 justices haven't served as a judge at all.

I don't think these hearings will be the love fest that Chief Justice Roberts' were. Roberts had a solid judge-record. Nominee Mier? Its a bit more murky. I can tell you this, though Evan Bayh my "senator," who really wants to be your president will most likely vote against her because he needs to look like he's more liberal than he is-- you'll be hearing more from Senator Bayh in the next few years. He's going to make lots of noise to get noticed.

4 comments:

Josh said...
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Josh said...

I'll tell you, this has been a tough one for me. I had high hopes for this appointment and right now I feel let down. I happen to think that juducial experience is a good thing, because in writing opinions and rulings, judges give us insight into their view of the law and the Constitution. Earl Warren's court is actually an excellent example of the value of judicial experience. No one did more to change the culture of the court from "law-interpreter" to "law-writer" than did Warren. It might have been nice for us to see that coming.

I think that Mier is grossly unqualified. The idea of her being on the court is the equivalent of a high school sophomore playing quarterback in the Super Bowl. We are not getting another John Roberts here, and that will become painfully evident when hearings begin. While many of us grinned as Judge Roberts ran circles around liberal senators, we may cringe when Miss Mier gives her answers. Roberts is a genius. Mier is not. I don't have a problem with that, but I think that if you are not a genius, it might be nice to see a few capital letters after your name (or maybe a title before it) before you become 1/9 of the second most powerful entity in the world (the most powerful, of course, is the US Presidency).

It is a fact that abortion is a big issue here. However, as a conservative I would say that issue descends from the Constitution and the interpretation thereof. While my pro-life position comes out of my identity as a Christian, I also have a love for the Constitution and believe it is one of the most brilliant documents ever written. When the Warren court decided that the "Constitutional right to privacy" is absolute and unqualified and that the unborn are not entitled to equal protection under the law, it edited the Constitution. As an American, that bothers me. If we are going to be a people of laws, we need to follow those laws. It's good for me. It's good for you. It's good for America.

If you have never read Justice Rehnquist's dissent on the 7-2 Roe v. Wade case, you should do so. At its core, the Roe decision in nothing other than very, very bad law. The court basically said "since we judges don't know when exactly life begins, we don't think states can decide it either." As a result of this abuse of power, laws restricing abortion were overturned in all 50 states.

That anyone could read Rehnquist's dissent and not be pro-life blows my mind. He traces the history of abortion all the way back to the Hippocratic Oath. This Oath, of course, is one which every physician must take and it states that a doctor will "first, do no harm" to his patients. What many people don't know, though, is that in its original form the oath contained a specific prohibition against abortion ("I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody if asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly, I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy.").

It is for these reasons and others that conservatives are so upset. We want someone who we know will interpret law correctly. We do not know this about Miss Mier. We are told to trust Bush, and that he has never let us down before (Michael Brown is not mentioned).

The thing for me is, I want to trust Bush. At election time, I want to be able to tell people "the two candidates have very different opinions about abortion, and as a Christian you should consider that very carefully when you vote." Since I don't know anything about Miss Mier's view on abortion, I don't know if I can say this anymore.

I think that conservatives wanted the fight on this one. We wanted to have the national discussion on abortion and on the interpretation fo the Constitution, and this would have been the perfect stage for it. I want to see conservative senators hold up pictures of unborn babies at various stages of development, and then hear liberal ones try to explain that this little person with eyes, fingers, and toes is just a glob of tissue and not human life. The American people need to hear and see this.

That got longer than I thought it would. Anyway, that's how I see it right now.

disgruntled world citizen said...

no link to that which you want me to read?

j said...

interesting take I heard today:
what does this tell all the judges who are willing to stick their neck out at the lower level and have a PAPER TRAIL...dun-dun-du! it tells them that there is not really any chance that they will ever be a supreme court judge.