February 24, 2005

The Next SCOTUS Appointee

There are names and resumes going around the blog rumor mill on who will replace the much-respected Rehnquist after his predicted retirement this year. I don't have anything to add except that my only heightened expectation is that he be pro-life. Obviously, qualified, intelligent, literate - all these things are a given. Above and beyond these qualifications, the next appointee must be pro-life. Whether it's straight to the top as CJ or to an AJ slot and bumping up a current member, the new person has to be pro-life.

That's not to say I'm making a prediction - more like a demand of sorts. If every Republican nominee had been anti-Roe and every Democratic nominee pro-Roe, then there wouldn't have been the Roe v. Wade decision as we know it (it would've been 6-3 the other way). The same goes for Casey v. Planned Parenthood (it would've been 8-1 the other way). The Court right now has 7 Republican appointees, yet 4 of them back the basic essence of abortion rights and 3 of them think there's a constitutional right to partial-birth abortion.

Now, I realize there are two main responses that pro-choicers will feel here: 1) that I'm a religious nut and 2) that this is political wrangling over constitutional issues.

First - no, I'm not a religious nut. I hold a scientific and ethical objection to abortion. Religion is a red herring issue brought up by people too lazy to adequately explain why some human beings should be allowed to kill and destroy other human beings. The slavery abolition movement was derided by Southerners as religious interference in privacy and property rights; the abortion abolition movement is today derided by the pro-choice and pro-abortion lobbies as religious interference in privacy rights. Religion is irrelevant. I don't have to be devout to oppose murder.

Second - yeah, there's already going to be a political angle to the appointment. People for the American Way already has office space and phones prepared to oppose Bush's next appointee - and they don't even know when that will happen or who it is yet.

As long as there are different ways to rule on court cases, it's appropriate to express an opinion on what method is best - and who is best to execute that method. I'd place the same requirement on presidents in the 1850s and I'd point out the Dred Scott (1857) and Lemon (1860) cases as two important decisions affected by presidential appointments (among others).

Lives are hanging in the balance here. Bush needs to hold the line - it's currently 6-3 on abortion and 5-4 on partial-birth abortion. Letting Rehnquist be replaced by a pro-choice jurist would tip the scales even further and only delay the inevitable end of the abortion-for-profit industry.

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