Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Patrick Leahy

Senator Leahy, here's what I really wanted to say.

Yes, it's true that previous Supreme Court Justices have ruled that the president does not have complete and total control over the executive branch, and can't do things like remove independent prosecutors who are investigating him or his friends. That means, I guess, that it's "settled law." But Supreme Court Justices can overturn settled law -- that's what makes them so powerful (see Stare Decisis)

I also ruled that people who merely fish in and drink from a river cannot sue because a company has willfully polluted the river. ONLY THE RIVER has standing to sue.

Also, I have discovered that you are a Scientologist. Figures.

this message sent via BlackBerry handheld at 12:01 pm


'Thought & Humor' said...

Now that the confirmation
hearings for Judge Alito to
the U.S. Supreme Court have
begun - if you have followed the
press in recent months - you may
have seen that at least three-quarters
of the comments have focused on Alito's
position on abortion. Both sides
in the fight feel that he might be
the deciding vote that could
overturn Roe v. Wade. So
opponents are demanding
that he either say that he will
vote to overturn Roe so they
can torpedo the nomination,
or commit to upholding Roe.

If that sounds extreme, let me
remind you that Roe was the
one issue that brought down
the eminently qualified Judge
Robert Bork.

Why such an obsession with
Roe v. Wade? The answer is
that this is the underlying
precedent relied on in all
of the major social issue
battles since 1973. The
principle set forth in that
decision -- individual
autonomy over not only
one's body but also the
meaning of life itself --
is the foundation for
"gay" rights and same-
sex "marriage" today.

If the defenders of Roe
can't get an answer from
Alito -- and it would be
unethical for a judge to
say how he would decide
on any case -- you can
expect them to concentrate
on the question of a judge's
respect for precedent. That
is just another way to get to
the question.

But there is some validity to it.
What lawyers call stare decisis
means in Latin "let the decision
stand," and it serves an important
function, providing the law with
stability and predictability, which
in turn allows people to know how
to order their lives.

But the Roe decision has never
enjoyed widespread acceptance.
On the contrary, the passage of
time has only increased the
conviction that Roe was wrongly
decided. Even the Supreme Court
acknowledged this in its Casey
decision when it spoke of affirming
the "central holding" of Roe, that is,
the result of Roe -- instead of Roe
itself. Then, as now, the best case
that could be made was "respect
for precedent": Roe had been on
the books for a long time, so
women had come to "rely" on
the availability of legalized abortion.

But stare decisis is a matter of
prudence, not bedrock principle.
As even liberal columnist Michael
Kinsley recently pointed out,
liberals did not "express any
alarm about the danger of
overturning precedents"
when the Court reversed
itself on the issue of gay
rights in the Lawrence
case. The earlier decision,
Bowers, was as old as
Roe was at the time of
the Casey decision.

And when the Brown
decision outlawed school
segregation, "the separate
but equal" standard that
had been the law of the
land for twice as long
as Roe had been on the
books, the Supreme
Court rightly reversed it --
it was a bad precedent.

As it has throughout its
misbegotten existence,
Roe is the beneficiary
of a thinly disguised
double standard. If
the subject were
anything other than
abortion, there would
be little talk of respecting
precedent. On the
contrary, the Court
would be urged to
revisit a wrongly
decided case that
had caused great

It is scandalous that
Roe's defenders
would seek to hold
a Supreme Court
nominee hostage,
demanding that he
assure them how
he would decide
a case, even before
that case is before him.

But make no mistake,
as you hear all the
chatter and listen to
the talking heads
pontificating: That
is precisely what is
at issue. And it is a
power grab by
abortion defenders,
in an attempt to
sustain bad law.

ollie said...

Lahey, Leahy, same difference. Sir, you aren't letting your old pal Harriet help you with you're site, are you?