Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Gerson on Giuliani

Rudy’s abortion stand, Michael claims, is muddled. I’m not sure the evidence Gerson presents supports that conclusion: He actually shows the principled difference between Giuliani and Stephen Douglas. Douglas said that the Constitution "don’t care" about slavery, and so each state and territory can decide for itself. Rudy might but doesn’t follow Scalia in saying something similar about abortion. Instead, he makes it clear that abortion is an individual right, and so that states may not legislate--or at least legislate much--to restrict it. People can disagree on abortion--and Rudy is personally against it--but they can’t use the law to impose their opinion on others. Douglas clearly thought that the voters in Kansas and Nebraska and every other state and territory could use the law to impose their opinion on slavery--allowing it or outlawing it--on a dissenting minority. For Douglas, "pro-choice" meant let the people (the majority) decide one way or another. For Rudy, "pro-choice" means each woman has the right to decide on this controversial issue for herself. Rudy has become clear enough, and social conservatives who just want a competent guy who can win have to face up to that fact. (Thanks to Rob Jeffrey.)

Discussions - 6 Comments

People can disagree on abortion--and Rudy is personally against it--but they can’t use the law to impose their opinion on others. Douglas clearly thought that the voters in Kansas and Nebraska and every other state and territory could use the law to impose their opinion on slavery--allowing it or outlawing it--on a dissenting minority.


And which of these two positions is the one favored by the people here at Ashbrook? Let the people decide, or leave it up to the individual? I get the impression that the answer varies depending on which one is being asked about, slavery or abortion.

Very shrewd comments by Peter, and Rudy is much more the libertarian than once I suspected, making the communitarian Douglas look much better.

And John, if I understand what you are saying I think you are confused. The Lincoln position (as opposed to Giuliani AND Douglas) is that there are some matters the justice of which is not a matter of majority rule or moral autonomy. In the absence of flat prohibition (as in antebellum America) the law must give guidance, and should at least teach that one course is morally inferior to the other. And, in my experience, most conservative admirers of Lincoln are just opposed to abortion as to slavery.

Rudy's position on abortion was clearly spelled out in the second debate. That position will sink him among Republican primary voters.

Has Giuliani actually said that states may not legislate very much, that the right is enshrined in the Constitution (which makes mincemeat of his professed affection for "strict constructionism")? Or is he implying that, after a "strict constructionist" decision overturning Roe, states can in fact legislate to restrict abortion, in serious and significant ways, but that, as a legislator, he'd vote to establish a positive right (of some sort) to abortion, despite his view that the act itself is abhorrent?

The problem is that silence is allowance. There needs to be law that is defined--on both slavery and abortion. America outlawed slavery in the Constitution (the law of the land) and there is no reason that abortion cannot be limited through the law.

The abortion question is less of a concern that his obviously pro-immigration stance. Remember...all the way to the Supreme Court to defend NYC's "right" to be a sanctuary city. I wouldn't waste a double-click on voting for Rudy at this point. Rudy is courageous in many ways, but terribly misguided.

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