Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

On Abortion and the 2008 Election

We should wish, I think, for a Republican cndidate who could actually explain clearly and with conviction what ROE v. WADE and PLANNED PARENTHOOD v. CASEY etc. actually say and why they were wrongly decided. It would be ever better if this candidate could go to explain all that is implied in the very loose, polemical, and evolutionary interpretation of "liberty" in LAWRENCE v. TEXAS. We’ve NEVER had such a candidate, and in 2008 the lucid and principled case against judicial activism would be more appealing to the American people than ever. I’m too lazy to link to studies, but they show that the young are increasingly pro-life, and that support for the woman’s unlimited "right to choose" is fading across the board. And of course most Americans don’t believe that there’s a constitutional right to same-sex marriage enforceable by federal courts.

Giuliani has the brains but not the conviction to make such a case. Romney also has the brains, but his conviction and desire to understand what’s really at stake are in question. Brownback has the conviction, but his prudence in general is in question. And his campaign is unlikely to take off anyway.

So what we have here is likely an opportunity missed.

Discussions - 14 Comments

As sad as I am to admit it, the social Right simply cannot insist on its agenda in the 2008 election. If we do, then we’ll have President Hillary and her buddy, VP Obama. Perhaps the way to go is to ignore the litmus tests for the POTUS, but insist on them at the Congressional level. With the proper "heat-to-the-feet," even Ruddy would be discouraged from aggressively pursuing social "liberation."

And I do believe that the only current candidate who can beat the Dems in 2008 is Giuliani. I think this is his moment if the religious Right will play ball.

dain, You’re giving G. more leeway that he himself thinks he deserves. He thinks, as far as I can tell, that he has to be reliable on Court appts., but on the condition that he’s allowed to think and talk about that stuff as little as possible. I do agree that winning with G. is better for America than losing with a candidate with better socially conservative credentials. For me, the jury remains out on Romney.

I agree that Giuliani will skirt the issue during the campaign but he if he actually wins, he will very likely have to nominate someone to the SCOTUS. Given the significance of that appointment for the balance of the court, he won’t have the luxury of evasiveness. Also, G has a quite a record in these situations for uber-assertiveness.

Can anyone say that George W. Bush embraced the issue? Can anyone say that George Herbert Walker Bush embraced the issue? The Bush family is willing to use the issue to play the base, but privately, they’re comfortable with abortion. Nobody in Kennebunkport {sp?} is losing sleep thinking of the abortion mills.

As the father offset Thomas with Souter, I think the son intended to offset Roberts with Meirs. That’s the Bush way, that’s the Bush ethos, that’s "new tone."

Dan, I will agree that Bush was not articulate spokesperson for the issue, and it would be great if we could finally get one.


I am curious as to why you think the GOP will ever produce such a spokesperson, given that it is "big tent" and all sorts of parties within are more than comfortable with the status quo.

"We’ve NEVER had such a candidate"

Agreed. So let’s find one.

I agree and as a lawyer I long for someone to at least explain how the decision is a joke even among liberal professors. But as soon as someone says anything negative about Roe, the media will go into hysterial overdrive. A threat to legal abotion! Back alley butchery! Get out your wire hanger!

Out here in flyover country (far from CPAC) that few people in the Republican rank and file have the courage to face the abortion issue unless they’re already in some regional evangelical majority. Too many people have had abortions, recommended abortions, paid for abortions, driven someone for an abortion...too many are implicated now. You can’t ever change your mind, either. Mitt will catch hell for that.

My central committee gets along by assiduously avoiding the A-word. There was some bloody internecine fighting back in the 1990s and no one wants to go there again. Unfortunately this caution makes for dull meetings.

Even if Giuliani won’t advocate overturning Roe, I think he has made it abundantly clear that his SCOTUS appointments will be the sort who will call it into question. I wouldn’t be surprised if he started claiming it should be up for the states to decide, but I doubt he will. Regardless, if he really is serious about appointing strict constructionalists/original intentists (new word?), then I believe we’ll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Surrounding oneself with good people could be just as influential as taking a firm stance against abortion.

I don’t really know about Romeny. I think the problem with him is that he’s too shakey on conservative principles plus he lacks the clout to win a national election. While Giuliani clearly doesn’t agree with the conservative base on abortion, at least he’s honest about it. He clearly has the potential to win at the national level, and it sounds like the judges he appointed will call Roe, and even judicial review, into question. Although Peter is right that we should probably keep an eye on him (though I don’t see any other alternatives).

Casey supplanted Roe. Casey is the operative holding. If you want some interesting reading, go check out Scalia’s magisterial dissent in Casey. To O’Connor’s nonsensical statement that "liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt," he responded "reason finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of confusion."

Scalia is THE man.

Cassandra, Scalia did that. You’ve probably read the dissents to Casey. And you know that Roe and its progeny doesn’t stand on legal reasoning. It’s an attitude now, it’s a prevailing fashion statement. It stands because for various social reasons, the elite says it MUST stand. And for no other real reason.

"Too many people have had abortions, recommended abortions, paid for abortions, driven someone for an abortion...too many are implicated now."

This is very sad but true. A lot of people denounce abortion, but a lot of people are having them. >1 million a year. Chronicles has made this point. Cultural change must precede substantive political change.

The Federalist Society has done a good job of explaining how THE issue transcends single decisions. Such as Roe for instance.

The issues that will be decided by our high court will involve issues EVEN MORE important and momentous than Roe. Issues like cloning, issues like genetic engineering.

We’re on the verge of a sci-fi world, a "Brave New World."

And that’s why it’s so important to have originalists on the Court.

That’s why too that GW’s nomination of Harriet Meirs wasn’t simply a blunder, wasn’t simply folly. It was a disgrace. It was a despicable disgrace. It was an INSULT to the nation, it was an insult to the American Bar, it was an insult to the long storied history of Anglo-American jurisprudence.

The Bush family is a trip, they’re a trip.

And another thing. It’s not just about judges. It’s about who gets to be the Attorney General, the Solicitor General, the US Attorneys. Who runs the SEC, as well as the FCC. It’s about who gets to be White House Counsel.

We need to know what type of lawyers a GOP nominee will fill his entire Executive branch with.

Patrick Fitzgerald is US Attorney for Chicago, right now. This guy is like Nifong. He’s a disgrace, and he was on a political bender, all at the expense of the administration, the war effort and the country. Fitzgerald may have single-handedly stifled the implementation of the second term domestic agenda. Just think about that.

And of course this administration, staffed by creatures like Card, retained this guy as US Attorney, instead of dispensing with him LONG BEFORE this Plame drama ever saw light of day.

Bush and his "new toners" tried to implement policy the establishment hated, through agencies and departments CONTROLLED by the establishment.

And then they wonder why there are problems at Walter Reed. They wonder why CIA can’t find the enemy, but can wage a covert war against the duly elected President of the United States.

Incompetence upon incompetence upon incompetence......

What rocket scientist thought it a good idea to wage a war with the peacetime cadre?

The formative political experience of my existence was the Carter years. Right now, THE formative experience of an entire generation of young Americans is the idiocy, the incoherence, the incompetence, the indecision of the Bush administration.

We in the GOP are going to spend decades crawling out from the massive rubble of this collection of not-ready-for-primetime players.

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