Skip to comments.South Dakota's monkey wrench (William F. Buckley)
Posted on 03/08/2006 6:19:34 AM PST by blitzgig
There is furtive glee in the eyes of such as Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. The reason for it is that she calculates that the effrontery of South Dakota's legislature will bring on massive retaliation by the Supreme Court.
Chinese vigilantes rejoiced a few weeks ago when a group of dissenters published a call for diminished censorship. They were confident about what would happen, and it did: Beijing brought on reinvigorated party-line censorship. Ms. Keenan and some of her followers in NARAL Pro-Choice America figure that what South Dakota has done will compel the Supreme Court to act -- and perhaps in such a way as to smash the little signs of life in the pro-life moment which, in South Dakota, gave rise to regicidal inclinations.
The governor of South Dakota, Michael Rounds, signed a bill that would outlaw the practice of abortion except in certain extreme cases. In signing, he said things which, a generation ago, would have been thought too routine to notice, let alone pause over, but today are fighting words. "The true test of a civilization," he said, "is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society. The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them."
Here in three sentences the governor of South Dakota tramples on the neck of cherished modern icons. To begin with, he refers to a fetus as a "child." He refers to "unborn children" as "helpless." Again, they are "persons." And he invokes the heart of civilized society to give them succor.
Mike Rounds was a college student on the sacred holy day of the abortionists in 1973 when Roe v. Wade was pronounced by the Supreme Court. He was the oldest child in his family; 10 siblings would come along. The bill outlawing abortion restores to South Dakota a ban that until 1973 had been the law in almost every state of the union. Rounds was only 18 years old when the Supreme Court excogitated the proposition that the Constitution conferred on everybody the right to eliminate an unborn child.
In the years since then, various states and various jurisdictions have sought to refine the right to abort. The South Dakota law could be the springboard to the direct reversal of Roe. But it is thought by many abortion supporters that this totalist challenge, posed by South Dakota, will necessarily be met by a totalist re-endorsement of Roe by the Supreme Court.
Now everybody concedes that all this will take a few years. Nobody managing an abortion clinic in South Dakota is about to shut it down. There will be injunctions sought against the new law's enforcement. Both sides have promised to bring money, as required, to mobilize every legal thought, afterthought and presumptive thought, arguing in conflicting directions.
The choicers count five members of the Supreme Court who are publicly committed in favor of Roe v. Wade. They have this fear, that a sitting member of the court will retire in the period immediately ahead, when the incumbent president is still there to nominate a successor. That would mean five votes, counting Roberts and Alito as dormant dissenters from Roe v. Wade, who would, in the nightmare scenario, renounce the 1973 decision as forcefully as the court, in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, renounced the segregation authorized by Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896.
But assume that before the Supreme Court acts, injunctions against the new law fail. Assume, then, that there would be a period in which, in South Dakota, women could not get an abortion. What would they do? Well, of course, there is the alternative that they could bear the child whose life they had brought on. But if that alternative were excluded, what then?
Someone seeking relief could go north to North Dakota, or south to Nebraska. Or east to Minnesota, or west to Wyoming. We are talking about bus rides.
And of course so would it be if Roe were reversed. It is inconceivable that all the states of the union would imitate South Dakota. To demonstrate just how progressive is its vision, the state of Connecticut voted contingently some years ago, that if ever abortion were proscribed elsewhere, pilgrims would be welcome in Connecticut, where abortion rights would be faithfully observed.
We are very much driven, in modern days, by the democratic imperative. Well, the people of South Dakota have expressed themselves on a political question, resolving that unborn life is life notwithstanding. And they hold high what they deem, in their governor's words, their dedication to stand by "the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society."
"Now everybody concedes that all this will take a few years."
If the Supreme Court liberals are smart, they will take this case on now, before Bush has another opportunity to change the Court.
mobilize every legal thought, afterthought and presumptive thought
(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")
I also happen to agree with him 100% on this.
Do you think that the folks in the Bush administration believes in democracy in Hamastan? If so, they need their heads examined.
There's another one.
The Supreme Court can't just "take it on" until it works its way there through various other courts. The challenge for the pro-abortion people is that if they let this stand, all they've lost is South Dakota where I understand there is only one small killing center, but if they push it through the courts, they stand to lose a lot more. And the fact that they can't predict the composition of the Court by the time the case gets there makes it even more of a gamble.
I can't figure this...even though it is the right thing to do and would increase the number of potential taxpayers...the pro-death crowd is upset, ya think they may be hooked up with Islam?
South Dakota only has 1 abortion clinic anyway. But this will be interesting to watch.
Scalia made some interesting remarks recently on abortion before a think tank. The topic was the use and relevancy of foreign law in interpreting and applying the Constitution. He said that he would believe the sincerety of those who do when they start using foreign law on abortion cases. The US is in the distinct minority when it comes to allowing abortion on demand with no restrictions. Even the UK, Italy, and many other Western countries have restrictions. The US is among the 50+ countries that don't have any.
I think you're right, to an extent. I can't see the pro-aborts taking it past the state courts if they lose. But what if they win in the State Supreme Court? Is South Dakota willing to take this all the way, knowing the risks?
If Bush gets another pick, he may nominate a flaming liberal as payback to his liberal friends.
Ping for later.
I missed that one. I've never seen this one either: regicidal
How long is that going to take, though? It should not take but a few days for a district court to throw it out, and clearly it will because as noted, abortion is not going to end in SD anytime soon, so that implies that the district court will very shortly make some kind of a ruling. That leaves the question of how long it will take the appellate court to deal with the case. I'd say less than a year.
Unbelieveable...a statement to ignorant for words!
Oops,speaking of ignorant..."Unbelieveable" - duhhhh, coulda/shoulda been "Unbelievable"
I could have put it less bluntly, but he already tried to cram Miers down our throats, I have no confidence he will appoint another conservative. He doesn't make it easy for us, the great unwashed base.
Thus you could have a hippy-dippy San Freakcisco and a very conservative SD or VA, and people would move according to where they wanted to be.
The over-reaching, one-size-fits-all Federal "solutions" that we see imposed by the SCOTUS and Congress have largely taken away this competition.
I know that the immediate outcome of this particular statute is unpredictable, but I still see that it's a start in the right direction. I think that those who support the protection of innocent life have not only the moral high ground, but also current science, on our side. The push to overturn Roe will not end if this law is struck down because as the Court is returned to the "original intent" of the Founders, other states' legislatures will likely introduce and pass similar laws.
Personally, I also have a respect and affection for those who are willing to do the right thing, even if the conventional wisdom is that they will not succeed.
Candidly, believing-in Bush & his handlers [Rove & Hughes], I think DC got major dose of "rope 'a dope"...Bush doesn't do much without 'purpose'!
True. California, New York, Massachusetts et al will never, ever, outlaw abortion.
Women in those states (or women who travel to them) will continue to be able to kill an unborn child for any reason, at any stage of pregnancy, as they do now legally.
Yet I heard a NARAL witch on the radio yesterday claim that "If South Dakota can outlaw abortion, then all the states will."
At least the Left is having to come up with new lies to replace the old.
What's the deal with an injunction? Anyone know the likely scenario?
The elites at National Review ought to get in touch with their mentor. Seems he's not in tune with their latest "wisdom" on the front page.
For my part I don't care how tthis plays out at the Supremes in the short term. What I care about is that legislatures are forcing pressure on the Courts, and attempting to take back their Constitutional roles. As is proper.
Eventually R v W is going to fall, the only question is how many more times the Supremes will stand as a roadblock before accepting that reality...and will the legislatures and Governor eventually just tell the Court to try to enforce R v W....with their non-existant standing army.
Well, I hope not, anyway. Of course, the governor and legislature have the moral duty, if not the duty under the state constitution, to enforce the law. May the appeals process drag on so that lives may be saved.
Yes. Let's take a page from the tactics of the Left, such as the pushing of homosexual "marriage" at the state level. Incrementalism in the effort to protect innnocent life is no vice.
Except that in the instance of homosexual marriage, they have forced the issue wrongly through dictate of the courts. Legislatures have every right to take this role.
I wonder how the future will look if there are states where it's quickly illegal, and states where it never will be.
If it's "reproductive freedom" is it really acceptable that a woman has rights in one state and not in another?
If it's "murder", is it really acceptable that one can step over a state line and commit it with impunity?
You are exactly right. Under the proper understanding of the Constitution, states have the right to proscribe abortion, and South Dakota is to be applauded for exercising this right without waiting for approval from the Supreme Court or the Beltway types who favor an incremental strategy that has achieved virtually nothing in 30 years. God Bless South Dakota!
I noted that too in post #8.
There are only two types of people who think the Hamas election idicates a failure of Bush's policy of promoting democracy in the Middle East:
1. People who have a prejudice against the president anyway.
2. People who are dumb enough to think of Fatah as anything more legitimate than Hamas Lite.
Also, none of the proposed tactics to deal with the election results reject the decision; they merely bring the deserved consequences to the mopes who elected Hamas.
Actually, I'm betting on Priscilla Owens or Janice Rogers Brown.
Yes, regicide... killing the king.... the great Warren Zevon even worked it into a song about Elvis Presley (The King):
"Left behind by the latest trends,
Eating fried chicken with his regicidal friends;
That's how the story ends...."
Liberal and conservative is a different thing from activist and constructionist. Just because he's not as conservative as we'd like doesn't mean he will appoint an activist judge.
I thought Elvis might have been the king of boring, silly, puerile music, but nothing much else.
There are killings that are, today, considered legal self defense in some states but murder in other states. Besides, the South Dakota statute does not make abortion "murder"-- it punishes the doctor, but explicitly states that the woman cannot be prosecuted.
Excellent question. It's unlikely the Court would overturn Roe by deciding abortion is murder. More likely, they wouyld turn the issue back to where it was in '72--a state by state decision. I know you know that, but my point is, the reason it would be a right in one state and a crime in another would be because the states would decide what it is, not the SCOTUS.
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