John Roberts Speaks on Abortion Case

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

We will soon find out how Chief Justice John Roberts will rule on abortion.

The audio recording of oral arguments in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood is up at the C-Span website. The case involves a New Hampshire law that requires parental notification for minors and a 48-hour waiting period.

The majority of the arguments centered around the health exception of the child with only a little concerning parental notification. I've listed all the times Roberts speaks in case you want to try to figure out where he will stand and don't have time to listen to the entire thing.

After listening I am confident Roberts will join the conservative wing, but you never know.

7:30 Justice Breyer hammers Attorney General Kelly Ayotte for the law not having health exemption.
11:23 Stevens sounds very good for 85 years old; wants to know why the law doesn't have a health exception.
12:23 Scalia speaks for first time.
12:57 Roberts speaks for first time. Will physicians face lawsuits?
16:31 Scalia assists the struggling Ayotte by saying physicians can avoid lawsuits if they must perform emergency abortions.
17:23 Roberts talks.
18:01 Ginsburg demands health exception be written into law. Hints she will vote to overturn law.

20:10 Roberts allows Solicitor General Paul Clement to talk
21:00 Clement confronts Souter on Casey merits.
26:02 Scalia wonders if such matters should be left to legislature.
27:40 Scalia and Souter duel on health exception.

30:53 Jennifer Dalven for Planned Parenthood gets to speak
33:21 Dalven argues "Too late for minor to go to court when is in ER"
33:43 Scalia says: "An abortion judge can be reached anytime, anywhere. It takes 30 seconds to make the call. This is an emergency situation?"
34:58 Roberts talks.
35:46 Roberts wonders why rare medical emergencies should invalidate laws for everyone else.
37:33 Roberts talks some more.
40:50 Roberts.
42:18 Roberts.
43:43 Scalia.
44:39 Scalia.
48:50 Roberts defends legislators for not putting health exception into law. Adjourns arguments at 53rd minute mark.

Supreme Court Weighing Parental Notification

It's that time again when activists on both sides clash outside the Supreme Court which is currently debating a New Hampshire abortion law requiring parental notification. It's the first case on abortion, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, 04-1144, the court has heard in five years.

New Chief Justice John Roberts seemed sympathetic to the state, but other justices said they were troubled that the law does not make an exception for minors who have a medical emergency.

The court has said before that abortion restrictions should include a health exception. O'Connor, along with Anthony Kennedy, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, zeroed in on how doctors would avoid being prosecuted or sued if they performed an abortion if a severely sick minor did not want to notify a parent and a judge was unavailable to provide the necessary approval.

"That's the real problem here for the doctor who's on the line," Ginsburg said.

Justice Antonin Scalia, however, said: "It takes 30 seconds to place a phone call" to a judge.

If Alito is confirmed by the Senate early next year his vote could be needed to break a tie in the case, although justices may find a consensus in resolving the appeal without a landmark decision. For example, justices could tell the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston to review the matter again.

The court is considering whether the 2003 New Hampshire law puts an "undue burden" on a woman in choosing to end a pregnancy. O'Connor is an architect of the undue burden standard, and was the deciding vote in the last abortion case five years ago, when justices ruled that a Nebraska law banning a type of late-term abortion was too burdensome.
With Alito likely to replace O'Connor, it is quite possible that the "undue burden" test will become insignificant if he joins the conservative wing as expected. I haven't heard the audio tapes yet but according to the press release it appears Chief Justice Roberts will vote similarly to the man whom he replaced and will be part of the 5-4 minority against the dismantling of the New Hampshire law.

The big question here is Anthony Kennedy. When it comes to abortion we know he accepts it as a constitutional right but often (though not all the time) votes to uphold restrictions.

My prediction: Planned Parenthood wins.

Majority: Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter, Kennedy (swing)
Minority: Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito

What Lies Beyond the Filibuster

Sunday, November 20, 2005

It was too good to be true for Sam Alito. Despite his staunch conservatism there was little ammunition to be used against him until the Washington Times released his 20-year-old application this week to become deputy assistant to the attorney general during the Reagan administration.

In the application he wrote about how he helped "to advance legal positions in which I personally believe very strongly." He continued, "I am particularly proud of my contributions in recent cases in which the government argued that racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed and that the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion."

Sure enough, ranking Democratic Senator Joe Biden told Fox News Sunday the filibuster is still on the table and is now more likely to be used than it was last week.

"I think he's got a lot of explaining to do, and depending on how he does, I think will determine whether or not he has a problem or not."

But the Democrats would be taking a major risk if they tried to filibuster Sam Alito. As the 2nd nominee to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the Bush administration cannot afford to find a third. Alito must be confirmed, so any talks of a filibuster would rear the dreaded Nuclear Option, in which filibustering judicial nominees would be made illegal.

Such the case would allow President Bush to nominate anyone - anyone - should a third vacancy open up. Without the filibuster President Bush would be all clear to nominate previously filibustered judges like Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen and Richard Pryor.

Good Riddance

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It was almost two years ago when an Amber Alert was posted for 11-year-old Carlie Brucia back in February 2004. A surveillance tape captured her abduction by one Joseph Smith; dragging her away by the arm.

Authorities searched in vain for the missing girl. Four days later her body -- naked from the waist down -- was discovered in a ditch like a discarded piece of trash.

Anyone who watched TV news at the time remembers that tape vividly as it was replayed ad nauseum in the following days. We all hoped she would be returned safely. Alas, that wasn't the case. Carlie was abducted, raped, murdered, and left to rot in the dirt.

Today a jury returned a guilty verdict, and again the tape has aired. Only this time we know what happens when Carlie and her abductor leave the frame.

When asked if she was satisfied with the verdict, Carlie's mother responded: "When he's dead. When he meets his maker."

Because the crime took place in this great state of Florida, Smith faces the death penalty. I've never been a strong advocate for capital punishment, but if that's what it takes to bring some sort of closure to a mother who just lost her daughter, I'm not going to stand in her way.

When O'Reilly Encouraged al Qaeda to Blow Up San Francisco

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Look, Bill O'Reilly can get on my nerves as much as the next guy's, but the current outcry against him in dozens of newspaper editorials is just plain insane and inaccurate. Here from CBS News, though it could be from anywhere:

I was in San Francisco last week, when Fox News commentator-in-chief Bill O'Reilly had one of his tantrums and told would-be terrorists to "go ahead" and blow the city off the map of the United States.
No, O'Reilly never called for the destruction of San Francisco. He was just mad as hell that the citizens of California voted last week in a special election to bar military recruiters from recruiting in public schools, including college campuses.

In other words, O'Reilly finds it funny how San Franciscans want nothing to do with the U.S. military but would expect nothing less than their full services if they were ever attacked. The actually rant on his radio program went like this:
Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead. And if al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.
Nowhere does O'Reilly ask al Qaeda to blow up California, just that if it terrorists do wipe out a good chunk of San Francisco its citizens shouldn't be tapping their feet with arms crossed every second the green trucks aren't rolling down the streets.

And why should they expect military assistance? Too often the anti-war crowd touts they can support the military without supporting the war. To be sure, it can be done, but how can you support the military if you don't support its strength? How can you support the men and women dying in Iraq if you make it impossible to give them relief or support? (And before you e-mail me, a 100% withdrawal of troops isn't going to happen today or tomorrow.)

It's absolutely ludicrous to kick the military out of schools when that is where they go to find the best and brightest to represent the greatest country in the world in uniform. People should stop throwing fits every time O'Reilly says something that can easily be taken out of context when the bigger picture should be examined.

So the military shouldn't be allowed to recruit in high schools or college campuses? Where then, my friends, should they go?

More "Extreme" Alito Behavior

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Yesterday we learned just a little bit more about Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito when the Washington Times published his 20-year-old application to become deputy assistant to Attorney General Edwin I. Meese III of the Reagan administration. In the document, Alito expressed -- among many things -- pride in being a conservative and an opinion that holds no regard for abortion as constitutionally protected.

Of course, to liberals this means he's "extreme" because to have a different view on on how the Constitution should be interpreted is just that. Reaction from select Democrats has been predictable:

...with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts saying the "extreme statements...are deeply troubling."

"Judge Alito was clearly trying to pass a litmus test to get a promotion," Mr. Kennedy said. "By his own admission, he was pledging his allegiance against established Supreme Court decisions on ... a woman's constitutional right to privacy."

Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc., added, "This document shows Judge Alito's judicial philosophy is far more dangerous to the health and safety of American women than the public may have thought."
But if I were a liberal I'd be a lot more concerned about the other stuff Alito wrote on his application - as he went on to say "racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed" and that he strongly favors "limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values."

All I have to say on this matter is if Alito gets confirmed to the Supreme Courtr in January the bar will be set rather high for Bush's next pick if given yet another opportunity to reshape the court.

Kansas Oks 'Intelligent Design'

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

It's sad how adverse we can be sometimes to the presentation of other theories and ideas that differ from our own about any given subject. The great Kansas headache doesn't appear to be going anywhere for awhile. From The New York Times:

TOPEKA, Kan., Nov. 8 - The fiercely split Kansas Board of Education voted 6 to 4 on Tuesday to adopt new science standards that are the most far-reaching in the nation in requiring that Darwin's theory of evolution be challenged in the classroom.

The standards press beyond the broad mandate for critical analysis of evolution that four other states have established in recent years, by recommending that schools teach specific points that doubters of evolution use to undermine its primacy in science education.

Among the most controversial changes was a redefinition of science itself, so that it would not be explicitly limited to natural explanations.

The vote was a watershed victory for the emerging movement of intelligent design, which posits that nature alone cannot explain life's complexity. John G. West of the Discovery Institute, a conservative research organization that promotes intelligent design, said Kansas now had "the best science standards in the nation."

A leading defender of evolution, Eugenie C. Scott of the National Center for Science Education, said she feared that the new Kansas standards would serve as a "playbook for creationism."
The beginning of life's existence is a one-day lecture in a semester long course, at least in high school anyway. What on earth is wrong with presenting at least two different theories? Some scientists point to evolution that started with the Big Bang, and others say the universe is too complex to have been started by anything but some form of intelligent being.

It's really that simple. No one alive today knows how life started. The evolution crowd is so content that their method is right you sometimes have to remind them that unlike other scientific theories there's no way to prove the Big Bang. Matter had to have come from somewhere and it's anyone's guess where.

As a favorite professor of mine at Florida State aptly put it, "The theory of evolution has been around for roughly a century and rather than gaining more and more scientific support, it has run into increasing difficulties as we learn more about the world and the universe from science. The problems for the theory of evolution began in earnest with the discovery of the Big Bang, that is scientific evidence that the universe had a beginning. Science had always assumed that matter existed forever, because science would have no way to explain its origins.

"Now it is becoming increasingly clear that since we can now date the origins of the universe at roughly 15 billion years ago and the origins of our earth at roughly 5 billions years ago, there simply was not enough time for the Darwinian mechanism of time and chance (chance meaning random events and mutations) to have produced our complex universe and life forms. Therefore evolutionists are today scrambling to come up with alternatives, and there are at least seven competing theories that have been presented which argue that it was time plus random mutations plus something else which must have been occurring in order for evolution to take place."

There's no clear cut answer, and because of that both sides should be presented.

The West Wing Debate

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Tonight was the live West Wing "debate" between two liberals; Alan Alda playing snappy "moderate" Republican Senator Arnold Vinick, and Jimmy Smits playing Democratic House Representative Matthew Santos.

Though scripted, the actors were allowed some leeway, and I do have to give Alda some credit for trying to make his Republican character look somewhat human, even though he had to use the typical right-wing cliches throughout the debate.

On gun control: "It's the right of every American to bear arms!"

On taxes: "Taxes are evil. I will cut taxes. We have too many taxes."

On jobs. "Zero. I will cut jobs!"

Meanwhile, Santos was a vehicle for the writers to vent, as he lashed out at "the most watched network" (meaning Fox News) for dedicating more time to the Aruba story than dead bodies in Iraq.

Santos also proudly defended the 'liberal' label and went on about how blacks are free thanks to liberals who freed them because they're liberals.

After the debate, and not before Ellen DeGeneres shamelessly plugged American Express, viewers were invited to vote at for whom they felt won the debate.

It's no secret the vast majority of West Wing viewers are sulking liberals who turn to fantasy to see Democrats consecutively win the presidency, and it's no surprise that Santos was favored 65-35%.

Can't wait to see who will win the election...oh wait, yes I can.

Asking Kids About Masturbation

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Yes the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals actually wrote this:

...there is no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children, either independent of their right to direct the upbringing and education of their children or encompassed by it. We also hold that parents have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students. Finally, we hold that the defendants' actions were rationally related to a legitimate state purpose...In summary, we hold that there is no free-standing fundamental right of parents "to control the upbringing of their children by introducing them to matters of and relating to sex in accordance with their personal and religious values and beliefs" and that the asserted right is not encompassed by any other fundamental right...we conclude only that the parents are possessed of no constitutional right to prevent the public schools from providing information on that subject to their students in any forum or manner they select.
Thanks to the 9th Circuit, if a school wants to ask 8-year-olds how often they think about wanting to touch "other peoples' private parts," it's within its jurisdiction and parents just have to accept it.

It was one of many questions in a survey given to children at a Palmdale District elementary school without parental consent or notification. A few parents filed a lawsuit claiming they had privacy rights on behalf of their children, but the most liberal circuit court in the country made it clear that parents have no rights to their children when they're in school.

The justification for the survey was to determine if there were any "psychological barriers to learning," though I can't seem to understand how that can be determined based on a child’s response to "touching my private parts too much."

The language in the ruling is extreme and radical to the highest degree by opening the door to anything by allowing schools to teach a subject "in any form or manner they select" without objection. Basically, the 9th Circuit Court has just given permission to any school that wishes to present graphic pornography as an educational tool to kindergarteners.

Alito And Abortion

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

According to liberals, Sam Alito will work to "turn back the clock" on abortion rights. They believe he will undoubtedly overturn Roe v. Wade the first minute he gets the opportunity to do so. Of course, they know no more than we do on how Alito will handle said case, because he is a stellar judge and has in his career ruled based on the law, not his feelings or personal preferences.

The lies coming from the Left are best summed up by this cartoon, suggesting Alito believes a woman should first get her husband's permission before getting an abortion.

They point to Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the case where Alito of the 3rd District Court of Appeals argued a Pennsylvania law that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands should have been upheld.

The Supreme Court would eventually overturn the Pennsylvania law Alito upheld, thanks to Sandra Day O'Connor's curious "undue burden" requirement.

But the point is Judge Alito never ruled a woman must get her husband's permission before getting an abortion, only that he should be notified before it happens. After all, no one wants to be that guy who comes home from the Sports Authority with new gloves and baseball bats only to find out his son is no more. If anything the notification law is common courtesy.