Wednesday, November 02, 2005
"The oh-so-Catholic Supreme Court," by Thomas Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 1 November 2005, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/002607.html.
Tom Barnett isn't just an important grand strategist: he is also a canny observer of American politics. If one corrects for Dr. Barnett's political persuasion, one gets a reliable guide of what to do.
For example: I was uncommitted on Harriet Miers until Tom Barnett supported her. Why? Dr. Barnett accurately predicted that if Harriet Miers was withdrawn, the next candidate would be "a truly right-wing justice." Sure enough, we got that candidate in Samuel Alito.
Now, Dr. Barnett confirms my membership in the Confirm Alito Coalition...
Bush went conservative all right, and now we've really got our threat to Roe v. Wade. The American Catholic church has let itself become defined by this issue, which accounts for the increasingly conservative caste of both the clergy and faithful.
Now, with Alito likely to join Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, and moderate Kennedy on the bench, we're looking at a majority Catholic Supreme Court. It wasn't that long ago (my early years) that there was a single, dedicated "Catholic seat" on the Court.
He also correctly lays the credit for the Catholic (and Evangelical) rise to the people who made it all possible: abortionists.
Now, thanks to the divisive issue of abortion, the Catholics are running the Court more and more.
He's obviously worried:
Really amazing when you think of it. When I was born, the great religious controversy was having the first (and to date, only) Catholic president, John Kennedy. Oh the concerns that the White House would be captured by the Vatican!
Well, the Vatican is coming awfully close to capturing the Supreme Court.
And as a moderate Catholic, I confess I am made nervous by this development.
Translation: as an abortionist, Alito makes him nervous. Good!
But then: Dr. Barnett jumps the shark.
Reversing Roe v. Wade is a chimera, a dream. With global connectivity, abortion can and will be outsourced to nations (like India, with its burgeoning medical tourism) on a low-cost basis. Our only alternative will be ultrasounds at airports to stop pregnant women from traveling abroad, which, quite frankly, will come off like some queer sci-fi future dystopia story or--worse--like some scene from a freaky socialist regime like old Nicolae Ceaucescu's Romania (that's how all those orphanages got filled up, my friends, not a pretty sight).
Foolish, foolish, foolish
Barnett's words are just a globalized version of the "backstreet abortion" criticism: if you criminalize something, it will still happen.
Law do not end behavior. Law cannot create a perfect world. There will always be murders, infanticides, robberies, thefts, etc. But the important part is law can be a tool in reducing crime. We can never end crime, but we can manage crime. We can't save all infants. But we can save many.
I would have expected a similar insight from Dr. Barnett, not an implicit comparison of the GOP to the Romanian Communist Party.
Monday, October 31, 2005
* Alito wrote the opinion for ACLU v. Schundler (1999), holding that a holiday display on city property did not violate the Establishment Clause because it included secular symbols, such as a large plastic Santa Claus, in addition to religious symbols.
* A dissenting opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 947 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1991), arguing that a Pennsylvania law that required women seeking abortions to inform their husbands should have been upheld. As JudgeAlito reasoned, "[t]he Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands' knowledge because of perceived problems — such as economic constraints, future plans, or the husbands' previously expressed opposition — that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion." Chief Justice Rehnquist's dissent from the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision striking down the spousal notification provision of the law quoted Judge Alito's dissent and expressed support for Judge Alito's reasoning.
and from Outside the Beltway:
For a unanimous panel, upheld a lower-court order requiring a school district to allow a Bible-study group to set up an information table at an elementary-school back-to-school night. Reasoned that by preventing the group from displaying its literature, the district was discriminating on the basis of viewpoint. (Child Evangelism Fellowship of N.J., Inc. v. Stafford Township School District, 2004)
Dissented from a ruling by the 3rd Circuit as a whole that an elementary school did not violate the First Amendment rights of a kindergartener by taking down (and then putting back up) a Thanksgiving poster he'd made that said the thing he was most thankful for was Jesus. The majority decided to throw out the case on a technicality; Alito protested that the child's claim should go forward. (C.H. v. Oliva, 2000)
Dissented from a refusal to grant police officers immunity from a civil suit brought by a mother and her 10-year-old daughter who'd each been strip-searched because they lived in the home of a suspected drug dealer. Alito felt the police had behaved reasonably because the warrant led them to conclude that there was probable cause to search everyone in the house for drugs. (Doe v. Groody, 2004)
So a good guy. Alito is also a Catholic, which means that Bush has now replaced a Lutheran (Rehnquist) with a Catholic and now an Episcopalian/Anglo-Catholic with a Catholic. This should ease some of the criticisms of evangelical bias
The Volokh Conspiracy expands:
A Catholic Majority on the Court?:
There will be, if Alito is confirmed. This is an extraordinary development. It was, let's recall, only forty-five years ago that JFK's Catholicism was a major issue in a presidential campaign. As Ken Kersch and Philip Hamburger have shown, anti-Catholic sentiment played a large role in the development of modern establishment clause jurisprudence (in part through the influence of that old KKKer, Hugo Black). The leading separationist group after WWII was known as Protestants [now, Americans] United for the Separation of Church and State.
Captain's Quarters says:
Of course, the Democrats blew their one opportunity to get a moderate on the bench during the Bush administration by waiting until Miers withdrew before defending her. Prior to that, Charles Schumer and Pat Leahy took great pains to call her questionnaire response "insulting" and echoing conservative complaints that her resume seemed too lightweight for a nomination to the Supreme Court. Had they pledged to support her, Bush likely would have allowed her to coast through the hearings to a floor vote despite the dissatisfaction on the right.
(For the curious, Tom Barnett predicted this.)
To make it better, the one criticism CQ came up with is that he may be too libertarian!
DrumWaster has an even simpler formula for liking the pick:
I also heard Harry Reid is unhappy about this pick....makes me happy just to hear that. Heh.
Michelle Malkin notes that Confirm Them "if the Democrats staged a filibuster against Judge Alito or Judge Luttig because of their conservatism, 'the filibuster will not stand..'" tdaxp has written about Conservative judge victories in a strategic perspective, before.
TMH Bacon Bits links to Blogs for Bush's Confirm Alito Coalition
Thank you, President Bush.
Update: tdaxp's Washington correspondent Catholicgauze has two words to charges of a coming Catholic judicial theocracy: "Faster, please"
Update: Because of spam, I have ended trackbacks for this post :-(.