Monday, October 31, 2005

Just Thought You All Should Know That I Am "Deceived By The Antichrist"

I'm getting record traffic at this blog today, obviously due to the nomination of Judge Alito. However, with all the extra traffic, I got one piece of non-Alito email today that I thought you might be interested in reading:
I am so sorry that you have been deceived by the antichrist, that you have turned from a born-again believer (or do you know what that term means) to a worshipper of Mary. Born again to a Southern Baptist means what Jesus said to a grown man asking a question of how to get to heaven-Jn. 3. However, to a Catholic, being born again means that you are baptized as a baby into Catholicism, with no choice of your own but by someone choosing for you. The Catholic people have slaughtered the Protestants for many years-and will do so again as soon as they have enough power. I will be praying to God through Jesus for you. The Bible says He is the Only way to God.
Well, isn't that special? Here is my emailed response:
If you believe in "once saved, always saved" [ED: a Baptist droctrine found NOWHERE in scripture], then you have no cause for concern about me or my eternal salvation. I assure you that my personal relationship with Christ is much stronger now than it ever has been.

Also, please - for the sake of your own soul - be careful about what you attribute to the "antichrist". If my conversion is in fact, as I believe it to be, the work of the Holy Spirit, then by attributing my conversion to the "antichrist", you could be in danger of blaspheming the Third Person of the Holy Trinity. Our Lord called THAT the unpardonable sin.
Any suggestions from hardcore Catholic apologists as to what more I should have said?

Five Out of Nine

(Hat tip: Catholics in the Public Square)

From Ignatius Insight Scoop:
"Five out of our nine!" is what your high school civics teacher used to shout, sticking out the five fingers on his right hand and waiving it through the air. His point: it takes five out of nine Supreme Court justices to decide a matter one way or another.

If the newly nominated Judge Samuel Alito is confirmed, the U.S. Supreme Court will have “five out of nine” justices who are Catholics—Alito, Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, and Roberts. What does that say about the state of things?

Well, in one sense it says something we all already know. Socially and politically, Catholics have “arrived.” It isn’t simply, as it was in John Kennedy’s day, that a Catholic could get elected President of the United States. Catholics can actually be in the majority at the highest levels of what is perhaps America’s most powerful branch of government.

But what kind of Catholicism do the Catholics on the Supreme Court exemplify? We can’t be sure. And that’s part of the problem.

My Comments:
Apart from the fact that it means that Catholics in America may have "arrived", the Catholicism of the current nominee and 4 of the current members of the Supreme Court mean about as much as Harriet Miers' much-touted Evangelicalism ... squat.

Samuel Alito's America

From the office of Teddy the Swimmer:
October 31, 2005


Rather than selecting a nominee for the good of the nation and the court, President Bush has picked a nominee whom he hopes will stop the massive hemorrhaging of support on his right wing. This is a nomination based on weakness, not on strength.

After insisting that Harriet Miers shouldn't even get a hearing because she couldn't prove she was extreme enough, the far right has now forced the President to choose a nominee that they think has views as extreme as their own.

There are many serious questions about whether Judge Alito is a mainstream nominee fit to fill the seat of Justice O'Connor. She was able to unite and strengthen our country through her careful, non-ideological approach to the law.

Although he is clearly intelligent and experienced on the bench, that is only the beginning of our inquiry. If confirmed, Alito could very well fundamentally alter the balance of the court and push it dangerously to the right, placing at risk decades of American progress in safeguarding our fundamental rights and freedoms.

After stating that he believed in a diverse bench, President Bush took the nation a step backwards today. Apparently, he couldn't find a woman or minority or a mainstream nominee that meets the litmus tests of the right wing, and instead put forth a nominee with a troubling record on the rights and freedoms important to America's families.

The Senate will now fulfill its constitutional role and conduct thorough and fair hearings to determine Judge Alito's fitness to sit on the highest court in the land. There are few decisions as important as picking a Supreme Court Justice, and the Senate must not be rushed in considering this nomination.
My Comments:
So, does Fat Bastard just keep the same speech in a file somewhere and then recycle it for certain Republican judicial nominations, changing the names to suit the particular nominee at issue?

Back On The Bandwagon

Courtesy of Zach Brissett at In Toon with the World (sorry 'bout them Dawgs, Zach).

My Comments:
Finally, Dubya has given us the nominee he promised in 2 presidential elections - one in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas, as Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy points out:
This is the sort of nominee the President promised. Unlike Miers, he is objectively qualified. Unlike Roberts, he is not a stealth candidate.
At any rate, with this pick, I think I can let bygones be bygones and go back to supporting the President.

A word of caution, however. There is something about the atmosphere in Washington, D.C., in general, and on the Supreme Court, in particular, that causes otherwise conservative judges to "grow" (a.k.a. sell out their principles). If that happens with Alito (assuming he's confirmed), President Bush cannot be blamed for that. He has made about as good a choice as one can make, and Dubya is not responsible for the unforeseen eventuality of someone nicknamed "Scalito" not living up to expectations.

Alito And Casey On Abortion

(Hat tip: Rich Leonardi at Ten Reasons)

Robert P. George writes at Bench Memos on National Review Online:
The spousal notification provision that Sam Alito voted to uphold was championed by then Pennsylvania Governor, Robert P. Casey — -a Democrat. (He was the "Casey" in "Planned Parenthood v. Casey.") Governor Casey believed that a husband is entitled to know if his child is going to be aborted. One may agree or disagree with this as a policy matter, but it is hardly an "extreme" idea. Indeed, I would be very surprised if the idea were rejected (much less condemned as "extreme") by Governor Casey's son, Robert P. Casey, Jr., who is running for the United States Senate against Rick Santorum. Someone should ask him. Like his late father, Casey is running as a strongly pro-life Democrat. If the senior Casey was fit to be Governor, and if the younger Casey is fit to serve in the United States Senate, then Alito's position on spousal notification (which, as you pointed out, is not even an endorsement of the policy but only a judgment regarding its constitutionality) scarcely renders him unfit to serve on the Court.
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Indeed, someone should ask Senate candidate Casey his view on Judge Alito's Casey dissent.

Today. And tomorrow. And everyday until the confirmation hearings have concluded. The Democrats shouldn't be allowed to play the abortion issue, especially with respect to Casey the candidate and Casey the Supreme Court decision, both ways.

UPDATE: has posted the text of Alito's Casey dissent.

Harry Reid "Disappointed" Over Alito Pick

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the United States Supreme Court.

"The nomination of Judge Alito requires an especially long hard look by the Senate because of what happened last week to Harriet Miers. Conservative activists forced Miers to withdraw from consideration for this same Supreme Court seat because she was not radical enough for them. Now the Senate needs to find out if the man replacing Miers is too radical for the American people.

"I am disappointed in this choice for several reasons. First, unlike previous nominations, this one was not the product of consultation with Senate Democrats. Last Friday, Senator Leahy and I wrote to President Bush urging him to work with us to find a consensus nominee. The President has rejected that approach.

"Second, this appointment ignores the value of diverse backgrounds and perspectives on the Supreme Court. The President has chosen a man to replace Sandra Day O’Connor, one of only two women on the Court. For the third time, he has declined to make history by nominating the first Hispanic to the Court. And he has chosen yet another federal appellate judge to join a court that already has eight justices with that narrow background. President Bush would leave the Supreme Court looking less like America and more like an old boys club.

"Justice O’Connor has been the deciding vote in key cases protecting individual rights and freedoms on a narrowly divided Court. The stakes in selecting her replacement are high.

"I look forward to meeting Judge Alito and learning why those who want to pack the Court with judicial activists are so much more enthusiastic about him than they were about Harriet Miers.”
My Comments:
Too bad, Harry. You got to pick the last one, and she didn't go over so well.

Alito It Is

From FOX News:
Bush Nominates Alito for Supreme Court

WASHINGTON — President Bush on Monday nominated Samuel Alito (search) to the Supreme Court.

"Judge Alito is one of the most accomplished and respected judges of America and his long career in public service has given him an extraordinary breadth of judicial experience," Bush said in making the announcement. "He's scholarly, fair-minded and principled and these qualities will serve him well on the highest court in the land."

The White House arranged for Alito to go to the Capitol after the announcement. If approved, Alito — considered a conservative federal judge — will replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (search), a moderate.

So consistently conservative, Alito has been dubbed "Scalito" or "Scalia-lite" by some lawyers because his judicial philosophy invites comparisons to conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. But while Scalia is outspoken and is known to badger lawyers, Alito is polite, reserved and even-tempered.

The White House hopes the choice mends a rift in the Republican Party caused by the failed nomination of Miers, a Bush loyalist, and puts his embattled presidency on a path to political recovery.

Bush administration officials said Alito was virtually certain from the start to get the nod from the moment Miers backed out. The 55-year-old jurist was Bush's favorite choice of the judges in the last set of deliberations but he settled instead on someone outside what he calls the "judicial monastery," the officials said.

Bush believes that Alito has not only the right experience and conservative ideology for the job, but also has a temperament suited to building consensus on the court. A former prosecutor, Alito has experience off the bench that factored into Bush's thinking, the officials said.

While Alito is expected to win praise from Bush's allies on the right, Democrats have served notice they will fight it. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Sunday that Alito's nomination would "create a lot of problems."

In the early 1990s, Alito was the lone dissenter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case in which the 3rd Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law that included a provision requiring women seeking abortions to notify their spouses.

"The 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," Alito wrote.

The case ended up at the Supreme Court where the justices, in a 6-3 decision struck down the spousal notification provision of the law. The late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist cited Alito's reasoning in his own dissent.
(emphasis added)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Today's Homily By Father Frank Pavone

My family has just returned from Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish in Charlottesville, Virginia, where we were treated to a wonderful surprise. Father Frank Pavone, founder of Priests For Life, was today's guest homilist. I got to speak to Father Pavone briefly after Mass to thank him for the work he does, and especially to thank him for the role he played in trying to save Terri Schiavo.

Father Pavone's homily was a straightforward sermon against the scourge of abortion - nothing fancy, just the facts. How nice to have the Church's pro-life message front and center like that, especially in a parish community of pseudo-intellectual university elitists where probably half the cars in the parking lot still have "Kerry-Edwards" stickers on them. How nice that the Dominican leadership at the parish invited Father Pavone without regard to the backlash they are likely to receive from the pro-abort "Catholics" in the parish.

In the past I've been critical of some aspects of this particular parish, but one thing I have never questioned is the orthodoxy of the Dominicans who lead the parish. Thank you, Father Brian Mulcahy et al for inviting Father Frank Pavone to speak the Church's pro-life "Truth" today at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

After Miers, The Right Is Expecting More

From the New York Times:
In his two choices for the Supreme Court so far, President Bush has tapped what some conservatives called "stealth" nominees: jurists without a clear record of legal opinions on abortion rights or other contentious social issues.

But with the announcement of a third nominee to succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor expected as early as Monday, prominent conservatives said they were confident that this time would be different. They argued that the reaction against the nomination of Harriet E. Miers had proven the perils of such an approach, even though some also acknowledged that the failure of the Miers nomination may have weakened the president if the next nominee sets off a battle.

"To the degree that Bush was enamored of a stealth strategy, I have got to believe he has learned there is a real downside," said William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and one of the first conservative thinkers to call for withdrawal of the Miers nomination.

But if the next nominee provokes a fight with the left instead, Mr. Kristol added, "it is tougher having made a mistake with Miers."

My Comments:
All I expect is that we don't run away from what we claim to believe in.

The "stealth" strategy gives the impression that those of us who believe that the text of the Constitution actually means something need to be ashamed for holding that view.

NY Times: Next Nominee May Well Spark a Climactic Battle

From the New York Times:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 - When Harriet E. Miers withdrew her nomination to the Supreme Court, she may have taken with it the last chance to avoid a climactic confrontation over who will succeed Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is retiring.

As he picks another nominee - Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit emerged as a leading candidate on Friday - President Bush faces redoubled pressures from both the left and the right. His conservative supporters are more determined than ever to demand someone with a clear conservative record on abortion rights and other social issues; Senate Democrats are emboldened by the unraveling of the Miers nomination, the downturn in the president's popularity and the indictment Friday of I. Lewis Libby Jr., a top White House official.

The handling of the next nominee is likely to be "tougher than hell," Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview Friday.

Both sides have spent years preparing for the pivotal battle over who will succeed Justice O'Connor, the critical swing vote on abortion rights and other social issues. The pressures from both sides present a political challenge for President Bush - and it could generate a battle that could bog down the Senate for months if Democrats decide to block a vote on the new nominee.

[Full story]
My Comments:
Bring it on!

Alan Keyes: Bush Picks Stealth Nominees To Protect Pro-Abortion Republicans In The Senate

Alan Keyes, writing in WorldNetDaily, offers some insight into the President's unfortunate inclination to nominate stealth nominees to the Supreme Court:
Many conservatives cannot understand why President George W. Bush has taken the stealth approach in his selection of nominees for the Supreme Court. After all, we have what appears to be a Republican majority in the U.S. Senate. If the Democrats trash highly qualified nominees because their thinking reflects the president's judgment instead of the Democrat Party platform, it won't be hard to convince the public that they are simply trying to achieve through intimidation what they couldn't achieve at the ballot box in the last presidential election. Senate hearings in which an experienced, articulate conservative jurist took on the Democrats in front of the entire nation would also offer a unique teaching moment that could solidify public understanding of the constitutional crisis brought on by years of liberal arrogance in the federal judiciary. Republicans should be of one voice saying, "Bring it on!"

The broad conservative reaction against the Miers nomination is now being characterized by the mainstream media as the work of right-wing extremists. This provides cover for the real culprits in this scenario – the eight or so abortion-minded Republican senators who will be put in the spotlight if the president nominates an impressive conservative jurist. Will Arlen Specter and the other Republicans like him stand firm with the president, or join the abortion minded Democrat minority to provide the margin that derails such a nominee? The administration's stealth approach allows these Republicans to avoid taking a stand that would outrage the Republican grass roots, while it camouflages the leftist priorities that separate Sen. Specter and the others from the majority of their fellow Republicans.

(emphasis added)

My Comments:
That's an interesting take, and one which I believe has much validity.

Let's just hope Dubya has learned his lesson and will choose from one of the outstanding potential nominees with clear records of judicial conservatism.

Prince Charles To Plead Islam's Cause To Bush

From the Telegraph (U.K.):
The Prince of Wales will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11.

The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strengths.
My Comments:
Just what America and our President need: a lecture on religion from an adulterer who once said his most ardent desire was to be his paramour's tampon.

Friday, October 28, 2005

In The Mold Of Scalia is reporting that Judge Samuel Alito appears to be the odds-on favorite to be nominated to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, now that the nomination of Harriet Miers has been withdrawn:
Alito It Is (Or So It Seems)

Multiple sources are telling RedState that Samuel A. Alito, Jr. of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will be named by the President at the next associate justice of the United States Supreme Court as early as Monday.

“The situation is still in flux,” says one source, “but not very much.” Says another, “The White House Counsel’s Office is not doing too good at keeping this a secret.”

Still another source says, “Luttig and Alito were the fall backs to Miers. They have both been vetted. Alito seems more palatable. There is no need to drag this out, he’s been vetted a million times.”

And yet another source tells me that he is convinced Alito is the nominee barring some last minute unforeseen issue. All signs are pointing to Judge Alito right now. Things could change, but as the weekend draws closer it seems more and more likely that Judge Alito will be the nominee and conservatives will have a fight on their hands in the Senate — a very winnable fight.
My Comments:
If your desire is to nominate someone to the Supreme Court who is "in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia", you could do much worse than nominating someone whose nickname is "Scalito" - i.e. "Little Scalia".

If you thought conservatives were outraged by the choice of Harriet Miers, just wait until you see the Dems and those pulling their strings at NARAL, NOW, PFAW, and Planned Parenthood go completely bonkers if Samuel Alito is the nominee.

I assure you, if Alito is nominated, the words "extraordinary circumstances" will become a household phrase within hours of the announcement. I say, "Bring it on, lefties!"

"Deep Rift" On The Right?

From The Washington Post:
WASHINGTON -- The withdrawal Thursday of Harriet Miers' nomination to the Supreme Court was a triumph for conservative activists, but some of the lead players said the battle between erstwhile allies may have left scars for the remainder of President Bush's term.

Those who stuck with Miers warned that the White House will long remember the activists who turned on the president's nominee and is not likely to be receptive to their demands.

Without doubt, Miers' nomination stirred passions among conservatives that have lain dormant for much of the Bush presidency. Richard Viguerie, an architect of the conservative movement, said activists held their tongues for nearly five years as Bush expanded the federal role in education, imposed tariffs on imported steel, secured a prescription drug benefit for Medicare, and oversaw the rapid expansion of federal spending.

"But we did that because it was all about the courts, all about the courts, all about the courts," Viguerie said. "Then when he betrayed us on a Supreme Court nominee, that just woke us all up."

Suddenly, there was a level of discord in Republican circles not seen since President George H.W. Bush was in office.

"We have always stood for our core issues more than politics," said Jan LaRue, chief counsel of the conservative Concerned Women for America, which had called for Miers' withdrawal on Wednesday. "Maybe some advisers in the White House have now been reminded of that."
(emphasis added)

The Definition Of Integrity

Mass resignations in Holmdel High School football program

HOLMDEL, N.J. -- The head coach of the Holmdel High School football team, Joe O'Connor, has resigned along with all nine assistant coaches over what O'Connor says was an undermining of his authority by the school administration.

O'Connor quit Monday, saying the administration had reinstated a player after the coach made him leave the team over discipline problems. On Wednesday, nine assistant coaches decided to resign from the team as well in a show of solidarity with O'Connor.

"We were trying to do this for the players who did the right thing, who didn't skip class or practice or argue with the coaches," said one of the former assistant coaches, Robert Kearns, in comments published in the Asbury Park Press for Thursday's newspapers.

According to O'Connor, the player in question had a history of breaking team rules, and when he traded words with another player during last Saturday's loss to Red Bank Catholic, the coach cut him from the team.

On Monday, O'Connor said the school administration reinstated the player, and the coach _ in the middle of his sixth season _ decided to leave.

Officials from the high school declined to comment on why the player was allowed back on the team or on the coaches' resignations.

For the remainder of the season, which includes three regular season games and a possible state playoff bid, the Hornets will be led by coaches from the Holmdel Pop Warner football league.
Now this is rich.
"Holmdel Principal Cheryl Swider will serve as the team's head coach ..."
And, apparently, the school is considering action for breach of contract against the former coaches. I hope they lose their game tonight "which Holmdel needs to win to keep its hopes for a state playoff berth alive".

Washington Post: Nomination Was Plagued By Missteps From the Start

From The Washington Post:
For Harriet Miers, the "murder boards" were aptly named. Day after day in a room in the White House complex, colleagues from the Bush administration grilled her on constitutional law, her legal background and her past speeches in practice sessions meant to mimic Senate hearings.

Her uncertain, underwhelming responses left her confirmation managers so disturbed they decided not to open up the sessions to the friendly outside lawyers they usually invite to participate in prepping key nominees.

It was clear that Miers was going to need to "hit a grand slam homer" before the Senate Judiciary Committee to win confirmation to the Supreme Court, as one adviser to the White House put it. "Her performance at the murder boards meant that people weren't confident she'd get the grand slam."

By nearly all accounts, the 24 days of the Miers nomination was hobbled by a succession of miscalculations. President Bush bypassed his own selection process to pick Miers, his onetime personal lawyer and White House counsel since February. His aides ignored warnings by some of the administration's closest conservative allies that she would prove difficult to confirm, and took for granted that its base would ultimately stick with the president.

(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Please go read the whole thing. It is a must read.

You should also read Captain Ed's take on this Washington Post piece over at Captain's Quarters:
My good friend Hugh Hewitt feels as though the Right has made a terrible mistake in speaking its mind about the actions of the Bush administration. He goes to the New York Times this morning to scold the Right for using the tactics of the Left in beating up what he sees as a qualified nominee ...

What Hugh sees as a Borking, however, was the natural reaction from a conservative base that has seen Souter after Kennedy after Stevens, "trust me" candidates that later turned into lifetime-appointment nightmares -- and who still comprise a third of the Supreme Court. Even O'Connor has mostly disappointed those who believe, as Hugh does, in originalist thinking. Republicans have named seven of the nine sitting justices on the Court, and four of them have proven themselves to be superlegislators.

If Hugh wants to debate the meaning of the 1993 speech to the Executive Women of Dallas, a speech he repeatedly admitted on the air was "terrible" and not just "ambiguous" as he writes here, he knows he loses. That speech turns out to be the only documentary evidence of Miers' judicial philosophy that emerged from this candidate. The White House never bothered to produce anything, or more likely had nothing to produce, to counter it, other than George Bush's "trust me" based on a nonexistent vetting process.
Again, as with the Post piece, please go read the whole thing.

Dems See "Collapse of Leadership" in Miers Withdrawal

From Cybercast News Service:
( - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said President Bush "had an obligation to do everything possible" to support Harriet Miers, but he "failed in that duty." Dean sees it, "President Bush's failure to stand up to the right wing of his party and defend Harriet Miers is the latest collapse of leadership at the Bush White House." Dean says he had serious questions about Miers' qualifications -- but he believes she "at least deserved an opportunity to make her case to the Senate Judiciary Committee." Dean, like many other Democrats, is warning President Bush not to "cave in" to the right wing again.
My Comments:
"Dems see 'collapse of leadership' in Miers withdrawal."

Then we have something in common: many conservatives saw a "collapse of leadership" in Miers nomination.

Fred Barnes Offers Advice To Dubya on "Rebuilding"

(Hat tip: Laura Ingraham)

Fred Barnes, writing for The Daily Standard, notes that "the withdrawal of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is the first step on the road to political recovery for President Bush":
It gives him the opportunity to select a well-known judicial conservative for the Court vacancy, rally conservatives who opposed or were skeptical of Miers, and rebuild his political base.

Winning confirmation won't be easy. Democrats already have their story down: Bush capitulated to the far right in jettisoning Miers and his new nominee will be a right-wing extremist. My guess is Democrats will stick to this narrative no matter whom the president chooses from the roster of a dozen or more conservatives with strong credentials and deep experience in constitutional law.

But a fight would be good for Bush. Battling for a highly qualified nominee, this time with conservatives on his side, would hasten the consolidation of his base. And if he's going to accomplish anything significant in the three-plus years left in his second term, he needs his base. He'll also have Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist with him enthusiastically--and prepared to impose the "nuclear option" to shut off a Democratic filibuster if necessary.

Once a new nominee is confirmed, the next steps for Bush are fairly obvious.


Bishops’ Conference Tells FDA That Over-The-Counter Sale of “Morning-After” Pill Would Be Harmful to Minors

From the USCCB Office of Media Relations:
WASHINGTON (October 27, 2005)— In a letter to the Food and Drug Administration, an official of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) opposed permitting over-the-counter sale of the Plan B “emergency contraception” pill to minors.

Mark E. Chopko, USCCB General Counsel, said Plan B “is one instance of a drug in which over-the-counter availability, either generally or to a subpopulation, would be injurious to many—children and adults, as well as health care providers and professionals.”

On August 26, the FDA invited public comment on the circumstances under which an active ingredient may be simultaneously marketed in both prescription and over-the-counter form. The notice of proposed rulemaking came in response to an earlier proposal to make the Plan B “morning-after” or “emergency contraception” pill available over the counter to persons over the age of 16.

“We believe, as we stated in previously filed comments, that permitting over-the-counter sale of Plan B would be detrimental to minors (and adults) notwithstanding any effort to limit marketing to adults,” Mr. Chopko wrote in an October 27 letter to the FDA.

Mr. Chopko said the position of the USCCB is based on the following considerations:

“First, if Plan B became available over-the-counter, even if such availability were ostensibly limited to adults, it would as a practical matter make it easier for minors to obtain the drug without a physician’s or parent’s involvement. A minor could procure the drug indirectly through a non-parental adult, or might obtain it directly as a result of lax enforcement by the pharmacy, misrepresentation, or theft.

“Second, without parental involvement, and professional oversight, minors with access to Plan B may rely upon and use it to the detriment of their health. It can be expected, for example, that many girls (indeed many adult women) will take Plan B multiple times rather than as recommended…In our previous comments, we pointed out the significant health risks that would be occasioned by the absence of clinical oversight and monitoring. A child will not always appreciate these risks or necessarily understand where to turn when complications arise.

“Third, over-the-counter availability will undermine efforts to encourage parents’ participation in decisions affecting the health of their dependent minor children at a time when the Administration…has been promoting and defending such efforts.” Mr. Chopko noted that the United States has recently filed an amicus curiae brief in which it urges the Supreme Court to uphold a New Hampshire law requiring parental notice for minors seeking an abortion.

“Fourth, over-the-counter availability has implications for whether consent will be truly informed. Girls (and many adult women, for that matter) may be unaware that in some circumstances Plan B can have an abortifacient effect by interfering with the survival of a newly conceived human being. Over-the-counter use does nothing to educate potential users of Plan B in this regard – indeed, Plan B has been widely promoted as not causing abortion – and will only increase the likelihood of continued ignorance about the drug’s mechanisms, which in turn affects whether consent to its use is truly informed.

“Fifth, over-the-counter availability will likely compound the pressure already being placed upon health care providers and professionals to violate their conscience. Even now there are published reports in some jurisdictions of efforts to require pharmacies and pharmacists to carry Plan B and make it available notwithstanding their conscientious objection to the drug, and that effort has already resulted in litigation.”

“We ask the FDA to reject the current application, and any subsequent application, to make Plan B available over the counter either generally or to any subpopulation,” Mr. Chopko wrote.

Previous USCCB comments on over-the-counter availability of Plan B can be found on the Web at

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Spare Me ...

... the righteous indignation by some bloggers and commentators toward those who opposed the Miers nomination. On the one hand some recriminations are deserved. I have already acknowledged here that some went beyond the pale in their criticisms by attacking the nominee personally.

But the righteous indignant aren't satisfied with mere condemnations of that sort. No, they are convinced that, by virtue of opposing this nomination and asking that it be withdrawn before it went to the Senate (where we would have learned nothing and Harry Reid's choice would quite certainly have been rubberstamped), those who opposed Miers adopted the tactics of the Democrats and permanently damaged the nomination and confirmation process for eternity.

Please. Enough has come out at this point that it is clear that Harriet Miers was not a pick in the mold of a Scalia or Thomas, which the President had promised. If anyone is to blame for damaging the process it is none other than George W. Bush, who short-circuited the White House vetting procedure and put favoritism above merit in making the most important domestic decision of his presidency.

UPDATE (28 Oct 2005):
Yeah, what Steve Dillard said.

The Left Responds - Part 2

Boy, you can see from the comments to this post that some on the left are sorta worked up over the Miers withdrawal. What's really pathetic is that they should have been as equally worked up over her nomination in the first place.

A nomination that should have been condemned by both the right AND the left as blatant cronyism, had to be torpedoed by the President's own supporters without any help from those on the left - who were quite content to allow a clearly unqualified nominee to have a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, so long as it meant Republicans were divided.

Peggy Noonan: America Is In Trouble

Peggy Noonan is all gloom and doom in The Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal:
I think there is an unspoken subtext in our national political culture right now. In fact I think it's a subtext to our society. I think that a lot of people are carrying around in their heads, unarticulated and even in some cases unnoticed, a sense that the wheels are coming off the trolley and the trolley off the tracks. That in some deep and fundamental way things have broken down and can't be fixed, or won't be fixed any time soon. That our pollsters are preoccupied with "right track" and "wrong track" but missing the number of people who think the answer to "How are things going in America?" is "Off the tracks and hurtling forward, toward an unknown destination."

I mean . . . the whole ball of wax. Everything. Cloning, nuts with nukes, epidemics; the growing knowledge that there's no such thing as homeland security; the fact that we're leaving our kids with a bill no one can pay. A sense of unreality in our courts so deep that they think they can seize grandma's house to build a strip mall; our media institutions imploding--the spectacle of a great American newspaper, the New York Times, hurtling off its own tracks, as did CBS. The fear of parents that their children will wind up disturbed, and their souls actually imperiled, by the popular culture in which we are raising them. Senators who seem owned by someone, actually owned, by an interest group or a financial entity. Great churches that have lost all sense of mission, and all authority. Do you have confidence in the CIA? The FBI? I didn't think so.

But this recounting doesn't quite get me to what I mean. I mean I believe there's a general and amorphous sense that things are broken and tough history is coming.

The special prosecutors, the scandals, the spin for the scandals, nuclear proliferation, wars and natural disasters, Iraq, stem cells, earthquakes, the background of the Supreme Court backup pick, how best to handle the security problems at the port of Newark, how to increase production of vaccines, tort reform, did Justice bungle the anthrax case, how is Cipro production going, did you see this morning's Raw Threat File? Our public schools don't work, and there's little refuge to be had in private schools, however pricey, in part because teachers there are embarrassed not to be working in the slums and make up for it by putting pictures of Frida Kalho where Abe Lincoln used to be. Where is Osama? What's up with trademark infringement and intellectual capital? We need an answer on an amendment on homosexual marriage! We face a revolt on immigration.

The range, depth, and complexity of these problems, the crucial nature of each of them, the speed with which they bombard the Oval Office, and the psychic and practical impossibility of meeting and answering even the most urgent of them, is overwhelming. And that doesn't even get us to Korea. And Russia. And China, and the Mideast. You say we don't understand Africa? We don't even understand Canada!

Roiling history, daily dangers, big demands; a government that is itself too big and rolling in too much money and ever needing more to do the latest important, necessary, crucial thing.

My Comments:
Wow! When the eternally optimistic Peggy Noonan starts to read like the Prophet Jeremiah, things must really be in the crapper!

After Miers

From National Review Online:
No conservative should be in a celebratory mood now that Harriet Miers has withdrawn her nomination. For one thing, reasonable conservatives who considered her unqualified for the Supreme Court conceded that she has had an accomplished career and that she has served the president loyally and, for the most part, well. Gloating would be unseemly. For another thing, the object of conservative agitation against Miers was to get a solid justice confirmed. So the conservative opponents of her nomination have not yet won a victory.

Still, today is the best day Republicans have had in some time. It was clear almost from the beginning that the president had made a poor choice, and has been clear for more than a week that withdrawal was advisable. An ill-considered nomination had reached an impossible pass. One day would bring news suggesting that Miers would be (or at least vote like) a judicial conservative. The next would bring news suggesting the reverse. The net effect was to leave both liberals and conservatives concerned about both the substance, and the muddle, of her views. Even minor mistakes in her answers to senators' questions were being judged harshly. And her meetings with senators were not going well.

Yet some observers — especially those well-disposed to Miers's nomination — still insisted that the president would "never back down," even to correct a mistake. These observers gave the president, and Miers, too little credit. The president is strong-willed, but not willful.

But presidential mistakes have consequences that cannot be simply erased. If President Bush now nominates someone whom most conservatives can support, as he should, then Bush and the conservatives may, together, win the nominee's confirmation. But their chances of jointly succeeding were better immediately after the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts than they are now. The Democrats will insist that the far Right has forced a nominee beholden to it on a weak president.

My Comments:
I'm certainly NOT in a celebratory mood.

For one, I feel very sorry for Harriet Miers who was placed by her boss in an untenable position. Regardless of her merits with respect to the position of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Miers seems like a very nice person and a very loyal supporter of the President. I'm embarrassed that many who took the side I took in opposing this nomination decided to attack her personally. I tried to stay away from that line of attack, and stick to the merits of whether her nomination represented what the President had promised in a Supreme Court nominee. I don't think I ever got personal in my criticisms of Miers, but if I did, I take this opportunity to apologize.

Second, I feel the President wasted a golden opportunity to move the Court into the direction he claims to believe it should go. Assuming Dubya does pick a nominee that is in the mold of Scalia or Thomas as he promised in 2 different elections, I think such a nominee has less of a chance of being confirmed now than he or she had if nominated from the very beginning.

Third, I'm upset that the President needlessly divided his base at a time when he most needs the support of those who worked to elect him. Dubya obviously believed that cronyism was more important than merit in what, to many of his supporters, was the most important domestic decision of his presidency. And he expected "Trust me" to be good enough to elicit our support. Having learned in the past that "Trust me" usually leads to more Souters than Scalias, many of the President's most ardent supporters would have none of it. In fact, many - like me - felt betrayed that such brazen favoritism towards a trusted friend would trump jurisprudential merit. And in response, the President and his henchpersons (including the First Lady) resorted to baseless accusations of elitism, sexism, anti-Evangelicalism, and being part of the "far-right fringe". The result: division and rancor. I'm very upset that I'm not sure I can continue to trust a man whose image, up until a month ago, I was ready to add to Mount Rushmore.

In short, I'm extremely heartbroken at what has transpired over the last month. But I am heartened that the President now has a chance to do what he should have done in the first place with respect to this nomination. I pray that he will not let us down again.

I Promise ...

Courtesy of Zach Brissett at In Toon with the World.

Well, That Didn't Take Long

In an earlier post today, I predicted the following about the likely reaction from the left to news of the Miers withdrawal:
And you can bet that the left and their media allies will play this up as the "hard-core radical religious far right" driving this "good woman" away from this nomination.
No sooner had those words been typed than statements of leftist outrage began to trickle in. First this from Democrat Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (who, it must be remembered, recommended Miers for the job in the first place):
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who recommended Miers to the president, put the blame for her withdrawal squarely on "the radical right wing of the Republican Party."

Minority Leader Harry Reid has asserted that "the radical right wing of the Republican Party drove her right out of town."
[ED: Yikes! That one's eerily close to my description of what would happen]

"In choosing a replacement for Ms. Miers, President Bush should not reward the bad behavior of his right wing base," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who had suggested to Bush that he consider nominating Miers.

"President Bush should reject the demands of these extremists and choose a justice who will protect the constitutional rights of all Americans," Reid said. The president should listen to all Americans and not just extreme elements of his own party."
And then this from the so-called People For The American Way:
For Immediate Release
October 27, 2005


Right Wing Power Politics Overwhelm President’s Supreme Court Pick

Harriet Miers’ withdrawal from her Supreme Court nomination demonstrates that ultraconservatives are so determined to swing the Supreme Court sharply to the right that they pounded their own president’s nominee into submission, and now demand a nominee with unquestioned far-right credentials, said Ralph G. Neas, President of People For the American Way.

“It’s an astonishing spectacle. The unelected power-brokers of the far right have forced the withdrawal of President Bush’s own Supreme Court nominee, before a confirmation hearing has even been held. President Bush’s complete capitulation to the far-right interest groups is astounding. The ultra-right wing dominance of Republican Party politics is complete, and they have dealt a terrible blow to an already weakened President and his administration,” said Neas. “Right-wingers are openly saying they elected Bush to put a battle-ready ultraconservative on the court to replace the moderate Sandra Day O’Connor, and they’re demanding a new choice – bipartisanship, moderation and mainstream Americans be damned.”

Neas said that while his group had initial concerns about Miers’ qualifications, he was willing to wait for document disclosure and the confirmation hearings to assess the nomination. Meanwhile, the drumbeat against Miers from special interest groups on the right grew in coordination and intensity, dooming the nomination.

Neas urged Bush to resist calls for an ultraconservative nominee.

“After this sorry episode, the best way for the President to demonstrate leadership and recover strength would be to choose a nominee with a great legal mind and mainstream legal philosophy who could draw bipartisan support. The President must not let the extreme right dictate his next choice, but instead choose a nominee who can bring us together and maintain a fair and independent balance on the Supreme Court,” he said.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Silly me. I had forgotten to include the words "extreme" and "extremist" in my original description. Let me correct that now:
And you can bet that the left and their media allies will play this up as the "extreme hard-core radical religious far right extremists" driving this "good woman" away from this nomination.
By they way, if you took Ralph Neas press release and substituted the words "ultraliberal" for "ultraconservative", "far-left" for "far-right", "far-left interest groups" for "far-right interest groups", "ultra-left wing" for "ultra-right wing", "unelected power brokers of the far-left" for "unelected power brokers of the far right", etc., you'd have a pretty accurate description of Neas and his "far-left interest group of unelected power brokers" in PFAW.

More from Harry Reid:
"The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination," said Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who had recommended Miers to the president. "They want a nominee with a proven record of supporting their skewed goals."
And this from Teddy "the Swimmer":
"The president has an opportunity now to unite the country. In appointing the next nominee, he must listen to all Americans, not just the far right," said Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts."

Who Will Dubya Pick Now?

What I hope will happen:
Michael McConnell, Michael Luttig, Edith Jones, Samuel Alito, or Emilio Garza.

What I hope will happen if Bush just has to fill this slot with a woman:
Edith Jones, Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, or Karen Williams.

What I hope will happen if Bush just has to fill this slot with a Hispanic:
Emilio Garza or Miguel Estrada.

What I fear will happen:
Alberto Gonzales, Edith Brown Clement, or Consuelo Callahan.

Let's hope Dubya learned a lesson from the Miers debacle. Unfortunately, I think Dubya is (1) too hard-headed, (2) too self-assured regarding his own "good judgment" and ability to "see inside" people's hearts, and (3) too unwilling to look outside his own circle of personal acquaintances to actually make a decent pick on the merits.

Miers Withdraws Nomination to Supreme Court

From Fox News:
WASHINGTON — Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to be a Supreme Court justice Thursday in the face of stiff opposition and mounting criticism about her qualifications.

Bush said he reluctantly accepted her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down. He blamed her withdrawal on calls in the Senate for the release of internal White House documents that the administration has insisted were protected by executive privilege.

"It is clear that senators would not be satisfied until they gained access to internal documents concerning advice provided during her tenure at the White House -- disclosures that would undermine a president's ability to receive candid counsel," Bush said. "Harriet Miers' decision demonstrates her deep respect for this essential aspect of the constitutional separation of powers -- and confirms my deep respect and admiration for her."
My Comments:
Looks like they went with the Krauthammer face-saving option of withdrawing the nomination to protect executive privilege and the separation of powers.

I think it's pretty clear, however, that the Washington Post story from yesterday is most likely the real impetus behind this withdrawal. And you can bet that the left and their media allies will play this up as the "hard-core radical religious far right" driving this "good woman" away from this nomination.

I'll post more on this momentous event (or, to quote the Swimmer, "this auspicious day") later today.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Ed Whelan: Miers Should Withdraw Now

Ed Whelan, writing at Bench Memos on National Review Online, believes that Harriet Miers should withdraw her nomination now:
I have tried hard to give the White House and Harriet Miers the benefit of the doubt on her nomination and to withhold judgment. But I can no longer do so. The damage from this disastrous selection has gotten worse and worse every day, and there is every reason to think that it will continue to compound.

The badly muddled thinking in the speech that Miers delivered in 1993 (and that the Washington Post reported on today) is only the latest in a mounting pile of evidence that makes it implausible to hold out hope any longer that Miers will prove to be a sound judicial conservative. I don’t see how anything she says at her hearing — or anything else that realistically emerges between now and then — can offset this evidence.

Harriet Miers has earned the president’s trust and deserves our respect, and it is lamentable that some folks, in their deep disappointment at her nomination, have been excessive in their criticisms of her. But I see no reason why anyone concerned about the problem of judicial usurpation of the political processes should trust that a Justice Miers would be part of the solution.

It also appears highly doubtful that Miers timely made available to the White House decisionmakers all the information about her that would have been necessary to a proper vetting. Granted, she was apparently in the dark about her own candidacy for a long period of time, but by her own account she had some two weeks to provide necessary information.

At this point the only course of action that will entitle Miers to continued respect is for her to ask the president to withdraw her nomination. Pronto.
My Comments:
With a resume like this, maybe Ed Whelan should be the nominee (of course now that I've said that, this piece by Whelan will just be dismissed by the Miers defenders as "elitist sour grapes"):

Edward Whelan is president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He has worked in all three branches of the federal government, which has given him significant experience with questions of constitutional law and the role of the courts. Whelan served as a law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (1991-92) and Judge J. Clifford Wallace of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (1985-86). From 2001 to 2004 he was the principal deputy assistant attorney general for the office of legal counsel in the U.S. Department of Justice. From 1992 to 1995 he was a senior lawyer on the staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Whelan received his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1985 and was a member of the board of editors of the Harvard Law Review.

Teddy "The Swimmer" Kennedy Celebrates Death Of 2000th Soldier In Iraq

From Men's News Daily:
Did you hear it? Do you hear it? The ghoulish cheering from the Democrats and their base groups like DemocraticUnderground, People for the American Way,, and from their shining celebrities, Cindy (Look at Me) Sheehan and Michael Moore as they celebrate the 2000th soldier’s death in Iraq is a disgusting manifestation of their Machiavellian dreams. After all, to them the death of 2000 American soldiers is a small enough price to pay if they can get themselves elected into office.

Congressman McGovern (Dem. Mass.) described it this morning as a “milestone.” What a sad thing for an American Congressman to say.

Don’t think [they're] celebrating? I give you Senator Edward (the Killer) Kennedy. He described Tuesday’s news of the 2000th death as an “auspicious day.” I guess anyone who can leave a young woman to die of drowning could call the death of 2000 American soldiers “auspicious.”

(emphasis in original)
My Comments: defines "auspicious" this way:
1 auspicious -
attended by favorable circumstances; "an auspicious beginning for the campaign"

2 auspicious, encouraging, favorable, favourable, lucky, prosperous -
tending to favor or bring good luck; "miracles are auspicious accidents"; "encouraging omens"; "a favorable time to ask for a raise"; "lucky stars"; "a prosperous moment to make a decision"
Tactless jerk? Or dumbass? Take your pick, Swimmer!

Sen. Mike DeWine Launches Tirade Against Conservatives Opposing Miers Nomination

I concluded an earlier post on the Miers nomination by quoting another blogger's exhortation to "call your senators to pressure them to oppose this nomination... Senators will listen if they're deluged with calls".

Well, apparently, some of our illustrious Senators have determined to turn a deaf ear to the cries of those of us who oppose Miers. Turns out at least 2 members of the infamous "Gang of 7", who also happen to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, have decided to take a dismissive stance with respect to our "special interest" concerns:
Senator Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, said that if Ms. Miers withdrew now she would only hurt Republican senators who are uneasy about her nomination. It would suggest that special interest groups control the nomination process, he said. Mr. Graham said the nominee can't withdraw for this reason alone and that the hearings will go forward as planned.

"If she withdraws, that means that we, the party and the president, have given in to special interest politics who want to shake up the process," Mr. Graham said in an interview. "So I am dead set against her withdrawing, especially now. I don't want special interest groups on the right or the left to hijack the nomination process."

"This is absurd," said Sen. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Republican who sits on the Judiciary Committee. "We need to move on to hearings."

"Enough is enough," Mr. DeWine said. "If I pick up one more paper and read about one more group that I've never heard of saying they're for Miers or against Miers -- it just doesn't matter at this point."

Manuel Miranda, who has helped organize much of the opposition to Miss Miers, said this battle will not be forgotten by the Republican base.

"Mike DeWine is going to lose in Ohio, and he should be more aware of grass-roots sentiment," Mr. Miranda said. "Mike DeWine doesn't have a great deal of conservative support in Ohio and ham-fisted remarks aren't going to help with that."

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
I'm moving to Ohio in a little less than 2 months. I decided shortly after the "Gang of 7" sellout that, not only would I NOT VOTE for Mike DeWine in next year's election, but I would actively work for his defeat. That doesn't mean I will support whoever the Democrats nominate - I don't vote for members of the Death Party - but I will do all I can to talk down DeWine to others with whom I come into contact.

DeWine's tirade against conservatives opposing Miers only reinforces my decision.

Rod Dreher: President Betrayed Base Just When He Needed It Most

(Hat tip: Professor Bainbridge)

From the Dallas Morning News:
William F. Buckley, American conservatism's gray eminence, was recently asked by a writer for The New Yorker what he thought about the state of the movement he helped found 50 years ago. Said Mr. Buckley, "I'm not happy about it." More and more of us on the right feel his pain.

American conservatism is in crisis at the moment because the bizarre Harriet Miers nomination imposed a surreality check on the right, forcing us to consider just how much nonsense we had gone along with for the sake of party discipline.

Where to start? With the LBJ-level spending? The signing of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill, which candidate Bush had denounced as unconstitutional? The race-preferences sellout in the University of Michigan cases?

There was also the cynical use of the federal marriage amendment, which the administration dropped after turning out the social conservative vote in 2004. And grass-roots conservatives cite the president's intent to liberalize immigration policy with Mexico.

Then there is the Iraq quagmire, which, even if initially a worthy cause, has become a rolling disaster.

On top of this came the Katrina debacle, which further damaged conservatism's claim to competent governance.

Conservatives, consciously or not, looked the other way for far too long, mostly because we felt it important to back the president in wartime and because nothing was more important to the various tribes of Red State Nation than recapturing the Supreme Court. For the first time in a generation, a conservative Republican president and a Republican majority in the Senate made that dream a real possibility.

Whatever else Mr. Bush might fumble, we trusted him to get that right.

Instead, he gave us a crony pick of no extraordinary constitutional expertise or discernible vision, except for love of Our Lord and George W. Bush, and support for racial preferences. This is what we drank the Rovian Kool-Aid for? The Miers selection was no isolated incident, but the tipping point in a series of betrayals.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
Yeah, what Rod said!

The Disaster Continues

Publius at Res Publica et Cetera and Hyphen at Excessive Catholicism both highlight the latest news about the Miers nomination which reinforces what those of us opposing the Miers nomination have always known: this is an unmitigated disaster.

Here's what Publius has to say:
Oh my, the Miers nomination actually just got worse. A whole lot worse, by the look of it. The Miers nomination is the gift that keeps on giving. For Democrats that is.
And here's Hyphen's take:
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse... There is now officially no reason to support Harriet Miers' confirmation. The Washington Post reports on a number of incoherent speeches Harriet Miers made in 1993. In those speeches, she reveals herself to have libertarian sympathies. Bush told us that he picked her because he knows that she won't change, but in fact it appears that she's vascillated dramatically over the years between a number of mutually exclusive political opinions. Who knows which ones she's settled on now?

There is not one shred of evidence to suggest that Miers would be the type of principled justice Bush says she would be. Miers' views are volatile, mutually contradictory, and extraconstitutional. She does not have the temperament, proper jurisprudence, or experience required for the Supreme Court. There is every reason to believe that she will be another fickle justice like O'Connor or Kennedy.
And just what has these bloggers so up in arms this fine morning? Why, as alluded to in Hyphen's remarks, it's the latest from today's Washington Post:
In a 1993 speech to a Dallas women's group, Miers talked about abortion, the separation of church and state, and how the issues play out in the legal system. "The underlying theme in most of these cases is the insistence of more self-determination," she said. "And the more I think about these issues, the more self-determination makes sense."

In that speech and others in the early 1990s when she was president of the Texas Bar Association, Miers also defended judges who order lawmakers to address social concerns. While judicial activism is derided by many conservatives, Miers said that sometimes "officials would rather abandon to the courts the hard questions so they can respond to constituents: I did not want to do that -- the court is making me."

In an undated speech given in the spring of 1993 to the Executive Women of Dallas, Miers appeared to offer a libertarian view of several topics in which the law and religious beliefs were colliding in court.

"The ongoing debate continues surrounding the attempt to once again criminalize abortions or to once and for all guarantee the freedom of the individual women's [sic] right to decide for herself whether she will have an abortion," Miers said.

Those seeking to resolve such disputes would do well to remember that "we gave up" a long time ago on "legislating religion or morality," she said. And "when science cannot determine the facts and decisions vary based upon religious belief, then government should not act."

(emphasis added)
Yep. That's pretty much the definition of "DISASTER", at least if you were hoping for a principled jurist in the mold of Scalia and Thomas to be nominated to the Court. Instead, those quotes from Miers make her sound remarkably like another Supreme Court disappointment, Justice Anthony Kennedy:
At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.
- Kennedy's concurring opinion reaffirming the "right" to abortion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey

Freedom extends beyond spatial bounds. Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct. The instant case involves liberty of the person both in its spatial and more transcendent dimensions... It is a promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the government may not enter.
- Kennedy's majority opinion constitutionalizing homosexual sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas
None of which, I might add, appears anywhere in the Constitution. Unfortunately, I'm not convinced that Harriet Miers isn't more likely to agree with Justice Kennedy's take than with that of Justice Scalia or Justice Thomas. Not sure what else I can say, so I'll conclude with Hyphen's exhortation to take action:
This nomination has been a colossal mistake and it must be stopped now. Go to and call your senators to pressure them to oppose this nomination. Senators will listen if they're deluged with calls. Let's not let missed opportunity become permanent regret.

Go Ahead, Dubya - Just Do It!

Courtesy of Zach Brissett at In Toon with the World.

How Much Is Your Blog Worth?

(Hat tip: Holy Fool)

My blog is worth $44,034.12.
How much is your blog worth?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Top Bush Supporters Set to Launch Anti-Miers Ad Campaign

From Human Events Online:
A 30-second TV ad is set to air tomorrow, Wednesday, that some believe may be as effective at helping stop the Harriett Miers confirmation as the Swift Boat ads were in helping stop John Kerry., a conservative grass-roots organization, created and funded the hard-hitting anti-Miers (but pro-Bush) ad. The organization's board of directors includes several otherwise staunch Republican stalwarts, such as David Frum and Linda Chavez.
My Comments:
You can view this ad at the Human Events website linked above.

The ad quotes Judge Bork and Rush Limbaugh, so it's certainly not going to win over any "squishy moderates". But then, this ad isn't really aimed at them. I'd look for it to get lots of play on the FOX News Channel. has been established to urge the withdrawal of Harriet Miers from consideration as a nominee for Associate Justice on the United States Supreme Court:
We need a nominee to the Supreme Court whose judicial philosophy reflects a clear commitment to the Constitution and a debate about the nomination that is of the highest integrity.

We believe that the best interests of the country and the court would be served if Ms. Miers withdraws her nomination to the Supreme Court.

Should Ms. Miers decide not to withdraw her nomination, we respectfully ask President Bush to withdraw her nomination and immediately begin the vetting process of candidates who are stronger alternatives that are truly in the mold of Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas.
According to Matthew Franck writing at Bench Memos on National Review Online, apparently the good folks over at had a hand in getting this thing up and running.

Feasts For Anglophiles

Papa Lu at Papa Familias reminds us that today is St. Crispin's Day, made famous by the King's immortal speech in Shakespeare's play Henry V.

Meanwhile, fresh from his visit to Tyburn, Rich Leonardi informs us that today is the Memorial of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.

Thomas at Recta Ratio has excellent posts regarding both St. Crispin's Day and the Feast of the Forty Martyrs.

Polish Leader's "Anti-Gay" Stance Threatens Poland's EU Voting Rights

From Guardian Unlimited:
Poland could lose its EU voting rights if its newly elected president continues to oppose gay rights and seeks to introduce the death penalty, the European Commission warned yesterday.

In a shot across the bows of arch-conservative Lech Kaczynski, the commission declared that all member states must abide by EU rules which protect minorities and block the death penalty.

Failure to comply could trigger a special process under the Treaty of Nice which deprives errant member states of their voting rights in ministerial meetings. "We are going to follow the situation very attentively," the principal commission spokesman, Jonathan Todd, said yesterday.

The commission intervened after Mr Kaczynski, the Law and Justice party candidate, was confirmed as the winner of Sunday's second round in the Polish presidential election with 54% of the vote. Donald Tusk, a more moderate conservative from the pro-market Civic Platform party, won 46% of the vote.

[Full story]
My Comments:
You just knew the anti-Christian zealots in the EU wouldn't sit idly by while a devout Catholic with pro-US sentiments was elected President of Poland.

Democrats: Do As We Say, Not As We Do

From Cybercast News Service:
Don't Go There, Democrats Warn Republicans
By Susan Jones Senior Editor
October 25, 2005

( - With a Friday deadline looming for Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to bring charges in the alleged unauthorized disclosure of a CIA employee's identity, newspapers are full of stories about a "public relations blitz" at the White House.

A message on the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's website reminds GOP senators of their past comments on perjury and obstruction.

When a Democrat was in the White House just a few short years ago, the seriousness of perjury and obstruction was pretty much all Republicans would talk about," said the message from the DSCC's Phil Singer.

Tim Kaine Is NOT Pro-Life

David at Catholics in the Public Square has this post on the alleged pro-life credentials of Democrat candidate for Governor of Virginia Tim Kaine, a Catholic. David's post is in response to Christophers's earlier post at Catholics in the Public Square, which was itself responding to this post at Excessive Catholicism.

As a result of David's post, Hyphen at Excessive Catholicism has reconsidered the initial enthusiasm expressed for Kaine.

Hugh Hewitt Has SO Jumped The Shark Re: Miers

I must admit to never having read Hugh Hewitt's blog prior to the Miers nomination, for which Hewitt has been such a cheerleader. But if I had been a Hewitt fan, that would have ended with this insulting post:
The implicitly anti-evangelical tone of much of the Miers criticism, coupled with the refusal to defend her pro-life views from the assault now underway from the left has raised a very legitimate question for all commentators: Do you really want Roe reversed? Where is that result among your priorities? The suspicion is growing that the GOP elite is really reconciled to abortion on demand but unwilling to announce as much for fear of the political consequences.
Paul Zummo at deftly handles this piece of Hewitt tripe:
Wow. This is so offensive I’m not sure where to begin. First of all, how has any of the criticism demonstrated an “anti-Evangelical” strain of thought? This sort of thinking exists only in the fervent imagination of Hugh Hewitt.

Further, as a devout Catholic who has protested outside of abortion clinics, I completely resent having my pro-life credentials questioned. And I think that Ramesh Ponnuru, Steve Dillard, Kathryn Lopez and other pro-life Catholics, as well as other pro-life Miers critics would equally be offended by this completely absurd accusation. In fact, we have been partly motivated by the fact that there is nothing to suggest that Miers would vote to overturn Roe, her so-called pro-life credentials nothwithstanding. For one thing, there is no guarantee that a pro-life individual would take necessarily vote to overturn Roe, and even if one could be assured of that, her background does not suggest that she would offer an intellectually compelling rationale for doing so. As Hugh, lawyer that he is, must surely understand, the Supreme Court is not a super-legislature. SCOTUS opinions are transmitted to lower courts and interpreted there. They are taught in law schools. They are the basis of law review articles. An intellectually inferior opinion based on a person’s individual religious beliefs would be easily refuted by a smart liberal.
That must be some Kool-Aid that Hewitt is drinking in order to allow him to wash down all his principles in the name of supporting Dubya regardless of the the cost.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Courageous High School Student Takes On Pro-Abortion Extremists

(Hat tip: Rick Lugari at De Civitate Dei)

A Catholic high school student whose mother's complaints to school administrators led to the ouster of a drama teacher who was moonlighting as an "escort" at Planned Parenthood is getting flack over at her blog from pro-aborts claiming to be "good Catholics".

Why not go over and give her some moral support?

Miers Reconsidered

Boethius at Fumare is "Re-thinking the Miers' Nomination":
It's true that she is not an intellectual giant like Antonin Scalia and John Roberts, but they are men, and we should not expect as much from a female candidate to the Supreme Court.

Will This Catholic Senator Be the Next President?

(Hat tip: Christopher at Catholics in the Public Square)

An Ignatius Insight interview with Senator Sam Brownback:
One of the key figures in the current battle over President George W. Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court is Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback. (see related IgnatiusInsight story). A convert to Catholicism, Brownback is considering a run for the presidency in 2008.

Beyond his role on the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Harriet Miers confirmation hearings, Brownback is the lead sponsor of a Senate bill to ban human cloning and is heavily involved in projects in Africa. In addition, Brownback is working on a project that would reward big pharmaceutical companies for developing cures for Third World diseases by extending the life of some of their other, lucrative drugs, such as Viagra.

Raised on a family farm near Parker, Kansas, Brownback, 49, lives in Topeka with his wife and five daughters. After serving two years in the U.S. House, Brownback was elected to the Senate in 1996, filling out the term of Sen. Bob Dole.

*** You are a convert to Catholicism. Would you mind talking about how you ended up becoming a Catholic?

Sen. Brownback: I felt a deep calling to make that move and spent roughly four years really studying, reading, thinking about it–praying about it before deciding to join. I was very happy in the Evangelical church I was in. I had no problems with the Evangelical church at all. It’s just I felt a deep spiritual calling to do it and have been delighted to join the Catholic Church. The readings that I’ve done since then by Catholic writers–I’ve really enjoyed the depth and the beauty of the expression. It’s been very helpful to my faith journey. Which writers, would you say?

Sen. Brownback: Right now I’m reading a book by a former archbishop of Mexico City, (Luis) Martinez, and the book is When Jesus Sleeps. It’s a beautiful set of thoughts about when we feel as if God’s not there. That’s one that I’m currently reading. It’s the second book I’ve read by this author. I read another one, True Devotion to the Holy Spirit, another very thoughtful and beautiful set of thoughts and comments. When you decided to join the Catholic Church, did the rest of your family join?

Sen. Brownback: They did not. And they have not. So, what we do as a family is, I will get up–usually early on Sunday mornings–sometimes not, but typically I’ve been getting up, going to Mass, and then we will go all together to the Evangelical church that I had been attending and the family continues to attend.

So I get a great Sunday morning. I get the Eucharist and the beauty of the set of Catholic thoughts and then the praise and worship and preaching of an Evangelical church. Great combination. It’s a great mixture of the feeding and I really enjoy it.


Bloggers On Record: The Harriet Miers Nomination

The Truth Laid Bear is placing a clarion call to bloggers to make known their stand on the Miers nomination: Oppose/Support/Neutral. The tracking page is online here.

Readers of this blog already know where I stand.

Tag! My First Meme.

I've been tagged for my first meme by both Rick Lugari at De Civitate Dei and Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy. Lucky me.

The rules are as follows:

1.Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

Okay, here goes. My 23rd post had only 3 sentences, so I will post the 3rd sentence, according to the rules of the meme which call for the 5th sentence "or closest to it". In a post titled "Partisan Hypocrisy: Terri Schiavo, Conviction, and Politics", I included this quote from Rich Lowry at National Review Online:
"The starkest inconsistencies are on the other side, on the part of liberals who ordinarily support the federalization of everything, but can't bear the thought of a federal judge reviewing the facts of the Schiavo case to determine whether or not she should be starved to death."
Remember that when Howard Dean & Co. try to use the Schiavo incident against conservatives in the future. And now, I tag:

Zach at In Toon with the World,
Rich at Ten Reasons,
Publius at Res Publica et Cetera,
Peter Sean at Lex Communis, and
Tom at Seeking Justice.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Pro-American Catholic Conservative Wins Poland's Presidential Election

As reported on Free Republic:
According to exit polls by GfK Polonia, a staunch pro-American Catholic conservative Lech Kaczynski has won the presidential election in Poland gaining 53.52% of votes. Donald Tusk, a conservative liberal, gained 46.48 of votes.

Vatican Synod Rules Out Married Priests

From Reuters:
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - A synod of Roman Catholic bishops on Saturday clearly reaffirmed priestly celibacy and ruled out allowing clergy to marry as a solution to the crisis of vocations facing the Church worldwide.

The working sessions of the three-week synod, the first of Pope Benedict's papacy, closed with 50 propositions and a message to the world from the more than 250 bishops.

Overall, the synod's decisions have dashed the hopes of some liberal Catholics for movement on issues such as married priests, celibacy and the divorced faithful.

(emphasis added)
My Comments:
An imprecise headline and news story, since married priests are allowed for Rites other than the Latin Rite.

As for the text I highlighted, I have this to say: Good! Anytime the hopes of liberal Catholics are "dashed", that bodes well for the future of the Church. And let's not forget that in addition to "movement on issues such as married priests, celibacy and the divorced faithful", many of these liberal Catholics were also calling for women "priests", a.k.a. priestesses.

Friday, October 21, 2005

What Evil Reads Like

Just read Mark Morford's disgusting attack on the Duggar family and their 16 children if you want to see the contempt in which the left holds families, especially religious ones:
Mean and callous to suggest that this bizarre Duggar family of 18 spotless, white, hyperreligious, interchangeable people with alarmingly bad hair -- the kids ranging in ages from 1 to 17 -- is worse than those nuked Smurfs in that UNICEF commercial and worse than all the horrific rubble in Pakistan and worse than the cluster-bomb nightmare that is Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise having a child as they suck the skin from each other's Scientological faces and even worse than that huge 16-foot python that ate that 6-foot alligator and then exploded.

Perhaps the point is this: Why does this sort of bizarre hyperbreeding only seem to afflict antiseptic megareligious families from the Midwest? In other words -- assuming Michelle and Jim Bob and their brood of cookie-cutter Christian kidbots will never be allowed near a decent pair of designer jeans or a tolerable haircut from a recent decade, and assuming that they will all be tragically encoded with the values of the homophobic asexual Christian right -- where are the forces that shall help neutralize their effect on culture? Where is the counterbalance to offset the damage?

You already know why. It is the Biggest Reason of All. Children are, after all, God's little gifts. Kids are little blessings from the Lord, the Almighty's own screaming spitballs of joy. Hell, Jim Bob said so himself when asked if the couple would soon be going for a 17th rug rat: "We both just love children and we consider each a blessing from the Lord. I have asked Michelle if she wants more, and she said yes, if the Lord wants to give us some she will accept them." This is what he actually said. And God did not strike him dead on the spot.

Let us be clear: I don't care what sort of God you believe in, it's a safe bet that hysterical breeding does not top her list of desirables. God does not want more children per acre than there are ants or mice or garter snakes or repressed pedophilic priests. We already have 3 billion humans on the planet who subsist on less than $2 a day. Every other child in the world (1 billion of them) lives in abject poverty. We are burning through the planet's resources faster than a Republican can eat an endangered caribou stew.

Note to Michelle Duggar: If God wanted you to have a massive pile of children, she'd have given your uterus a hydraulic pump and a revolving door. Stop it now.

Ah, but this is America, yes? People should be allowed to do whatever they want with their families if they can afford it and if it's within the law and so long as they aren't gay or deviant or happily flouting Good Christian Values, right? Shouldn't they? Hell, gay couples still can't openly adopt a baby in most states (they either lie, or one adopts and the other must apply as the co-parent), but Michelle Duggar can pop out 16 kids and no one says, "Oh my freaking God, stop it, stop it now, you thoughtless, selfish, baby-drunk people."
My Comments:
I know others have already blogged extensively on this. And I'm not really going to be able to add anything substantially to the discussion.

But I wanted to post something about this individual's anti-family/anti-child screed as a record of what evil reads like, so that one day, when "one-child" policies, forced abortions, eugenics, and other like measures are forced upon us by those who "know better", we can look back and say "It started with editorials like that one."

UPDATE (23 Oct 2005):
(Hat tip: Holy Fool)

Tony Miller of Catholic Pillow Fight does an excellent job of frisking the Morford piece. Do yourself a favor and read it!

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Pro-Life Conservatives Should Prepare For Another Bush Sell-Out - This Time On Stem Cells

Pro-life conservatives still smarting from Dubya's broken promise to nominate a Scalia/Thomas strict constructionist to the Supreme Court should begin to prepare for another Bush sell-out on life issues.

According to The American Spectator, the Bush Administration is considering cutting a deal with Arlen Specter on his embryonic stem-cell bill in exchange for his support of the Miers nomination:
There are other, big fights going on up on Capitol Hill besides the SCOTUS nomination, and none is bigger than the imminent legislative action on embryonic and non-embryonic stem cell research. Sources up on the Hill say it's possible that within the next week, the Labor-Health and Human Service-Education Appropriations bill will hit the Senate floor. "It could come as early as tomorrow [Friday]," says a Senate source.

Why is this such a big deal? Because Senator Arlen Specter, better known these days as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been agitating for a vote on embryonic stem cell research before the end of this legislative year, and he has threatened to use the Labor-Health approps bill to get it. Conservative Republicans are said to be concerned that he will offer this embryonic stem cell research legislation as an amendment during floor debate on the appropriations bill.

Now word is coming out of the White House that it might not be opposed to Specter being allowed to offer his stem cell legislation as an amendment to the Labor-Health approps bill. And what does the White House get out of it? Specter's backing off from vocal criticism of SCOTUS nominee Harriet Miers.

UPDATE (23 Oct 2005
Thanks to Publius of Res Publica et Cetera for pointing out in his comments to this post, as well as at his own blog, that Senate Majority Leader Frist seems to have disarmed Specter's efforts to attach his amendment to the HHS appropriations bill.

Also, Paul at Thoughts of a Regular Guy notes the following:
Now Reuters is reporting that we have until January for that vote (H/T: The Stem Cell Extremist):

Legislation to expand federally funded embryonic stem cell research will not come to a vote in the Senate until early next year, one of the sponsors, Senator Arlen Specter, said yesterday. Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, told the chamber that Senate majority leader Bill Frist has agreed to scheduling a vote on the stem cell legislation then. Specter said he had decided against attaching it to a bill now before the Senate to fund the Labor and Health and Human Services departments, noting it would cause a ''multifaceted controversy."

Well, thank the Lord for small favors.

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