Wednesday, February 22, 2006

South Dakota Passes Abortion Ban

Do pro-lifers know how to count? The ones in South Dakota seem to be under the impression that 4 Justices equals a majority on the Supreme Court:
SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (Reuters) - South Dakota's state senate voted on Wednesday for an abortion ban aimed at giving the conservative-tilting Supreme Court an opening to overturn rulings granting women the right to the procedure.

Only an unlikely veto by Republican Gov. Michael Rounds could prevent the legislation from becoming law, people on both sides of the issue said.

"We hope (Rounds) recognizes this for what it is: a political tool and not about the health and safety of the women of South Dakota," said Kate Looby of Planned Parenthood, which operates the sole clinic providing abortions in South Dakota.

"If he chooses to sign it, we will be filing a lawsuit in short order to block it," she said after attending the afternoon debate at the state capitol in Pierre.

Proponents have said the law was designed for just such a court challenge.

The timing is right, supporters say, given the recent appointments of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito to the high court. The two conservatives could pave the way to a decision overturning Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling said women have a constitutional right to abortion.


[More]
My Comments:
Couldn't South Dakota have waited until another Supreme Court vacancy had been filled before jumping the gun on this? As it stands, there are still 5 votes to uphold Roe v. Wade - the addition of Justices Roberts and Alito didn't change the balance of power on the Court vis-a-vis abortion.

I'm hoping this doesn't turn out to be a huge mistake. Another Supreme Court decision re-affirming Roe v. Wade would only further entrench it as precedent, making it that much more difficult to overturn later.

9 Comments:

At 2/22/2006 10:19 PM, Blogger Publius said...

I'm hoping this doesn't turn out to be a huge mistake. Another Supreme Court decision re-affirming Roe v. Wade would only further entrench it as precedent, making it that much more difficult to overturn later.

I've come to believe that it is much more likely to hurt the pro-life cause by making it more difficult to get the fifth vote to overturn on the court than to lead to a re-affirmation of Roe. As things stand now, I very seriously doubt that the Supreme Court will agree to hear the case once it works its way through the court system — which at least some commenters at ConfirmThem think could take a year or two. Of course if Stevens, Ginsburg, and/or everyone's favorite dark horse (or pipe-dream) retiree, Souter are replaced by then, they may hear indeed hear it.

Even if it doesn't hurt our chances of getting another good appointee, it still might screw things up by forcing a confrontation too early. I'd be more confortable with at least two more pro-Roe justices being replaced, since three anti-Roe justices out of three vacancies seems a bit too much to hope for given the Republican track record. Of course Bush would be lucky to get one more vacancy even, and who knows what will happen in 2008, but still...

 
At 2/22/2006 10:35 PM, Blogger Publius said...

To clarify, I don't think this court will take up Roe again, so the danger of this court reaffirming it is small, but if Stevens retires and is replaced before this makes its way through the lower courts, it very well might take it up. If W. didn't manage to bat 100 (and thus surpass both Ronald Reagan* and his father), it could then be reaffirmed. It would be better to either wait until two more pro-Roe vacancies are filled or else until the possibility of filling them with conservative justices is gone (i.e., if a Democrat wins in 2008.

*Which wouldn't be hard to do, since Reagan did only marginally better than Nixon as far as abortion is concerned (worse if one believes CJ Burger only voted for Roe so he could assign the opinion — a tactic I'm told he was famous for). Of course the Reagan justices taken on the whole are better than the Nixon justices on other matters, and there was none among them who were as horrendous as Blackmun.

 
At 2/22/2006 10:58 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

I agree, Publius, that the more immediate danger is that this action will rally the left and the pro-abortion Republican members of the Senate to block another possible anti-Roe nominee to the Court.

Because of this, we could end up with another Souter when the next vacancy occurs.

 
At 2/23/2006 2:01 AM, Blogger Fidei Defensor said...

The masses aren't following this.

The 2003 Law on Partial Birth Abortion won't come before the court until 2007.

If this doesn't come before the court till 2010 I bet we'll have atleast one, maybe two new justices.

Plus don't forget the power of prayer, we just might be able to get Tony Kennedy back.

When it comes to fighting the culture of death you keep up a constant barage, damn the torpedo's and full speed ahead. If the liberals waited for the right time to push for gay marriage they'd be waiting for 100 years.

The more of this stuff that happens, the greater the stigma to abortion. Its hard to support something that states are making illegal.

 
At 2/23/2006 9:40 AM, Blogger Rick Lugari said...

I'm inclined to echo the sentiments that it's premature and dangerous, but even if it were to come before the court now, I wonder if it might be possible to get the votes needed.

You guys are far more knowledgable about this stuff than I, but I wonder if Souter and Kennedy are actually locks for a pro-Roe decision. When nominated they were viewed as being anti-Roe, but once they got on the liberal court and were rubbing shoulders with the "leftist elite", they abandoned principle. The indication being that they are not ideologues and maybe at the heart of things they are weak and followers.

Now the strong personalities and "in crowd" are originalists/constructionists. Maybe the one or both of those may surprise us. I wouldn't expect them to write the decision on an important anti-Roe case, but they might just vote that way.

 
At 2/23/2006 10:44 AM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

I pray that you're right, Rick. But I'm not so sure that the Court is further to the right now than it was when Casey was decided.

Alito will be more conservative than O'Connor, but O'Connor wasn't a flaming lefty and, in fact, outside of abortion and Establishment Clause cases, was a judicial conservative.

Roberts is probably a wash with Rehnquist, but will likely be less ideologically conservative than the late Chief Justice.

Breyer is less liberal than Blackmun, but Ginsberg is far more liberal than Byron White (one of only 2 Justices, along with Rehnquist, who voted against both Roe and Casey).

Plus, Kennedy and Souter, if anything, have shown a greater proclivity to drift toward the left in the last few years.

So, I'm not so sure there will be such a rightward pull for those 2, as you are hoping for.

 
At 2/24/2006 4:11 PM, Blogger Publius said...

I don't see Kennedy, barring a Damascus road experience, voting to overturn Roe even if he were just a superfluous sixth or seventh vote. He certainly won't be the fifth vote.

As for Souter, he's changed a whole lot since he was appointed, far more than Kennedy or O'Connor. He's now a full-fledged liberal and very arguably more liberal than Breyer. If Hell freezes over he might vote to overturn Roe but not before.

 
At 2/24/2006 4:19 PM, Blogger Jay Anderson said...

The only thing I'll disagree with you on, Publius, is your statement that Souter has changed a lot since getting on the Court.

I think he was always a closeted liberal that Warren Rudman was able to sneak by us.

 
At 3/10/2006 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This same battle was fought nearly a century ago by nurse Margaret Saenger whose mother was killed by 17 pregnancies, and Mary Ware Daring whose third child nearly killed her and sent her husband into adultery. The religious fundies they fought even opposed pain killers for labor pains. Imagine caesarians without anesthesia! Women need to talk graphically about the countless horrors like marriage-ruining smelly bladder and bowel tears that require adult diapers! 30-50% of all U.S. moms suffer such incontinence--why do you think so many Repugs cheat and divorce? Moreover, fundies ignore their own coffee, alcohol, tobacco, mercury, radiation, and age-induced miscarriages that, by their own standards, deserve last rites and funeral masses. To drive that hypocrisy home, we should go through their garbage and stage public funerals for the tampons of know-it-all "prolifers." I called one such Catholic biddy and asked about funerals for her "sanitary napkin babies." She exploded and hung up. What's good for the petri dish is good for the tampon. Randall Terry needs to be harrassed about his adultery and his new broodmare's coffee abortions. I suggested years ago to an embryo stem cell research advocate that "prolifers" would rescue petri dishes instead of real people from burning buildings. Saddam should have surrounded Bagdad with fertility clinic petri dishes to avert the Shock and Awe! Dems should introduce "gotcha laws"--like criminalizing fathers, pols, and priests whose imposed childbirths maim or murder mothers. Imagine politicians, pedophile priests, and the wife-dumping adulterer Randall Terry doing life for every woman killed in childbirth??? Imagine adulterous Repug Congressman Don Sherwood doing 5 years because his wife wears Depends diapers from childbirth! Viagra should be banned for single men. Married users should have their names published, in case their wives aren't getting any, but the mistresses are. Viagra prescriptions should come with waiting periods and pamphlets with ugly pictures of breast and face cancers caused by pregnancy. Pro-choicers should hire cheater decoys to catch adulterous Repugs on camera. Dems should ban non-procreative ejaculations by anti-choice men and coffee-drinking by their ugly broodmares. Vagina cop Judy Brown of American Life League should be harrassed about her funding by pedophiles, marching orders by Nazi genocider Pope Paul VI who funded the slaughter of 500,000 non-Catholic "sinner" Serb Christians in 1942, and her slut daughter. Dems should ban pain killers for Repug childbirths because that's how "God punished Eve." Women should go on a global birth strike to avoid childbirth bladder and bowel injuries, related cancers, and to thwart pedophile priests. Send "prolifers" to jail for the next woman murdered by childbirth! Jesus never condemned the RU-486-like weed harvested by his women followers because it saved them from embarrassing leaky bladder and bowel divorces and death. Christianity was quickly hijacked by pedophiles and Scott Petersons who relied on killer fetuses to get rid of inconvenient wives,

 

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