Via Media

Via Media

Does this have to be a problem!

Of course it doesn’t!

Oh, but of course it does…

Nevertheless, this op-ed tries to bring reason into the Roberts debate:

Given those figures, it seems that if Judge Roberts did find Roe to be law in need of revision, he would not be out of step with most Americans, but in fact representative of the mainstream, 75 percent majority opinion.

Nevertheless, Leahy and others are attempting to paint Roberts and any other Supreme Court candidate who may not have a pro-abortion or at least pro-Roe track record as being radical or somehow out of the mainstream.

While this doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense, it fits well with a national debate in which the debaters can’t even agree on mutual terms or definitions, and logic is as subject to the same casually shifting morphology as the meaning of the words it’s built from.

From Ernesto Burden, who wrote the piece, and has a blog, too.

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posted August 8, 2005 at 12:00 am

The exact same poll shows 59% of the public saying Roe is a “good thing” Don’t ask me why, but it’s true. The public is weird. You get contradictory responses to polls all the time, but that one’s rather glaring.
Other polls show a 63% and 65% majority in support of Roe.
Both sides tend to tell half the story as far as the public’s opinion on abortion.
There is a very large majority who believes that opposing Roe should not disqualify you from the Supreme Court, and a still larger majority who believes that supporting Roe should not disqualify you from the Supreme Court.
As far as the Democrats, to the extent that they decide to go after Roberts, I am 95% sure they will go after him not about Roe, but about Griswold. This isn’t based on any inside information (hah), just a very strong hunch as well as some of the statements of the Democrats on judiciary. The recent political opposition to Plan B, which works the same way as the birth control pill, makes an argument that opponents of abortion also want to outlaw contraception & politicians will go along with it much more plausible than it has been for years. I mean, George Pataki isn’t even pro-life. And I’m sure the Democrats would much rather be seen as the party defending married couples’ access to birth control pills than the party of abortion on demand. It’s not just cynical either; there are very good arguments for a constitutional right to privacy that you can accept while rejecting Roe, and some people who are deeply ambivalent or outright opposed to abortion are not at all ambivalent about oral contraception (which they do not regard as abortofacient.)
If Roberts doesn’t oppose Griswold, the Democrats will probably let him sail through.

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posted August 8, 2005 at 12:22 am

(it’s still a good article though.)

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Donald R. McClarey

posted August 8, 2005 at 6:19 am

Of course, the best long term “poll” about what the public thinks about Roe is the fate of the two political parties in this country since Roe in 1973. Democrats, the largely pro-Roe party, were the majority party by a large margin in 1973 and the Republicans, the largely anti-Roe party, were the minority party. Now, after many election cycles in which Roe is a perennial issue, the Republican Party is the majority party by a small margin, and the Democrat party is back to minority status for the first time since the New Deal. Did the positions of the parties on Roe account for all of this? Of course not. However the evidence is stark that a political party can be anti-Roe and prosper while a political party can be pro-Roe and decline. It should also be recalled that during this same period the Mainstream Media has been overwhelmingly pro-Roe, a substantial advantage, one would think, to the pro-Roe party.

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posted August 8, 2005 at 6:43 pm

“The exact same poll shows 59% of the public saying Roe is a “good thing” Don’t ask me why, but it’s true. The public is weird.”
Perhaps in this case a simple explanation might be that 59% of the public isn’t sure what the practical effect of Roe has been. Many believe that Roe imposes strict limits on abortion. That’s why they can express support for Roe in the same poll they express support for stricter controls on abortion.

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