July 29, 2005

Let's Have The Answers

Andrew C. McCarthy agrees with Sen. Schumer that John Roberts should tell us his views on Roe v. Wade, among other things:

If you think Roe is good law, if you think it was well reasoned, if you think it reached the correct result, then you are basically saying that you think it is proper for a handful of lawyers, bereft of compelling precedent, and without competence in dynamic and relevant disciplines like medical technology (while unable institutionally to become competent by holding hearings like Congress does), to impose their policy preferences on the American people, and thus insulate those policy preferences from the democratic process.

Unfortunately, opportunity for reasoned debate on Roe has been overwhelmed by the disingenuous rights-rhetoric of the Left, abetted by the Right’s self-defeating complicity. In the current clime, saying “I think Roe was incorrectly decided,” reduces the declarant to a caricature Cro-Magnon who would have “women forced into back-alley abortions,” as Senator Ted Kennedy (D., Mass.) slanderously said of Judge Robert Bork nearly two decades ago.

In fact, all the statement really means is that the decision whether and under what circumstances to permit abortion — like every other issue the Constitution does not speak to directly — should be in the capable hands of Americans and the politicians accountable to them, rather than the judiciary. It is baffling that, in an age of judicial excess, conservatives continue to slog away in the abortion box rather than offering a different, resonant way for people who care about self-determination to think about Roe.

I don’t much care what Judge Roberts thinks about abortion. If Roe were reversed tomorrow, there would still be plenty of abortion. But it would be regulated by the people, not the judges. I would need to care about what Judge Roberts thinks of abortion about as much as I currently need to care what Justice Ginsburg or Justice Scalia thinks the drinking age in Connecticut should be — which is to say, not at all, because it’s frankly none of their business. That’s not what we hired them for.

But I care deeply what Judge Roberts thinks of Roe — because I care deeply about how he perceives the task of judging on the nation’s highest court.

Posted by dan at July 29, 2005 9:57 PM