Monday, January 22, 2007

A Very Merry Unbirthday!

That title is probably in bad taste, but I can't think of anything else for the moment. Today is the anniversary of probably the most famous and controversial Supreme Court case ever: Roe v. Wade. This year might bring a bit of a change, as Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, the case challenging the 2003 Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, is currently under submission by the Supreme Court (strangely enough, the Supremes granted cert on the companion case, Carhart, on my birthday last year).

Every court that has heard a challenge to this law, has found it unconstitutional. Congress, like the state law at issue in Stenberg v. Carhart, fails to provide an exception for the health of the mother in the Partial-Birth Abortion Act, which the Court has consistently held to be essential to pass constitutional muster. I believe it would be difficult for the Court to uphold this law so soon after Stenberg and still claim to subscribe to stare decisis. But, the conservative members of the Court might not give Roe and its progeny much weight, as Scalia and Thomas have consistently denied that abortion is protected by the Constitution. Congress also "researched" the issue, making deference to the factual findings of Congress to be a way out for uncertain judges.

Personally, I resent Congress for revisiting this issue so soon after Stenberg. It was an obvious challenge by crusading Republicans, high on their own power at the time, to out "activist" judges and denounce the judiciary. But they wrote substantially the same law as was struck down in Stenberg. I feel this way about the flag burning laws, and some of the other stuff they do up there on the hill. Why don't you balance the budget and fix our health care system (you know, things that we all agree the government should be involved in) before you start fiddling with our personal lives, ok?

No comments: