Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's All About The Timing With Abortion

First of all, I was scrolling through the top stories sites on Yahoo! in order to find the article regarding the Supreme Court's decision to back the federal ban on partial birth abortion and I couldn't find it. I scrolled through stuff about the crazy dude who killed all the people, Alberto Gonzales testifying, A-Rod hitting a walk off HR (he's on fire, by the way), and what Sanjaya's plans are after American Idol, but the abortion story was not on the fron page. I had to search the news section in order to find the article. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Anyhow, I like the title of this post. It works on a lot of levels and that's pleasing. I guess my point, really, is that it's pretty interesting that this case came down so soon after Bush's repacking of the court (yes, I know it's not actually court packing, for those semantic sticklers). I wonder if there was an effort to hold it back in lower courts and what not in order for the new court to hear this case. I couldn't find the evidence, but apparently there was a very similar case regarding partial birth abortion when good old Sandra Day was on the court and her deciding vote made it 5-4 in favor of not restricting abortion rights. Now she's gone, and Alito is the new O'Connor, and all of a sudden the vote goes the other way.

I'm interested in the Supreme Court essentially hearing this case twice. I mean, if they heard a case about partial birth abortion in the past, isn't this established law? Constitutional experts? (That's you, Side Bar.) It seems like the Supreme Court doesn't have any rules. They can just do whatever the fuck they want. And when the other branches of government fuck up, they're the ones who preside over the hearings and what not. That's a pretty fucking good job. There's lot's of fucks in those last three sentences. Probably unnecessary. My point, though, is that why can they hear this case again? Or at least one that seems similar. They get to choose what cases they hear so obviously they could choose to throw this away saying that they had already ruled on that matter, but instead they chose to hear the case since it was more favorable for the conservative cause.

I am fascinated that this seems to be something people get really fired up about. I'm not sure why people want to go all out of their way the intrude on other people's lives. If you don't believe in abortion, then don't have abortions. And that's it. If someone decides to have an abortion, then, well, I guess it's irresponsible, but I guess you can justify it as just an extreme form of birth control. I'm not really a fan of abortion, but I'm also not presumptuous enough to name myself someone else's moral arbiter. If you want to think less of someone because they had an abortion, then I guess that's your right. But if you want to kill the doctor or firebomb the clinic, then you really just need to find something better to do with your time.

Also worth mentioning is that the people who are all fired up about being pro-life are the same people who complain about single mothers on welfare and kicking them off the dole. It's like, "hey fuck you...and did I mention fuck you?"

I'm rambling, I meant to talk more about the case. Isn't there a rule or something that specifies when they can and can't rehear cases?


Joe said...

"I am fascinated that this seems to be something people get really fired up about. I'm not sure why people want to go all out of their way the intrude on other people's lives. If you don't believe in abortion, then don't have abortions. And that's it."

To someone who's Pro-Life, that's like saying "If you don't believe in child abuse, then don't abuse your own kids. And that's it."

To them, a fetus is a human life. And abortion is the murder of that human life.

And we are arbiters all the time when one person takes another person's life.

It's not so hard to see why Pro-Lifers get so riled up, if you begin with the same premises as they do.

It's All About The Premises With Abortion.

Side Bar said...

Yeah, I actually agree with Joe. Just because I don't get fired up about people having abortion doesn't mean they don't have a legitimate gripe (albeit one I disagree with). I get mad fired up about the death penalty, but people in Texas sleep just fine.

As for your question about the S. Ct. rehearing the same case, it is not (of course) the exact same case. The parties are different, and the facts are different (even in only in a negligible fashion). But more generally, yes, the S. Ct. can re-take a case that presents the same question of law as a previous case. When you want the Supreme Court to take an appeal from either a Federal appellate court or the highest court of a particular state, you make a motion of a writ of certiorari, and if 4 justices agree, then the case gets heard.

As a general rule, though, the Court is supposed to apply existing law (stare decisis, the "decision stands" or something like that). Of course, they either find ways to distinguish an earlier case so as to get the result they want (common) or just come right out and say that an earlier case was wrong or bad or stupid, and they aren't following it (less common).

I think we should be careful complaining about the Court re-hearing so-called "settled law." As a progressive society, that mechanic whereby the Court can revisit an issue has been used more often (in my un-scientific estimation) to undue bad shit than to fuck up good shit.