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Friday, October 21, 2005

What has one got to do with the other? Unfortunately, possibly everything.

Harriet Miers opposes abortion so much that she supports (supported?) a constitutional amendment to ban it except in the most narrow circumstances imaginable.  The problem is that this position is being used as a proxy for her likely vote on Roe v. Wade.

In a principled sense, one has nothing to do with another.  One can oppose Roe and support protection of abortion rights; and one can believe that overturning Roe would be improper and still oppose abortion rights.

Conservatives have always chided liberals for confusing policy preferences with jurisprudence; indeed, this is one of the biggest knocks on Roe.  But to the extent conservatives take the cue about a nominee's likely votes on jurisprudential questions from her policy views, aren't they doing the same thing?

Posted by Hillel Levin on October 21, 2005 at 09:39 AM in Hillel Levin | Permalink


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If one believes that there are no good jurisprudential arguments in favor of Roe and thus believes that the only reason one could favor Roe is because one favored the underlying policy, then one ought to believe that someone who rejects the underlying policy would be left without any support for Roe (there being no good jurisprudential arguments for it), and thus would oppose the decision.

If that's right, and Miers does in fact oppose Roe along these lines, then we know a bit about Miers and Roe, but not anything about Miers and her willingness to set aside her policy preferences for the constitution's choices.

Posted by: Thomas | Oct 22, 2005 12:19:03 AM

The difference is that here it's your typical non-intellectual, political conservative making the error (as you would expect him/her to). In the normal scheme of things it's the supposedly knowledgeable, supposedly intellectually-honest liberals who commit the error. It's a big difference.

Posted by: anon | Oct 21, 2005 8:04:42 PM

Should have said, "Yes & Yes" - overturn Roe and oppose abortion.

Posted by: Ruchira Paul | Oct 21, 2005 6:37:29 PM

I understand what you are saying. But those who oppose abortion AND want to overturn Roe, will say that the two scenarios you have painted is one of "Heads I win, Tails you lose", as far as they are concerned. They want the third point of view (No & No) which the president has assured them is Miers' view.

Posted by: RMP | Oct 21, 2005 6:22:21 PM

Yes. That is why Bush was slammed for trying to sell Miers as an evangelical.

Posted by: Prof. Karl | Oct 21, 2005 9:47:05 AM

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