The Supreme Court, Abortion Jurisprudence, and Pro-Life Politics

Monday, May 17, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

Solicitor General Elena Kagan, President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, is already being painted as a moderate by the media and some political interest groups. This portrayal of Kagan is difficult to dispute comprehensively because of her lack of a public record and accompanying statements that delineate her actual personal views on judicial philosophy, thus, complicating the venture of placing her on an ideological spectrum. 

Despite this hermeneutical difficulty, allegedly confident political portraits have been made with the details that we do know about Elena Kagan. The New York Times on May 11 published a piece—“As Clinton Aide, Kagan Recommended Tactical Support for an Abortion Ban”—by Peter Baker discussing a memorandum authored by Kagan while she was working for the Clinton Administration. Kagan in the memo counseled President Clinton to support an amendment, authored by Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), to Republican-sponsored legislation to ban partial-birth abortion that would include an exception for the “health” of the pregnant women in a ban—so broad an exception that it could be easily employed as a loophole that would prevent few, if any, partial-birth abortion procedures.

President Clinton and his advisors (in this case, Kagan) anticipated that the Daschle amendment would not secure enough votes to pass, but White House support could provide enough political cover for Democratic lawmakers who could reiterate their alleged support of the partial-birth abortion ban, but justify their vote against it because of the lack of inclusion of the broad “health” exception for the pregnant woman. In the end, the Daschle amendment failed and the Republican-sponsored partial-birth abortion ban, endorsed by the National Right to Life, was successfully sent to President Clinton who consequently vetoed it.  Kagan’s advice to the President was successful and held up the passage of a partial-birth abortion ban for six years.

Douglas Johnson, the legislative director of the National Right to Life, before a joint-hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and the Constitution Subcommittee of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in 1997 said:

“The Clinton-Daschle proposal is a political construct, designed to provide political cover for lawmakers who want to appear to their constituents as if they have voted to restrict partial-birth abortions, while actually voting for a hollow measure that is not likely to prevent a single partial-birth abortion, and which therefore is inoffensive to the pro-abortion lobby.”

In other words, a better reading of the facts is not that Kagan is “in the middle” on abortion, but rather she was advising President Clinton of the pragmatic steps (endorsing a pseudo-ban on partial birth abortion) needed to defeat the actual pro-life measure. Kagan may very well be a “legal progressive” as was recently claimed from the White House defending the nominee from the political left suspicious of her liberal credentials. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nuns, Habits, Disobedience, and Mortal Sin

Monday, May 17, 2010 \PM\.\Mon\.

I was reading Father Peter M.J. StravinskasThe Catholic Answer Book a few weeks ago and on page 173 I was surprised to read that all religious are required to wear their religious garb as a symbol of their vow of poverty.

I looked up and found in Canon Law that Father Stravinskas is absolutely and clearly correct on this:

Canon 669 §1 As a sign of their consecration and as a witness to poverty, religious are to wear the habit of their institute, determined in accordance with the institute’s own law.

§2 Religious of a clerical institute who do not have a special habit are to wear clerical dress, in accordance with canon 284.

In fact the Vatican, ie, the Sacred Congregation for Religious, routinely reject religious constitutions that do not have this requirement.

Meaning when you see a nun or a priest not wearing their habit/clericals they are in open disobedience to the Catholic Church and thus in mortal sin[1].

Read the rest of this entry »


Christian Versus Christian on Ultrasound Law

Monday, May 17, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

In this past Sunday’s Florida Today editorial page “letters to the editor”, there was an interesting juxtaposition of letters taking radically different sides on the debate in Florida over an Ultrasound requirement for women seeking abortions.  The bill is currently awaiting Gov. Charlie Crist’s signature- which is anything but guaranteed. Read the rest of this entry »


Can You Trust Kant?

Monday, May 17, 2010 \AM\.\Mon\.

As can be seen by the above anti-Kant attack ad put out by the Friedrich Nietzsche campaign, the battle of the philosophers has entered into a whole new arena.  American Catholic contacted the Kant campaign for a response and we received the video below.  I am sure some of readers will be able to translate it for me.

We also received this video unsolicited from the Kierkegaard campaign, although it appears to be recycled from their unsuccessful campaign in 2008:

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