Show and Tell at the Supreme Court

The most important development this year affecting the welfare of unborn babies is Supreme Court vacancies. Court watchers predict Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, will attempt to serve out the remainder of the court’s term and then retire. If the latest prediction is correct, we will see a vacancy about the end of June when the court’’s term traditionally ends.

It’’s impossible to overstate the Supreme Court’s impact on the lives of preborn babies. In 1973, the Court circumvented the laws of most states that protected this vulnerable segment of society. It declared that abortion-on-demand, for any reason throughout pregnancy, was a right to privacy secured in the constitution. Since then, over 45 million babies have died.

Because of the Court’’s action, state and federal legislators have been severely restricted in their ability to protect unborn babies and their parents from abortion. Under the makeup of the current Supreme Court, the welfare of millions more babies looks bleak.

That’’s why many pro-lifers voted to re-elect George W. Bush. They’’re aware of the power of the presidency in appointing judges to the courts, especially our nation’’s highest court. President Bush’’s track record on appointing pro-life judicial nominees has been outstanding. Unfortunately, pro-abortion Democrat Senators have led a filibuster against up or down votes on many of these sterling nominees. They have imposed a pro-abortion litmus test on the President and our nation.

A recent Supreme Court ruling dramatically underscores what type of justices should be on the Court, as well as who shouldn’’t be there now.

Last month, the Court ruled in Roper vs. Simmons that it was unconstitutional for a state to use the death penalty for murderers under 18 years of age. I’’m NOT arguing for or against their ultimate decision. What I find alarming is how the majority came to their conclusion. It should also worry millions of people who think unborn babies should be protected from the violence of abortion.

The majority opinion was authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who made the case for their decision. He said it was necessary to refer to the “evolving standards of decency.” Further, Kennedy wrote, ““It is proper that we acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion.”

It will ultimately be devastating to our nation to have Supreme Court justices who, before ruling, first check with the prevailing opinion of European countries or rely on evolving standards of decency.

Justice Kennedy wrote that their decision is confirmed by the fact the US is the only country in the world allowing the death penalty for juveniles. What’’s his point? The Court’’s job isn’’t to stick its finger in the air and see which way the global political winds are blowing. Every justice took a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The constitution isn’’t a living, evolving document. It’’s carved in stone until the people, not judges, amend it.

Not everyone agreed with the majority’’s reasoning. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the dissenting opinion. He noted that only 15 years ago the Court ruled capital punishment for juveniles was constitutional. Kennedy voted with the majority then. Scalia’’s point in bringing that up was this: how could the Court possibly decide that the Constitution had changed? Directly relating to abortion, Scalia compared the Court’’s rulings against parental involvement laws protecting minors from abortion with Roper. He wrote, “”Whether to obtain an abortion is surely a much more complex decision for a young person than whether to kill an innocent person in cold blood.””

Scalia also wrote, “”More fundamentally, however, the basic premise of the Court’’s argument — that American law should conform to the laws of the rest of the world — ought to be rejected out of hand.” What these foreign sources ‘affirm,’ rather than repudiate, is the Justice’s’ own notion of how the world ought to be.” He ended his dissent with this final thought, “‘”Updating’ the Eighth Amendment as needed, destroys stability and makes our case law an unreliable basis for the designing of laws . . . and for action by public officials.””

It’’s tragically ironic that 4 of the 5 justices who ruled capital punishment was “cruel and unusual punishment” for juveniles previously ruled that death by partial-birth abortion for preborn juveniles was acceptable. If pulling an unborn child feet-first from her mother’’s womb and sucking out her brains doesn’’t fit the description of “cruel and unusual,” nothing will.

Again, I’’m not advocating one way or another regarding the Court’’s decision in Roper. I take exception to how the majority came to this conclusion. If the Supreme Court looks to Europe for direction on abortion as it did in this case, unborn babies don’’t stand a chance. I know from many visits “across the pond,” their laws reflect a mostly pro-abortion population.

Now that you’’ve seen a glimpse of this basic philosophy from different members of the Court, consider this: President Bush said he would appoint Supreme Court justices who will strictly interpret the constitution, not legislate from the bench. The President has often cited Justice Scalia as a model justice. Roper vs. Simmons provides us an excellent opportunity to understand possibly why a majority of the justices are pro-abortion, and how important the President’’s criteria are for future Court appointments.

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