F.R. Duplantier reporting Behind The Headlines
Week of:
September 17, 2000
Who Will Appoint the Next Justices?

F.R. Duplantier

by: F.R. Duplantier

"The judicial usurpation of the legislative process is almost complete."

"The Supreme Court decision striking down Nebraska's partial-birth abortion law fails to recognize that states have a legitimate constitutional interest in enacting laws that draw a bright line between abortion and infanticide," declares Louisiana Special Assistant Attorney General Dorinda Bordlee. "Even more disturbing than the Supreme Court's partial-birth abortion decision itself," she contends, "is its lack of candor with the American people."

To the many "well-intentioned state legislators who seek to draft new partial-birth laws designed to survive Supreme Court scrutiny," Dorinda Bordlee says, don't bother. "At least until the composition of the Court changes," she asserts, "any redrafted law would be futile and meaningless at best. . . . Like every one of the 30 partial-birth abortion bans nationwide, the Nebraska law had an exception for the woman's life," Bordlee observes. "However, the Court struck down the Nebraska law because it did not have an exception for the woman's 'health.'" She points out that "'health' in the abortion context is simply a code word for abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy, and now even through the process of birth itself."

The health exception "means that a doctor can perform a partial-birth abortion on a healthy baby of a healthy mother who may find the late-term pregnancy just too emotionally stressful," Bordlee explains. "The Court majority," she summarizes, "has usurped the political process that resulted in 30 state laws by dictating that the states can enact a partial-birth abortion ban only if it contains an exception for any reason or no reason."

Bordlee views the Court's partial-birth abortion decision as "just one example of a dangerous trend in American political life that of quietly yielding to the Court and surrendering our system of self-government to a group of nine unelected lawyers. Every major cultural decision made by the people of our great nation is now invalid unless stamped with the imprimatur of the Supreme Court," she concludes. "Partial-birth abortion bans in over 30 states expressing the will of the vast majority of the American people are brushed aside as mere suggestions simply because five unelected lawyers disagree." Advising against the enactment of "futile legislation," Bordlee recommends "putting an end to this unjust judicial activism by exercising our power at the polls."

Remember, when Ronald Reagan was President, how the excuse for every Republican defeat in the battle to roll back government and restore traditional values was Democratic control of Congress? And how, during the Clinton years, with the GOP finally in control of the legislative branch, every failure has been blamed on an opposition President? Not that these aren't legitimate excuses -- the Democrats are, after all, singularly self-serving and obstructionist -- but the facile fatalism of Republican leaders does lead one to question their sincerity and determination. Wouldn't it be nice then, just once, to have a Republican House and Senate and a Republican President? Then there could be no excuses. They would either make good on their promises or expose themselves, once and for all, as frauds.

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