Wednesday, October 5, 2005

It's the RINOs' Fault

No Left Turns' Julie Ponzi makes the point that if conservatives are unhappy with Bush's pick for the Supreme Court they shouldn't blame Bush they should blame the Quisling Republicans in the Senate:

And finally, if we really want to pick a fight with someone, why not take it to the spineless Republicans in the Senate whose shameful behavior in the last year has given us this moment? One might ask WHY Bush feels the need to play politics right now instead of complaining about the fact that he does. The Senate is why. We all know the Senate is why. Voinovich and DeWine--Ohio's two senators--are why. We need to do something about that before before we demand more of Bush. To do less is peevish and, worse, it hurts our cause. We will get another shot at it. The problem is that I think the people we most want to get the next nomination will be so tainted by the support of these childish rants that they won't be taken seriously. Too bad.

Quite so. Bush chooses to avoid a fight because he's not sure he can win it if he has to rely on RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) like Chafee, Snowe, Specter, Collins, as well as weak knees like Voinovich and DeWine. We, too, wish he would have selected a known quantity and that we'd have the fight the Democrats keep pushing us into, but we can't join with those conservatives who are essentially proclaiming that they just don't trust Bush to make a wise selection to the Court. For perhaps sound reasons he's chosen someone he believes he knows well, and there is some reason to expect that Ms Miers will vote with the Court's conservatives. Whether she has as solid an understanding of the constitution as an Antonin Scalia is much more uncertain but will no doubt become more clear at the hearings.

We understand conservative frustration and disappointment, but we think that people like William Kristol and George Will, who have excoriated the President for his selection of Ms. Miers, might well wind up looking foolish in the backlight of their harsh words. We'll see.

Uh, Oh. Not a <i>Christian</i>!

From the New York Times comes this shocking revelation about Harriet Miers:

"I think the one thing that comes across is she genuinely cares about people, at every level - professionally, personally, socially," said Hugh Hackney, a lawyer in Dallas who has known her since their undergraduate days at S.M.U. "She has always taken a great deal of time to really consider other people."

One thing Ms. Miers shares with her boss is a deep faith. She was introduced to Valley View Christian Church in Dallas by Justice Hecht, of the Texas Supreme Court. He was an elder at the church and often plays the organ during Sunday services.

"Harriet has placed her faith in Jesus," said the Rev. Ron Key, who was the longtime pastor there until recently. "She may have been religious before, but it's become more of a priority, more of a focus of her life. She has become a strong example of what happens in a person's life when they come to the faith."

Even as you read this, urgent letters from People For the American Way and other left-liberal organizations are being delivered to blue state homes all across the country calling on concerned liberals to rise up in outrage that Bush would nominate a Christian to the Supreme Court. How dare he treat the wall of church and state with such disdain? Christian women should be in church serving pot-luck suppers. They don't belong on the Supreme Court where who knows what mischief they'll stir up. There's no telling how much harm the nation could suffer by giving that kind of power to someone whose convictions are informed by the gospel.

This is going to be an ugly fight. We can't wait.

Assisted Suicide

The first case the Supreme Court is hearing this session is whether Oregon's assisted suicide law should be allowed to stand. The Bush administration opposes it on the grounds that the federal government has final authority on how controlled substances can be used and since federal legislation prohibits the use of drugs to help people end their lives, state laws allowing doctors to prescribe lethal doses of these substances should be struck down.

There are several questions raised by this case: Is it wise to have doctors assisting people in killing themselves? If doctors should not do this why do we have doctors assist the state in executing condemned prisoners? Will allowing the state to help people die erode the value we place on life? These are all important questions, but I'm not sure that they're relevant to the Supreme Court's ultimate decision. The narrow issue is whether it is unconstitutional for the state of Oregon to allow doctors to prescribe lethal dosages of drugs when federal law forbids it. The wider issue is whether the states have the right under the constitution to permit their citizens to take their own lives under certain circumstances.

It seems that there is really only one way a conservative can consistently answer this latter question and that is to say that the states should indeed have that right. This is ultimately a state's rights matter, just like conservatives say abortion should be. It would be very difficult to argue, as conservatives do, that whether their citizens should have the right to kill their unborn children should be left to the voters of each state to decide, but that whether their citizens will have the right to kill themselves must not be left to the voters of the states.

This is not to say that laws permitting self-euthanasia, or assisted self-euthanasia, are wise or moral. It's simply to say that the decision as to whether such practices should be legally condoned should be left to the citizens of the state in the same manner conservatives believe laws on abortion should be. How it can be argued that euthanasia is a matter for the federal government to control but that Roe v. Wade should be overturned and abortion laws thrown back into the lap of state legislatures is not very clear, at least not to me.