Those law school professors sure are a caution, aren't they? They sometimes say the zaniest things. A professor by the name of Marci Hamilton, for example, claims that the Stupak amendment to the House Healthcare Reform Bill is unconstitutional. The Stupak amendment effectively rules out the use of taxpayer money to subsidize abortions. Professor Hamilton offers the following as one reason for thinking that this measure violates the Constitution:
First, the [Stupak] Amendment violates the Constitution's separation of church and state. The anti-abortion movement is plainly religious in motivation, and its lobbyists and spokespersons represent religious groups, as is illustrated by the fact that the most visible lobbyists in the Stupak Amendment's favor have been the Catholic Bishops. This is a brazen and frank attempt to impose a minority's religious worldview on the entirety of American healthcare. (A majority of Americans have favored a woman's right to choose for many years.)
Set aside the dubiety of the parenthetical remark. What she says in the rest of the quote could also be said of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as John Pitney reminds us at National Review Online:
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference, along with other religious leaders and groups, led the fight for [the Civil Rights Act's] enactment. "We needed the help of the clergy, and this was assiduously encouraged," said Senator Hubert Humphrey. "I have said a number of times, and I repeat it now, that without the clergy, we couldn't have possibly passed this bill."
Sen. Richard B. Russell of Georgia, a segregationist, agreed with Humphrey that the clergy were the bill's most visible lobbyists, but he was not happy about it. He complained that the clergy were using "powers of the Federal Government to coerce the people into accepting their views under threat of dire punishment" - a "philosophy of coercion" that he compared to the doctrines of Torquemada "in the infamous days of the Spanish Inquisition."
Now, let's ask Ms Hamilton whether anyone in her circle of friends and colleagues thinks the Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional. I doubt that she could find anyone who does, yet the logic of her objection to Stupak certainly leads to that conclusion. Pitney goes on to quote another constitutional lawyer who vigorously disagrees with the position staked out by Ms Hamilton:
[S]ecularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
This is exactly right. The lawyer who wrote it was Barack Obama.RLC