Friday, July 01, 2005

Interest Groups Gear Up For Supreme Court Battle

Interest groups are mobilized and ready for the battle over the next Supreme Court justice.

People for the American Way, which set up a war room specifically for the Supreme Court battle in downtown Washington, immediately sent out thousands of e-mails to its supporters and was setting up phone banks to make calls around the nation to build up support for Senate Democrats.

"The American people must be part of this great debate over our future," president Ralph Neas said.

MoveOn PAC immediately announced a cable television they would spend $280,000, a realtively small amount, in Maine, Nebraska, South Carolina, Virginia, New York City and Washington, D.C., trying to discourage Bush from picking a strict conservative.

"Will George Bush pick an extremist who will threaten our rights?" the commercial asks.

Pro-choice groups like Planned Parenthood, already are scheduling rallies around the nation to push President Bush to not choose a hard-right conservative for O'Connor's seat. "With so much at stake, Planned Parenthood will be on the frontlines of the Supreme Court battles to ensure women's health is protected," said interim president Karen Pearl.

"Progress for America stands ready to defend whomever President Bush nominates from the Left's character assassination campaign," said Brian McCabe, PFA's president. "The president's nominee deserves real consideration not instant attacks."

Progress for America has already said it expects to spend $18 million to get Bush's nominee confirmed to the Supreme Court, and has already started running television and radio ads around the nation.

Is this unprecedented? When did a Supreme Court nomination become a battle before a nominee is even selected? Part of me (o.k. most of me) is hoping the President picks a solid candidate that 90+ Senators can easily confirm so that all these partisan groups can go spend their millions on more useful pursuits.

A lot of people are relishing the political battle ahead. I’m not. I mean, Planned Parenthood is already saying they are fighting to ensure that “women’s health is protected.” No they’re not. They’re fighting to keep the right to abortion constitutionally guaranteed. But I guess their consultants have told them that framing the issue as “women’s health” will sell better.

I'm only picking on Planned Parenthood because their quote so blatantly revealed an atempt to spin the issue. I expect similar spin from both sides. Facts will be twisted and the English language will be abused all in the name of—of what? Of influencing the judicial branch, I suppose. It’s going to be a storm of propaganda that will cloud the summer. Unless, of course, reason prevails.

We can only hope.

For some great coverage of this issue, visit Charging RINO.

6 Comments:

At 5:38 PM, Blogger Ted Carmichael said...

Alan said: "...Planned Parenthood is already saying they are fighting to ensure that “women’s health is protected.” No they’re not."

Actually, they are ... sort of. As I understand it, any law that restricts partial birth abortion (the most current challenges to Roe) is struck down if it doesn't allow the procedure for protecting "the health of the mother." In other words, that decision is left in the hands of the doctor, not the legislature.

The latest law to reach the Supreme Court only allowed this procedure for protecting "the life of the mother." It was struck down (5 to 4) as being too strick, a decision that hindged on the finding that "significant medical authority supports the proposition that in some circumstances, [partial birth abortion] would be the safest procedure."

The most recent federal ban disagrees with the Supreme Court, and declares that partial birth abortion is never medically necessary to preserve the health of the mother. It was quickly struck down in New York, California, and Nebraska, but has not yet reached the Supreme Court on appeal. So it is on this ban that a swing vote could be said to protect the mother's health.

 
At 6:03 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Ted,

Point taken. But that's still spin given that only 3% of abortions are conducted due to maternal health reasons (another 3% for fetal health and 1% because of rape/incest--in case you were curious--source is Second Look Project.

Planned Parenthood I'm sure is very concerned with that 3% but they're also concerned with that 97%. They're taking the most popular fraction of their position and using it to define their mission. But that's spinning the truth. They support the constitutional right to abortion--and they support legalize abortion for all reasons, of which maternal health is one important but minute reason.

Why not just come out and say they're for legal abortion?

 
At 6:29 PM, Blogger Jdeer165 said...

Leaving the abortion issue for another day...all these special interest groups are well funded and energized. They've been planning this fight since Bush won in 2000. The liberal groups see everything Bush does as evil and the conservatives will go balistic if he tries to pick a more moderate nominee.

I think if this had happened in Bush's first term he would've picked the most conservative nominee he could find. However, since he won't be running for office again he doesn't need to pander to the far Right groups and can nominate who he feels to be the most qualified. So I'm hopeful we'll get a nominee who bases decisions on the law and the Constitution rather than an agenda.

But even assuming he picks someone who is only slightly right of Center this is going to get ugly. The way things are in Washington neither side wants to give an inch. They were begging for a fight back when it was just Appelate Court nominees and were HUGELY disappointed when the 14 Senators compromised. They won't accept that again.

 
At 7:00 PM, Blogger Ted Carmichael said...

Alan - I didn't know maternal health issues was 3% of abortions ... I actually thought it was less than that. As to Planned Parenthood not supporting Roe ... is that actually on the table? Even without O'Conner's vote, I assumed the right to abortion was solid. I just thought the fight was more along the periphery issues ... partial-birth, parental consent, organized protests ... that sort of thing.

As far as the other comments, it is very hard these days to determine what "right-of-center" actually means. In my mind, a conservative appointee would be someone who strickly interprets the constitution, has a healthy respect for precedent, and tends to favor state's rights and limit federal powers. But there are many instances where neo-cons want an "activist" judge rather than a conservative one - privacy protections vs. security issues, porn vs. free speech, prayer in schools, extending the commerce clause, etc.

As a Southern Democrat with a libertarian streak, I would tend to favor a conservative justice in the traditional sense. But President Bush has shown no inclination to garner support from across the aisle, and his neo-con reputation is pretty disturbing. I seriously doubt he will make any effort to gain democrat support in his choice here.

 
At 10:10 PM, Blogger Alan Stewart Carl said...

Ted, Roe v. Wade could be at stake depending on how Justice Kennedy feels about the matter these days. The last time abortion reached the Supreme Court, O'Connor was the swing vote that preserved Roe. But Kennedy has seemingly drifted leftward in recent years and could very well uphold Roe.

Mother's health is really only a minor side issue. What planned Parenthood is fighting for is Roe itself. Of course, without the Democrats controlling the White House or the Senate, I wonder what proponents of Roe can do other than support a filibuster.

 
At 10:41 PM, Blogger Sean said...

The reason the left gets angry with Bush, is because they keep expecting the wrong things from him. Bush does exactly what he says. He would be a fool not to nominate a strict constructionist to the court, at the least a true conservative. Why shouldnt he? If a President cannot nominate a conservative with a Rep controlled senate, then when is it appropriate? Clinton nominated Ginsburg to a seat held by a more moderate justice.

First. Striking down Roe. v. wade will only make it a state issue. It will not end legal abortions in America.

second. Many legal scholars, of all political persuasions, admit that Roe v. Wade stands on weak grounds, and another case is needed.

third. You do not create a litmus test for Justices. sorry, but it is improper and short sighted.

fourth. regarding womens health. what about the damage done to many women by the abortion procedure. I know women who cannot have children, due to their abortion procedures.
In other words, arguing partial birth abortion as a women's health issue, is pretty weak.

 

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