The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Kerry and the judges: a clarification

Regular readers will identify two themes of the blog as caveat lector and an aversion to breaking news.

Apparently, John Kerry had scarcely made his rash comments on judicial appointments (my May 20 piece) than he'd clarified them.

The San Francisco Chronicle (May 22) says
Kerry clarified his position in a written statement shortly after Wednesday's interview, saying he "would not appoint anyone to the Supreme Court who would undo (the) right'' to have an abortion.

But he did not rule out the appointment of anti-abortion judges to lower federal courts...

The statement isn't on the Kerry site list of press releases.

It's an unsatisfactory formulation, designed to get Kerry out of his immediate jam. (Which, perhaps, it does.) But, for example, his Supreme Court quote assumes that Roe is a black-and-white issue. And we've seen that the anti-abortion approach has been limited but progressive - in partial birth abortion laws, state and Federal, for instance - rather than any Pickett's Charge against Roe itself.

And, as for lower courts, that's where almost all the action is: perhaps he's thinking of appointing a lone anti to the Red Ninth on which he'd be guaranteed to be in a minority on the issue. Or perhaps to trade a couple of antis to create a majority anti circuit [1] in exchange for a pro replacement Supreme.

The speculation, presumably, was meant to attract antis to the Kerry camp, perhaps indirectly address the Catholic communion thing.

Even in the revised formulation, it sounds to me like the half-baked notion of a bright spark that wiser heads should have squelched.

  1. If the state abortion laws were generous in the states covered by the circuit, then women wouldn't need Roe. Sounds fine in theory...

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