Cal  Thomas

Two comments about law may bring some clarity to the raging debate over same-sex "marriage" and other issues that shape our destiny.

"The observance of the law is the greatest solvent of public ills." That was Calvin Coolidge in his acceptance speech for the vice presidential nomination on July 27, 1920.

About 1,900 years earlier, another commentator said, "We know that the law is good if one uses it properly " (emphasis mine). The author of that remark was Paul, the Apostle, in a letter to his young protege, Timothy (1 Timothy 1:8).

One explanation for how we arrived at the present moment when the very meaning of law and faithfulness to it are under attack is contained in the private papers of the late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun, which were opened to the public last week by the Library of Congress.

The papers reveal that rather than abiding by the Constitution, which justices and most high government officials take an oath to sustain, Blackmun believed that the historic document he had sworn to uphold could, and in his view must, be altered to reflect personal biases. What's more, Blackmun persuaded or encouraged other justices to embrace such constitutional heresies. That made Blackmun and those who joined him a law unto themselves.

Blackmun's signature work was Roe vs. Wade (1973), an example of unparalleled judicial overreach. In a 1995 videotaped oral history, Blackmun spoke about his efforts to persuade Justice Sandra Day O'Connor that the Constitution contains a "right to privacy" that extends to the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy at any time, for any reason.

"I have often suspected that Justice O'Connor has been uncomfortable . because of the possibility that she might have to become the fifth and deciding vote (if Roe vs. Wade were challenged)," Blackmun said. "She is a believer in states' rights .. On the other hand, she is a woman and may fear somewhat any accusation of being a traitor to her sex. Some women's organizations would so conclude."

A traitor to her sex? Some women's organizations? What about the growing majority of women who oppose abortion at some or all stages? What about other "women's organizations" that believe differently from the ones Blackmun cited? They did not count in his eyes. Only what the "pro-choice women" and their organizations believe mattered to him. But if the law is supposed to take precedence over cultural considerations, why should it matter what any group thinks?

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Cal Thomas' column. Sign up today and receive daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.