Senate Democrats, visibly frustrated over their inability to extract a confession from Judge Samuel Alito that he would definitely vote to overrule Roe vs. Wade, further jeopardizing a woman's "right" to terminate her baby's life, have resorted to abject smear tactics.
Though Alito's record, demeanor and reputation bespeak of an extraordinarily humble, decent, ethical and scholarly man, senators Kennedy, Schumer and Co. have strained to convince us he is an unethical rogue, among other things.
Aside from their pathetic attempts to taint him with the now familiar Vanguard, Concerned Alumni of Princeton and 10-year-old strip-searching red herrings, Alito's circumspection over the abortion question drives them batty. It really frosts them that -- in the words of Saint Theodore -- "He didn't back away one inch from his (1985) statement that a woman's right to make her own reproductive decision is not protected under the Constitution."
Sen. Chuck Schumer was similarly exasperated, pressing Alito on how he could answer without hesitation that the right to free speech is in the Constitution but demur on whether the "right to choose" is.
But with an equal absence of hesitation, Alito enlightened Schumer that the right to free speech and press, as distinguished from the so-called right to an abortion, were expressly guaranteed in the First Amendment.
This dubious constitutional "right" ultimately owes its genesis to certain nebulous language of Justice William Douglas in the 1965 case of Griswold vs. Connecticut. In Griswold, Douglas divined that "specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance. Various guarantees create zones of privacy."
It's much harder for me to comprehend Schumer's failure to see a dramatic distinction between the two sets of "rights" -- those of expression versus that of abortion -- than Judge Alito's recognition of the distinction. If anyone should have registered incredulity in that exchange, it is Judge Alito.
Indeed, it's counterintuitive to categorize a woman's "right" to abortion as flowing from her right to privacy since that formulation ignores the right of the baby, let alone the father. But couching this "right" in terms of privacy allows its proponents to perpetuate the illusion that a woman's decision to terminate innocent life growing inside her is as purely exclusive to her and inconsequential to anyone else as, say, her decision to undergo plastic surgery.
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