LA Times

“Ironically, both sides in the abortion debate can agree on this,” Northup said. “All Americans deserve to know where the next Supreme Court justice stands on Roe vs. Wade.”

I disagree. Does that mean I’m not American? Which “side” does that put me on? Americans don’t “deserve” to know anything. They will learn certain things about Sotomayor based on questions from various Senators and the distortions and snippets of her comments and decisions the media and interest groups decide to exploit. One hopes that she doesn’t take any “side” on a court decision published over thirty years ago. Her job should she receive the confirmation is to interpret the Constitution as it applies to various cases that will be presented to the court. If she’s a good judge, her feelings and opinions about various issues will remain unknown and irrelevant.

The media are too busy playing abortion football to care about details like the Constitution or federalism. There are two sides and you had better pick one or the other and then root for your team. No mention is ever made of other possibilities. This is why Ron Paul gets bewildered looks from the Joy Behars of the world.

You will notice also that my point about language in the abortion debate is exemplefied here. Opponents of abortion are “antiabortion” while proponents of it are “pro abortion rights”. Sotomayor herself calls the two “sides” of the argument “pro-choice” and “antiabortion.” Whether this is an intentional or more Freudian attempt to villify the pro-life people, it serves the abortion football objective perfectly.

Roe v. Wade is bad law. The federal government has far too many diverse constituents to be inserting itself into such a sensitive and divisive debate. There is no consensus. Smaller and more local communities should have their say without interference on the issue from the federal leviathan. Certainly the Constitution protects rights and freedoms not expressly mentioned in it but abortion is more complicated than a simple right to privacy. If a woman’s right to choose what she wants to do with her own body is so sacred, why is prostitution illegal in most states? There are other concerned and affected parties besides the mother where abortion is concerned. The father for one. There is widespread disagreement over whether the fetus is a second. Parents are a third if a minor is involved.

Unfortunately though, we’ve allowed the two rabid fringes of this debate to define the rules of engagement. Pick your team and buy the T-shirt: pro-life or pro-choice. Don’t bother to consider complicated concepts like the role of government, the powers of the judiciary or the interpretation of the Constitution. These are stupid and they aren’t helping either side win. And what could possibly be more important than winning?