Special session to pass pro-life bill is futile
May 31, 2005
Comments by Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party, that a special session of the Missouri General Assembly focused on abortion bills this September will waste taxpayers’ dollars, are truthful and appropriate based on the recent history of Missouri’s pro-life laws.
Why call a special session when no law will ever come of it?
If you are a pro-choice group like Planned Parenthood right now, you are thinking, “This is easy. We have the whole summer to prepare.”
All you have to do is find a federal judge who will strike down any piece of legislation that lawmakers come up with in September and you have achieved your goal. There will be no new pro-life law in Missouri this year.
If I am a pro-choice group, my first inclination is to ring the telephone of U.S. Circuit Court Judge Scott O. Wright of Kansas City.
“Judge Wright,” I would begin. “You have been good to us in the past. We appreciate your work on the 1999 partial-birth abortion law and the 2003 24-hour wait law. Can we count on you again in September?”
I have no idea if that type of conversation will take place this summer, but if it does, and if the deal is made, then Cardetti is right. Gov. Matt Blunt is simply wasting taxpayer money by calling the special session, because an ace – Judge Wright – beats a king – Gov. Blunt – every time.
I think a federal judge like Wright will step up to the plate and take a hefty cut at whatever state lawmakers decide to deliver in September. The result will be another victory for a federal judge. At that point, there will be no remedy for a Republican governor, a sponsoring Republican state senator or a sponsoring Republican state representative other than to wring their hands and hope that Democrat Attorney General Jay Nixon would somehow “draw a pair of deuces” in order to beat the federal judge at his own game.
I asked Judge John Holstein, a Missouri Baptist statesman from Springfield who formerly served as chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, what he thought about the state of America’s judiciary.
“The federal judiciary seems to, in recent years, be very protective of abortion rights, much more so than the rights of the unborn fetus,” Holstein said.
America will either have liberal federal judges like U.S. Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who believes in a living, breathing U.S. Constitution, or her conservative colleague on the high court, Antonin Scalia, who believes in the original intent of the framers. One side is going to win and one side is going to lose.
“I’m always hopeful,” Holstein said. “I’m not ready to pronounce my profession dead yet. I’m hopeful that judges will take the direction of reading the Constitution and looking at the original intent of the drafters, not trying to superimpose their view on society. It’s so fundamental to the kind of judges that ought to be appointed.
“I think there are good judges out there who are originalists. The debate is still alive and well. I’m not ready to overthrow the judiciary yet. I think it was designed to provide protections to individuals.”
Holstein may be hopeful, but that does not change the fact that there are federal judges like Wright still ruling in Missouri. Thanks to President Carter, who appointed him for life, Missourians are likely to be his “subjects” again when he – or his kind – strikes down the 2005 pro-life law that will come out of September’s special session of the Missouri General Assembly.
That brings us back to the taxpayers. Why waste their money? Why go through yet another charade when a federal judge has the card that ultimately, when played, will win? Why even try to pass and sign a law?
“We’ve impeached judges in the past,” Gov. Blunt said.
Impeachment is nearly impossible. So yet again we prepare to “waste” taxpayer money on a special session of the legislature that is likely to produce another “unconstitutional” law.
After all, an ace beats a king every time – unless, of course, the ace is defied.