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July 30, 2005

Jeff at The Dawn Treader writes an insightful post on Frist and his support of Federal Funding of embryonic stem cell research:

Can you say fact-value split? Frist, like many Christians, successfully demonstrates the two story model of thinking that Francis Schaeffer taught us about (and Nancy Pearcy reminded us of). Scientific knowledge (read fact) live in the lower story, faith (read values) live in the upper story. We try to live in both stories but we can’t. At the end of the day, we act on our knowledge because it is real and faith is not. How did I get that out of this speech? Frist gave it away when he said:

“I am pro-life. I believe human life begins at conception. It is at this moment that the organism is complete — yes, immature — but complete. An embryo is nascent human life. It’s genetically distinct. And it’s biologically human. It’s living. This position is consistent with my faith. But, to me, it isn’t just a matter of faith. It’s a fact of science.”

Just a matter of faith? It’s a fact of science? Bingo. Fact-value split. Frist does not seem to have a clue what faith means. And it shows in his divided thinking in the speech.

I have written a number of times about Nancy Pearcey and her book Total Truth and also Francis Schaeffer. Jeff also mentions Shaeffer’s book, Whatever Happened to the Human Race? . This book was written in the early eighties by Schaeffer and Koop and, as Jeff says, was truly prophetic about the direction being taken by bioethecists.

Go read Jeff’s post. It explains with clarity how Christians too often compartmentalize their worldview from their actions.


By: Sue Bob @ 5:17 pm in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

July 29, 2005

Did they let them sit on those benches in front of the paintings?

VIENNA, Austria — Vienna’s prestigious Leopold Museum is usually a pretty buttoned-down place, but on Friday, some of the nudes in its marble galleries were for real.
Scores of naked or scantily clad people wandered the museum, lured by an offer of free entry to “The Naked Truth,” a new exhibition of early 1900s erotic art, if they showed up wearing just a swimsuit _ or nothing at all.


Get a load of this:

“We find a naked body every bit as beautiful as a clothed one,” said Elisabeth Leopold, who founded the museum with her husband, Rudolf. “If they came only out of lust, we have to accept that. We stand for the truth.”

The world is full of very silly people. They seem to cluster in the Baby Boomer age group:

Most of those who showed up in little or no attire Friday opted for swimsuits, but a few hardy souls dared to bare more. Among them was Bettina Huth of Stuttgart, Germany, who roamed the exhibition wearing only sandals and a black bikini bottom.

Although she used a program at one point to shield herself from a phalanx of TV cameras, Huth, 52, said she didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

“I go into the steam bath every week, so I’m used to being naked,” she said. “I think there’s a double morality, especially in America. We lived in California for two years, and I found it strange that my children had to cover themselves up at the beach when they were only 3 or 4 years old. That’s ridiculous.”


By: Sue Bob @ 8:12 pm in: Uncategorized | Discussion (4)

July 28, 2005


Found at Amazon.com

You walked into the courtroom
Like you were walking onto a yacht
Your arrogance strategically dipped below Our Eyes
Your opinion is that you’re hot
You had one eye in the mirror
As you watched yourself verbally gavotte
And all the terrorists dreamed
That they’d come before you
They’d come before you, and….

You’re so vain
You probably think this song is about you
You’re so vain
I’ll bet you think this song is about you
Don’t you? Don’t you?

Huge Hewitt and Michelle Malkin are blogging about Judge Coughenour’s appalling decision to give the Millenium bomber a measly 22 years. The Judge decided to pontificate in dicta about how constitutionally pure he is:

“Okay. Let me say a few things. First of all, it will come as no surprise to anybody that this sentencing is one that I have struggled with a great deal, more than any other sentencing that I’ve had in the 24 years I’ve been on the bench.

“I’ve done my very best to arrive at a period of confinement that appropriately recognizes the severity of the intended offense, but also recognizes the practicalities of the parties’ positions before trial and the cooperation of Mr. Ressam, even though it did terminate prematurely
The message I would hope to convey in today’s sentencing is twofold:

“First, that we have the resolve in this country to deal with the subject of terrorism and people who engage in it should be prepared to sacrifice a major portion of their life in confinement.

“Secondly, though, I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution.

“I would suggest that the message to the world from today’s sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections.

“Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous defense, and the opportunity to have his guilt or innocence determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens.

“Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detention, no denial of counsel.
“The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism.

“Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.
“It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I’ll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We will be in recess.”


Hugh suggests that we send umbrellas to tell the Judge that we think that he is an appeaser in the mold of Chamberlain. I found the above umbrella at amazon.com. You can also send a message with the umbrella. Here is his address: (clarification–this is the address of the courthouse where he presides)

Judge John C. Coughenour
700 Stewart St
Seattle, WA 98101-1271
United States

Update: Captain Ed and his guest blogger Dafydd have some great information about the arrogance of this Judge. There really needs to be term limits on these Federal Judges. Any lawyer who practices in Federal Court can attest to the egotism that begins to infect these guys after a while.

Update II:

Scott at Power Line adds the following:

Judges are not to engage in political activity, period. For a federal judge in his judicial capacity to render irrelevant editorial criticism of the president’s conduct as commander in chief is an extraordinary abuse of office. Yet federal judge John Coughenour did so during his sentencing of millenium bomber Ahmed Ressam to a 22-year prison term yesterday (13 years short of the sentence sought by the government — with credit for five years in custody, he may be free in 14 years): “Ressam judge decries U.S. tactics.”

It is almost beside the point — almost, but not entirely — that the judge’s comments were stupidly ignorant of the most basic legal distinctions. Given the judge’s poor use of his own powers in sentencing a man who sought to kill thousands of Americans, the judge should worry less about the president’s use of his constitutional powers and more about his own. And he should leave the editorials to the folks with egos equally as large as his in the fourth branch.

Here is an excerpt out of the ABA Model Code of Judicial Conduct:

B. A judge shall not allow family, social, political or other relationships to influence the judge’s judicial conduct or judgment. A judge shall not lend the prestige of judicial office to advance the private interests of the judge or others; nor shall a judge convey or permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. A judge shall not testify voluntarily as a character witness.

Commentary:
Maintaining the prestige of judicial office is essential to a system of government in which the judiciary functions independently of the executive and legislative branches. Respect for the judicial office facilitates the orderly conduct of legitimate judicial functions. Judges should distinguish between proper and improper use of the prestige of office in all of their activities.



By: Sue Bob @ 9:41 am in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

July 27, 2005

Human Events Online publishes Dangerous Human Egg Harvesting Targeted at Poor Women Is Costing Lives by Dr. Pia de Solenni:

Recently, I wrote about the effects on women of cloning and embryonic stem cell research. While scientists, ethicists, and activists have all been going back and forth, little attention has been brought to the facts surrounding the extremely painful and risky egg harvesting procedure called ovarian hyperstimulation [OHS] that millions of women will be required to undergo for embryonic stem cell research to be widely used.

As in most cases, it often helps to put a face on the people who will be involved. The process of ovarian hyperstimulation is not one that normally attracts women. OHS is an intense regimen of hormone shots followed by an extremely uncomfortable egg harvesting procedure and poses the risk of impaired future fertility, stroke and even death.
The question remains, how is it that women will be enticed to part with their eggs? Naturally, when you want someone to do something that’s not at all pleasant, you find someone who really doesn’t have a say in the matter, someone without a voice or an alternative option. Egg harvesting would be targeted at women with financial difficulties, typically ethnic minorities, students, and the like.

There’s no need to guess about how the procedure affects the women who choose it. The real life stories already exist.

Then via The Evangelical Outpost we find a series of articles on human trafficking. (ht Hugh Hewitt) Care to speculate where all those eggs for embryonic stem cell research might come from in the future?


By: Sue Bob @ 11:35 am in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

July 26, 2005

I’ve been following the story about John Roberts and the Federalist Society. It’s been characterized as some secret society. That’s hogwash.

I belong to the Federalist Society and there is nothing secret about it. I have to admit, though, that I haven’t been to any of their events. I mainly read the publications sent to me as a member.

The problem is that, so far, most of their events where I live have involved breakfasts starting at 7:3o am.

Now, if they ever have a happy hour.


By: Sue Bob @ 7:07 pm in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

Karina at Feeding Me Softly is blogging again. Go savor her newest post:

I rubbed salt and white pepper on the meat and browned it over high heat. I deglazed the pan with Marsala and added chopped shallots, carrots, celery, and parsely. I stirred in some tomato paste and two bay leaves before I realized that I didn’t have any chicken stock. I’ve braised meat entirely in wine before, so I decided to substitute Marsala for the stock. I covered the pot, turned down the heat, and crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t turn out too sweet.

I get my cooking tips from Karina. For instance, there’s this post:

I pulled out the thyme-rubbed pork roast when it registered 150-degrees on the meat thermometer. While it rested, I reduced the sauce and enriched it with a nugget of butter. The potatoes–intended for the scuttled gnocchi–ended up sliced and layered with creme fraiche and Gruyere for a potato gratin. A dish of sauteed green beans and shitakes rounded out the meal. By the time I set down the main course, everyone was savoring the aroma of the 2001 J Robert Thomas Pinot Noir. This is the most elegant of J’s pinots, its softness and earthy notes matching nicely with the mushrooms.

Gotta go. My mouth is watering.


By: Sue Bob @ 3:27 pm in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

John is doing some really good stuff. You need to go read this, this and this and this and this.

Aww heck, go read everything over there.

Just be prepared to choke with laughter on anything you are eating or drinking at the time.

Cough! Chough! I still can’t get this cornbread out of my windpipe after reading this.


By: Sue Bob @ 10:16 am in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out–because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the communists and I did not speak out–because I was not a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out–because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak out for me. Niemoller

I am still ruminating about this piece in the Washington Post about Sarah Scantlin. I wrote about it here focusing on this part:

Terri Schiavo’s case was different. She was in a “vegetative state,” when only the brain stem, which controls involuntary functions such as heartbeat, works.The Scantlins were never interested in Sarah’s story getting entangled in Terri Schiavo’s.

“They are not remotely connected,” James Scantlin says. “We turned down Larry King. And Fox. The religious media said she woke from a coma after 20 years. She was in a coma one month. . . . The Schiavos called us. We didn’t return the calls. (emphasis added)

This upsets me on so many levels. I hope that people will realize that it is not just the unconcious targeted by futile care theory. People in Sarah’s condition prior to her breakthrough are at risk as well. Robert Wendland was mobile, obviously conscious–and, yet, because he was cognitively impaired, his doctors were willing to dehydrate him to death.

In Sarah’s case, had it not been for Pat Rincon, it was entirely conceivable that an attending physician steeped in futile care theory might have allowed an infection to go untreated, morphing into a fatal sepsis. There are physicians out there who would find that entirely acceptable in the case of someone with severe cognitive disabilities.

Instead, Sarah had Pat:

Pat wasn’t trained in speech therapy, neurology, brain damage, but she could see people beyond the drool and the incapacitation. She could hear voices silenced by stroke, could see into the vacuum of Alzheimer’s. Could hear silent, frozen Sarah speak. She was just a tool, she said.
“When God created us, he created us as angels,” Pat says. “You choose to be good or bad. In this profession, you have to love it. You have to have a heart for it. If you don’t have a heart for it, you don’t belong here.”


Isn’t this what the Schiavos saw in Terri?

First, they came for the unconscious….


By: Sue Bob @ 6:32 am in: Uncategorized | Discussion (1)

July 25, 2005

I recently wrote a post entitled, Judge John Roberts: What Kind of Conservative? In the piece, I discussed the Darwinistic, moral relativistic and legal positivism of some judges who are, nonetheless, considered to be conservative men of the right. I quoted Nancy Pearcey’s writings about Judge Richard Posner:

It is no surprise to learn that Posner terms his position “pragmatic moral skepticism,” nor that his hero is Holmes, whom he has called “the American Nietzsche.” Thus the influence of Holmes’s legal pragmatism lives on, with its instrumentalist view of the law as a tool of social policy.

It seems to me that conservatives, especially Christian conservatives, need to understand the vagaries that can be inherent in referring to judges as “conservative” without further explanation. For your edification, I present two different viewpoints.

From Paul at Power Line, we find the following:

John’s Daily Standard piece, “False Exile,” is up. Some leftist law professors are engaged in a dishonest campaign to paint the conservative jurisprudence of Justice Scalia and others as a radical effort to repeal the New Deal and earlier progressive legislation.

A review of John’s piece brings us tidbits such as this:

Put briefly, the liberal fear is that conservative judges may resurrect decisions such as Lochner v. New York, decided by the Supreme Court in 1905, which invalidated on “substantive due process” grounds a New York statute which limited the number of hours that could be worked by bakers. The Court held that the law unconstitutionally infringed “the general right to make a contract in relation to his business [which] is part of the liberty of the individual protected by the 14th Amendment of the Federal Constitution.” (198 U.S. at 52) The return of this pre-New Deal jurisprudence is the liberals’ ultimate nightmare when they contemplate a conservative Supreme Court. (my emphasis–recall what I said here about the Lochner court using Natural Law Theory in its construct)

–snip–

First, the idea that any significant number of conservatives want to revive Lochner and substantive due process is ludicrous. For better or worse, application of substantive due process to generally accepted economic regulations is a dead letter, and there is virtually no one who wants to resurrect it. The describes Justices Scalia and Thomas as “supporters of the so-called ‘Constitution in Exile,’” but in fact, Scalia is the Court’s most implacable foe of the concept of substantive due process, which he has bitterly denounced:

“The entire practice of using the Due Process Clause to add judicially favored rights to the limitations upon democracy set forth in the Bill of Rights (usually under the rubric of so-called “substantive due process”) is in my view judicial usurpation.”

In my former post, I linked to Richard Reeb at The Claremont Institue. He says this about Scalia and Rehnquist:

However brilliant William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia have been they lack the understanding that animated the founders of our constitutional order. They know the contours and uses of the constitutional structure, but they do not know what it is for beyond what the people have authorized in the constitutional text. They do not know, in other words, that the legal positivism of the Oliver Wendell Holmes school is wholly inadequate for recapturing the natural rights political philosophy that informs both the American Revolution and the American Constitution.

Then we find this from Brian Birdnow, also, at The Claremont Insitute:

Those who take the Constitution seriously all agree that judges must first consider the original intent of the men who framed and ratified the Constitution. But what exactly is the content of that original intent? Levin fails to point out that the founders were not moral relativists, legal positivists, or simple majoritarians like even many of today’s most well-known conservative jurists. President Bush has a difficult challenge ahead of him, but we must hope he remains steadfast in nominating jurists who recognize that the Constitution must be interpreted in accordance with the self-evident truths of the American Founding. (emphasis added–this is a Natural Law construct)

My point is that the idea of a “conservative” judge is not monolithic and will not, necessarily, get a social conservative where he wants to be. A “conservative judge” may just get you the old “Roe v. Wade” is settled law meme.

One interesting part of John Hinderaker’s article in the Daily Standard is what he says about liberals using substantive due process to create “judicially favored rights”. Does this mean that we need to win the culture war prior to reinvigorating Natural Law Theory?

I’d love to see one of the brilliant guys at The Claremont Institute tackle that in light of John Hinderaker’s article. ( I did e-mail Brian Birdnow with that question.)


By: Sue Bob @ 7:25 pm in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

I found a wonderfully written story in the Washington Post entitled Sarah Scantlin’s 20-Year Journey From Coma to Silence to Breakthrough. ( HT Rich Lowry at The Corner) At least I thought it was wonderful until this part:

Terri Schiavo’s case was different. She was in a “vegetative state,” when only the brain stem, which controls involuntary functions such as heartbeat, works.

The Scantlins were never interested in Sarah’s story getting entangled in Terri Schiavo’s.
“They are not remotely connected,” James Scantlin says. “We turned down Larry King. And Fox. The religious media said she woke from a coma after 20 years. She was in a coma one month. . . . The Schiavos called us. We didn’t return the calls.
(emphasis added)

God sent the Scantlins a miracle in the form of Pat Rincon, who, though not a licensed professional worked daily with Sarah. Terri was not so fortunate. Sarah did not have a husband intent on thwarting the desires of her parents , preventing her from receiving therapy and stimulation.

God gave the Scantlins another chance. They refused to help the Schiavo’s attempt at the same–opining, instead, on how their case was different.

This reminds me of Jesus’s parable of the two debtors in Matthew 18. A man owed a huge sum to his master that he could not repay. He pled his case and asked for mercy from his master. The master was compassionate and canceled the debt. The man, rather than taking his master’s compassion to heart, went and tried to bully a fellow servant into paying a debt the fellow servant owed him–causing the servant to be cast in debtor’s prison.

Although, this a a parable about forgiveness, I think that it also teaches us about compassion. God gave the Scantlin’s the gift of the return of their daughter. The Scantlin’s couldn’t see fit to offer the same compassion to the Schiavo’s.

I am certain that the Washington Post felt that it was necessary to take a backhand slap at the Schiavos with the disputed statement that Terri was PVS. I would expect no better from them.

I would expect better from parents who received the Grace of God in response to their desire that Sarah recover as much as possible. This truly ruins a remarkable story for me.


By: Sue Bob @ 3:33 pm in: Uncategorized | Discussion (1)

July 23, 2005

Hugh Hewitt posted an entry at his blog about the Democrats’ plans to use Robert’s “deeply held beliefs” as an objection to his confirmation. As Hugh points out, this is, at its essence, a religious test. Judge Roberts is a practising Catholic.

As Hugh points out, Chuck Schumer has gone on the offensive regarding this issue in the past:

The New Yorker argued that the conservative religious views of Holmes, a devout Catholic, disqualified him because of disagreements interpreting the separation of church and state. Schumer contended that ‘religious beliefs cannot dictate government policy, even though they can infuse our values.’

This is a clear demonstration of the fact-value split written about by Nancy Pearcey in her award winning book, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Captivity. Inherent in the advocacy of fact-value split is the position that those with a Christian Worldview should have no seat at the table when it comes to policy making.

What is disheartening is to see the statements of Judge Roberts’ friends and fellow Christians showing that they buy into this as legitimate. They, in their anticipation of such an attack on him, say such things as:

‘They are devout Catholics,’ said the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, the college president. ‘They are not the kind of people who would be in your face,’ he added. Their religion ‘would affect their personal lives, but they are very professional in their work.’

Shannen W. Coffin, a friend of Judge Roberts and a former Justice Department lawyer, said: ‘John’s faith is his faith, and his approach to the law is a separate issue. If it has any effect, it is in the sense of restraint, that he is not and the role of the judge is not to be the center of the universe. It stems from the sort of humility of a faithful person.’

This an argument which says that the Christian worldview is a mere emotion (faith)—rather than a moral framework which should inform the Christian’s entire life and work. Thus, the question must be asked—if one is precluded from using Christian philosophy (or natural law) as a guide—what philosophy is acceptable? Existentialism, rampant utilitarianism? Clearly, as Nancy wrote in Total Truth, Christians’ bear some responsibility in allowing the fact-value split argument to go unchallenged.

Unfortunately, the philosophy that has informed most judges today is pragmatism as advocated by Holmes—and later Posner. And—that brings me to the question as to whether or not, simply being conservative should be sufficient reason for social conservatives to support the confirmation of a nominee.

You will note that, above, I mention Holmes and Posner. Both are considered men of the right. However, as Nancy Pearcey makes clear in her article, Why Judges Make the Law:The Roots and Remedy of Judicial Imperialism, that is not sufficient. If you read her article, you may not be so comforted with the limited knowledge that Roberts is conservative. You might want to know what kind of conservative he is. For example take Holmes as discussed in Nancy Pearcey’s article:

Legal pragmatism traces its origins to the early decades of the 20th Century when America was wrestling with the implications of Darwin’s theory of evolution. Holmes was one of a group of scholars whose goal was to work out the implications of Darwinism for an overarching philosophy of life, which came to be called pragmatism.

—snip—

For Holmes the law should be established “upon accurately measured social desires instead of tradition.” In his highly influential 1897 essay “The Path of the Law,” Holmes even reduced law to a summary of the social and economic policies shown scientifically to work best. As he put it, “The man of the future is the man of statistics and the master of economics.” Law was redefined as a tool for identifying and manipulating factors aimed at creating social harmony and progress.

In short, law was little more than a tool for social engineering, using the coercive power of the state to enforce the policies deemed by bureaucrats to be most desirable. To quote Holmes again, the justification for a law is not that it is consistent with universal principles but “that it helps bring out a social end which we desire.”

And Posner? Again, according to Nancy Pearcey:

It is no surprise to learn that Posner terms his position “pragmatic moral skepticism,” nor that his hero is Holmes, whom he has called “the American Nietzsche.” Thus the influence of Holmes’s legal pragmatism lives on, with its instrumentalist view of the law as a tool of social policy.

The chief theoretical failing of pragmatism is that its only measure for evaluating law is whether it “works”–whether it achieves desired social goals: It offers no transcendent principles by which to say whether those goals themselves are good or bad. Indeed, Posner defines the heart of legal pragmatism as “a rejection of a concept of law as grounded in permanent principles . . . and a determination to use law as an instrument for social ends.” Yet how do we know whether particular social ends are morally right or wrong?

Nancy Pearcey underlines the corrosive nature of pragmatism when she writes:

Worse, since pragmatism treats law as an instrument for getting whatever we want, it offers no protection against the powerful using it to achieve whatever they want. In a personal letter, Holmes once wrote these chilling words: “[W]hen it comes to the development of a corpus juris the ultimate question is what do the dominant forces of the community want and do they want it hard enough to disregard whatever inhibitions may stand in the way.”


These are not the ideas of social conservatives—though, again, Holmes and Posner are considered men of the right. These ideas certainly conflict with Natural Law and the duty of Christians to always consider the dignity of the human person.

Where does Roberts stand on this? Slate writes that as a law student, Roberts wrote regarding the following:

In an article written as a law student, argued that the phrase “just compensation” in the Fifth Amendment, which limits the government in the taking of private property, should be “informed by changing norms of justice.” This sounds like a nod to liberal constitutional theory, but Roberts’ alternative interpretation was more protective of property interests than Supreme Court law at the time. (emphasis mine)

This emphasized section seems consistent with the Darwinist-inspired pragmatism of Holmes and Posner and the idea that there are no absolutes.

Should we be concerned? Well, Roberts was a law student at the time. It is possible that his views have evolved.

And, as Thomas C. Grey wrote in Judicial Review and Legal Pragmatism, law students have long been taught pragmatism rather than natural law theory:

Langdell and his followers were fervent in their belief that public law could not be legal
science. They insisted, for example, that law students at Harvard and at other schools purporting to follow its example not be exposed to public law subjects until their third year, so that they would not be distracted from their inculcation in proper legal scientific methods by exposure to mere legislation. At the same time, their rigorous positivism made them deny natural law force to the common law principles they derived from the case law. Langdell insisted, for example, that there was nothing “natural” (or moral, or convenient) about the common law doctrine of consideration in contract – the civil law had no such doctrine, and perhaps was the better for it. But this did notdetract from the “fundamental” character of consideration as a requirement of the common law of contract. Being “fundamental” in the legal-scientific sense did not mean that a principle was required by justice or sound policy.
(emphasis added)

It is notable that Langdell did regard legislation as “supreme over case law”—but he repudiated natural law, unlike the Lochner line of cases (also discussed in Grey’s article–this is a very worthwhile article to read in total) :

By contrast, the Lochner line of cases had clear natural law overtones. As the Court put it in 1898, the due process clauses protected “principles” like liberty of contract because they were“fundamental” in the sense that they represented “immutable principles of justice which inhere in the very idea of free government.”

What is Roberts theory of law is a more specific question than, is he a conservative. As Krauthammer points out, we do not know what his theory of law is. As Paul at Power Line says:

In sum: Is Roberts a conservative? Yes, surely. Does he hold a single theory of law that is conservative? Maybe. Would it be better if we knew that he held such a theory? Yes. If it turns out that he doesn’t, does that mean he will not be a reliable conservative Justice over the long haul. Not necessarily, and in Roberts’ case probably not.

I would say, perhaps not. I am not particularly concerned that Roberts would be a Souter. I see no evidence that he would be anything like Souter.

I am very concerned that he might be another Holmes or Posner.

This is precisely why I agree with Nancy Pearcey that we should insist that the Christian Worldview and Natural law have a place at the table. We are in a bigger fight than one to appoint conservatives to the bench.

We are also in a fight between the forces of pragmatism and rampant utilitarianism as represented by the “conservative”, Posner, and the theory of Natural Law and rights as bestowed by our Creator and that I wrote about when reviewing Alberto Piedra’s book, Restoring the Dignity of the Human Person: A Review of Natural Law, The Foundation of an Orderly Economic System . The review is posted here.

If you don’t believe that there is such a fight, go read Pejmanesque here and here about why Justice Thomas was savaged by Reid and Kevin Drum when it was thought that he might be a Natural Law adherent.

Richard Reeb at the Claremont Institute makes some of the same points much more eloquently.

At the very least, I’d like to know where Roberts stands on the ideas of Holmes. In the meantime, I do think that it is important that we defeat the left’s position that “deeply held beliefs” disqualify him from being a Supreme Court Justice.

Submitted to Carnival of the Trackbacks XXI. Welcome to Wizbang readers!

Update:

This certainly does not give me any comfort. From Human Events Online:

Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.), who serves on the committee, is an outspoken critic of last month’s Kelo v. New London decision, in which the court ruled that the 5th Amendment’s “takings” clause does not prevent government from seizing people’s homes to give to private developers. He should pay special attention to Roberts’ role in the case of Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Here, as a private attorney, Roberts represented a government agency against property owners. His job, as he put it in a written answer to the committee in 2003, was “to argue before the Supreme Court that the agency’s moratorium on development to preserve the pristine character of Lake Tahoe did not constitute a taking of property.”


He won 6 to 3. But the dissenters were Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. (emphasis added)


By: Sue Bob @ 1:23 pm in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

July 22, 2005

Go revel in it.


By: Sue Bob @ 5:09 pm in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

July 20, 2005

Salt from The Cassandra Page asked in comments on an earlier post what I think of the nomination of John Roberts. Salt writes about him here and is happy about the nomination.

I have to confess that I don’t know what to think. He seems smart and of good character–but I’ve heard rumors that he has stated that Roe v. Wade is settled law–in spite of his arguments against it, written in the course of his representation of the Bush 1 Administration.

Quite frankly, I have some distrust of lawyers whose careers have been spent entirely in Washington D. C.. And then there is this from Ann Coulter. She makes some good points. (ht Michele Malkin)

Update:

Jay Anderson over at Pro Ecclesia*Pro Familia*Pro Civitate finds an interesing comment from conservative law professor John C. Yoo published in the Washington Post:

John C. Yoo, a conservative professor of law at University of California at Berkeley who served in the Justice Department in the current administration, emphasizes what he called Roberts’s traditional approach to the law. In the 39 cases that Roberts argued before the Supreme Court — 25 of which he won — Yoo said he never pushed the court to adopt “big new theories” but rather argued the facts of his cases.

“He’s the type of person that business conservatives and judicial-restraint conservatives will like but the social conservatives may not like,” Yoo said.”What the social conservatives want is someone who will overturn Roe. v. Wade and change the court’s direction on privacy,” he added.

“But he represents the Washington establishment. These Washington establishment people are not revolutionaries, and they’re not out to shake up constitutional law. They might make course corrections, but they’re not trying to sail the boat to a different port.”(emphasis added)

This is my point about Washington lawyers.

Update II:

Now I am worried. From Nathan Newman, we find this:

When the Supreme Court in Kelo cited precedents for using eminent domain to take property and transfer it to another private entity, they cited Amtrak buying up land and transferring it to private railroad companies who would then maintain the tracks, a power upheld by the Court in the 1992 National Railroad Passenger Corporation v. Boston & Maine Corp. And who was running the show for the government in arguing for this power? None other than Acting Solicitor General John Roberts.

As John Roberts argued in his brief to the Court:

This Court has held that the determination of what constitutes a “public use” is essentially one for the legislature, and the legislature has wide latitude to authorize the compensated transfer of property between private owners in order to accomplish a permissible public objective…it is fully permissible to change the ownership of private property without changing its use, provided there is an underlying public purpose to which the condemnation is rationally related.

I found the above via one of Beldar’s commentors. Beldar thinks that conservatives should not be concerned about John Roberts. I’m not sure where Beldar stands on Roe v. Wade.


By: Sue Bob @ 8:42 am in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

July 19, 2005

The reputation of the Hospice movement was somewhat tarnished by the Terri Schiavo situation. I remember reading blog postings and comments indicating that some thought the role of Hospice is to facilitate death.

Nothing could be further than the truth. The modern hospice movement was started by a devout Christian whose focus was the dignity of the dying person. Her intent in starting modern hospice was to allow the dying person to live–to truly live the remainder of his or her natural life, free of pain and with appropriate psychological support.

Dame Cecily, the founder, has passed on in one of the hospices she founded. (HT Wesley J. Smith)

I believe that Dame Cecily would have been appalled to know of the change in bioethics that now promotes withdrawal of hydration and nutrition from congnitively impaired people who are still capable of assimilating such hydration and nutrition. And–if you read this column by Wesley J. Smith about her, I think that you will agree with me.


By: Sue Bob @ 3:53 pm in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)

July 18, 2005

Tomorrow, I will be interviewing Nancy and Richard Pearcey on my friend Mychal Massie’s show Straight Talk on Right Talk Radio on Tuesday, July 19 at 1:00 pmE.T. We will be discussing the awarding of the Evangelical Christian Publisher’s Association Gold Medallion Award to Nancy for her book, TOTAL TRUTH: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Captivity (Crossway) , the 50th Anniversary of L’ABRI (as of June 4) and the distinctive approach of the Schaeffers, the place of Christianity in politics, education, and so on, and how this affects the choice of Supreme Court Justices.

Please join us at 1 pm ET by going to Right Talk and clicking on channel 1. If you miss the live broadcast, you can hear the replay at five after the hour for the rest of the day.


By: Sue Bob @ 7:06 pm in: Uncategorized | Discussion (0)