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Entries in Abortion (327)

Thursday
Jun172010

AUL - Breaking News for the Cause of Life. 

It has been a challenging week for the cause of life. We are making significant progress, but the enemies of life still control the levers of power and are working to advance their pro-abortion agenda.Time Contribute 2

Over the past week, a pro-abortion governor vetoed legislation that would have allowed his state to opt-out of taxpayer-funded abortion, radicals in Congress proposed the use of military bases for abortion, and we learned that President Obama's Supreme Court nominee believes that partial-birth abortion "may be the best or most appropriate" option for women.

Governor Charlie Crist of Florida has just vetoed legislation that would have opted Florida out of taxpayer-funded abortion and would have given women the option of having an ultrasound prior to an abortion. This is a major setback in our battle to stop the radical growth of the abortion industry (using our tax dollars), but with your support we will keep up the fight!

We are working to save unborn children in all 50 states, and despite the setback in Florida, we still have opportunities to save lives now. With your immediate help, we will have the funds necessary to work with legislatures and governors in Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, and South Carolina who are currently considering "opt-out" legislation. But time is short, and the pro-abortion lobby will stop at nothing in trying to sway state elected officials.

Will you support AUL's efforts to stop taxpayer-funded abortion in these states by making an urgent, tax-deductible contribution of $50, $100, $250, or more?

With the support of an anti-life President and Congress, taxpayer-funded abortion is becoming the law of the land in many states. It is a fact: we are witnessing the greatest expansion of abortion in America since Roe v. Wade.

And using our tax-dollars to fund abortions across the country is not enough for those advancing the pro-abortion agenda. Last week a committee in the U.S. Senate voted in favor of using taxpayer-funded hospitals on military bases around the world to perform abortions. The fight to maintain existing law preventing military hospitals from performing abortions now goes to the rest of the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. We urgently need your support to keep up the fight against the expansion of abortion using our tax dollars - at home, and on our military bases overseas.

Your support has been vital to our efforts over the past several months, and I hope you will continue to partner with us now. As you know, AUL is working to raise a total of $360,000 by June 30th to continue our life-saving momentum and to stand firm against this onslaught of pro-abortion law.

Please follow this link now to make an urgent, tax-deductible contribution of $50, $100, $250, or more!

If we meet our fundraising goal, we will also be able to alert the Senate to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan's radical, pro-abortion stance before her confirmation hearings. Make no mistake about it: Ms. Kagan is the most virulent, pro-abortion Supreme Court nominee in over a decade. Our recent investigation has unearthed alarming information about Ms. Kagan's anti-life positions. In a December 14, 1996 memo, Ms. Kagan discloses her true feelings in support of partial-birth abortion. Her own handwritten notes state that the Clinton Administration should take the position that partial-birth abortion "may be the best or most appropriate" option for women! This is an outrageous judgment for any Supreme Court nominee. And it's yet another reason why we must redouble our efforts for the cause of life.

Please follow this link now to make an urgent, tax-deductible contribution of $50, $100, $250, or more to AUL! Together we can restore a culture of life in America.

Charmaine Email Image Yours for Life,
Charmaine Yoest
Charmaine Yoest, Ph.D.
President & CEO
Americans United for Life



P.S. There's no limit to what you can give, and every dollar you contribute can be written-off as a charitable contribution for federal tax purposes. Please follow this link now to make an urgent, tax-deductible contribution of $50, $100, $250 or more to help us meet our goal. Thank you for your continued support of AUL - Charmaine.

Thursday
Jun172010

AUL Kagan File: The "Oxford Thesis" Memo 

RE: Kagan’s 1983 Oxford Thesis in Praise of Agenda-Driven Judges

Background:

In her graduate thesis[1], Elena Kagan discusses the exclusionary rule and its evolution through the years depending on the make-up of the Supreme Court.  Kagan spends considerable time analyzing the Warren Court (the Supreme Court when Earl Warren was Chief Justice from 1953-1969).   

Kagan describes the Warren Court as “a court with a mission… to correct the social injustices and inequalities of American life … [and] to transform the nation.”[2]  Kagan states that “the Warren Court justices set themselves a goal…and they steered by this goal when resolving individual cases.”[3]  According to Kagan, the “rectification of social injustice” was the Warren Court’s standard of constitutional decision-making.[4] 

Kagan states that “there is much to be said for the Warren Court’s ethical sense” because, as Robert McCloskey noted, “‘a living institution, dealing with living problems, [cannot] achieve perfect logical symmetry, for logic overdone can stultify all its touches.’”[5]  Kagan continues: “Ethical considerations must—or at least should—play a role in the judicial process."[6]

Kagan does not criticize the Warren Court’s vision of a “just and fair society informing almost the whole of the Court’s constitutional analysis.”[7]  Kagan only critiques the Warren Court because it failed to write "a tenable legal argument" for its decisions regarding the exclusionary rule, leaving them vulnerable to reversal or modification by future Courts.

  • Would Kagan think it permissible to translate moral instincts into judicial decisions so long as the justice includes a “tenable” legal argument to support creative legal views?

Kagan states: "U.S. Supreme Court justices live in the knowledge that they have the authority to command or to block great social, political and economic change.  At times, the temptation to wield this power becomes irresistible. The justices, at such times, will attempt to steer the law in order to achieve certain ends and advance certain values.”[8]

  • Does Kagan believe “steering the law” to achieve specific ends is legitimate?[9]

Kagan states that the “orthodox view of the judicial branch—perhaps best articulated in Hamilton’s seventy-eighth federalist paper—conceives of the courts as relatively passive bodies.”[10]  She said this was a “largely negative and restraining role” and that the Warren Court “refused to confine itself” because it “felt a positive duty to assume an active role in the governmental process…”[11]  Kagan believed that for the Warren Court, “adhering to federalist principles was simply not as important as creating a just society.”[12] 

  • Does Kagan reject the “orthodox view” that the judiciary should exercise restraint?  Why?
  • Would Kagan feel, as she said the Warren Court did, “a positive duty to assume an active role in the governmental process” as a Supreme Court justice?
  • Does Kagan believe there is conflict between “federalist principles” and “creating a just society?”  Does she believe it is the Court’s role to “create” such a society, or is it the people’s right, through their elected representatives?
  • Does Kagan believe, as she said the Warren Court did, that “only the Court [can] voice and give effect to the noblest aspirations of the American people” or “only the court [can] ensure the open and egalitarian operation of the political system?”[13]

Kagan says that “during the 1950s and 1960s, many of the most important innovations in public policy stemmed from judicial—rather than from congressional or presidential—activity…The court attempted—if necessary single-handedly—to engineer significant domestic reform: Arguably, the Warren Court became the most innovative and active branch of the American Government.”[14] 

  • What are Kagan’s views regarding the Warren Court’s actions and the role of the judiciary?  Would she “engineer significant domestic reform” as a Justice?     
  • Would she insist that the states “closely conform to the Court’s own set of ethical and moral standards,” as the Warren Court did?[15]

Kagan states that “of course, the most meticulously crafted and closely analyzed opinion may not endure the test of time: a future court may overturn such an opinion on the ground that new times and circumstances demand a different interpretation of the Constitution.”[16]

  • Does Kagan believe the meaning of the Constitution changes based on the “times and circumstances?”

Kagan says: “Judges are judges, but they are also men…As men and as participants in American life, judges will have opinions, prejudices, values.  Perhaps, most important, judges will have goals.  And because this is so, judges will often try to mold and steer the law in order to promote certain ethical values and achieve certain social ends.  Such activity is not necessarily wrong or invalid.[17]

  • What would be Kagan’s “goals” if confirmed to the Supreme Court?
  • What are the “ethical values” that she would “promote” if confirmed?  And what “social ends” would she seek to achieve?
  • Does she believe it is legitimate for judges to  “mold and steer the law” to promote her “ethical values” and to achieve her “social ends?”

Conclusion:

Elena Kagan has expressed support for the Warren Court’s vision of how the Supreme Court is to transform society.  Judiciary Committee members must press Kagan on whether she stands by the comments she made in her thesis that  it is acceptable for judges to mold and steer the law in accordance with their own desired social ends.  Unless she repudiates these statements and their implications under oath before the American people, Senators should reject her nomination to the Supreme Court. 



[1] “The Development and Erosion of the American Exclusionary Rule,” Elena Kagan, Oxford University, June 27, 1983, http://judiciary.senate.gov/nominations/SupremeCourt/upload/ElenaKagan-OxfordThesis.pdf.

[2] Id. at 40.

[3] Id. at 40.

[4] Id. at 40.

[5] Id. at 63.

[6] Id. at 63.

[7] Id. at 41. 

[8] Id. at 6 (emphasis added).

[9] Id. at 6.

[10] Id. at 41.

[11] Id. at 41-42 (emphasis added). 

[12] Id. at 44 (emphasis added).

[13] Id. at 41-42.

[14] Id. at 42 (emphasis added).

[15] Id. at 42.

[16] Id. at 41.

[17] Id. at 119-120 (emphasis added).

Thursday
Jun172010

AUL - Bench Briefs: Kagan's Extreme Views 

 

This Week's Feature
 
On Capitol Hill, AUL Sheds Light on Kagan’s Extreme Views

AUL President & CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest (seen below with Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a longtime member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee) and other AUL staff are meeting with U.S. Senators to provide our legal team’s research on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s activist, pro-abortion record.  

Charmaine Utah Senator

Among those involved in the educational effort is AUL Staff Counsel Mary Harned, who previously served as Legislative Counsel and Judiciary Counsel to Alabama U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Harned told AUL Bench Briefs, “We are focusing on members of the Judiciary Committee and other senators who are not inclined to oppose the President. We want them to understand that Kagan is an extreme nominee.”

AUL staff members also attend coalition meetings on Capitol Hill where they update other public-policy groups and Hill staff about our research on Kagan, participate in coalition conference calls, and send daily installments of our Kagan File to key Senate staff. Read our team’s latest research into the nominee’s troubling record, including the Kagan File, on AUL’s Web site.


On The Docket

Kagan File Reveals Nominee's Pro-Abortion Partisanship

The latest installment of the Kagan File details how the documents just released by the Clinton Library further illuminate the extremity of the Supreme Court nominee's position on abortion. Written when Kagan advised Clinton on abortion-related issues, they reveal, among other things, that she continued to oppose meaningful limitations on partial birth abortion even after discovering that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists could not find a legitimate need for the deadly procedure. Click here to read the full memo on the AUL Blog.

Acclaimed Pro-Life Political Scientist Joins AUL for Summer Research Fellowship

AUL is proud to welcome its Summer Research Fellow, Dr. Michael J. New, whose studies for the Heritage Foundation and the Family Research Council have made him the leading expert on the effects of pro-life legislation. Working from our Washington headquarters, Dr. New, who is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama and a Fellow at the Witherspoon Institute, is undertaking a detailed study of the impact of Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act. He told AUL Bench Briefs that the act, which was litigated in the Supreme Court’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey and took effect in 1994 has proven to be “among the most effective pro-life laws in the country.” Click here to read more about Dr. New on the AUL Blog, including links to his published articles.

Senate Committee Votes to Allow Abortions in Military Facilities

The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee recently voted to strike down a longstanding law barring military medical personnel or facilities from participating in abortions except when the life of the mother is at risk, or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. Click here to read a special report on the AUL Blog by our Staff Counsel Anna Franzonello, giving details about this new effort to direct taxpayer dollars toward ending the lives of the unborn.



Wednesday
Jun162010

NRLC - Urges House to reject "unprincipled" DISCLOSE Act 

AS "UNPRINCIPLED, UNCONSTITUTIONAL" POLITICAL ATTACK


WASHINGTON (June 15, 2010) -- In a new letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of right-to-life organizations in all 50 states, said that its 2010 congressional scorecard would report a vote for the so-called "DISCLOSE Act" (H.R. 5175) as "a blatant political attack on the First Amendment rights of NRLC, our state affiliates, and our members and donors."

The so-called "NRA carve out," a revision agreed to by the House Democratic Leadership "is not only worthless, but adds insult to injury," and would not apply to NRLC or to any of NRLC's 50 state affiliates, the new NRLC letter explains.

The entire NRLC letter can be viewed here (in PDF format, here).  A May 27 letter that explains NRLC's objections to the legislation in detail is posted here.

A June 10 letter by a coalition of organizations opposing the bill is posted here.

The June edition of National Right to Life News, which has been disseminated to hundreds of thousands of pro-life activists nationwide, highlights the threat posed by the "DISCLOSE Act" in its cover story, posted here.

NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson  and Senior Legislative Counsel Susan T.  Muskett, J.D. are available to provide comment and analysis of the "DISCLOSE Act."  Please contact the NRLC Communications Department at (202) 626-8825 to arrange an interview.

The National Right to Life Committee is the nation’s largest pro-life group, with affiliates in all 50 states and over 3,000 local chapters nationwide. 

 

Wednesday
Jun162010

AUL - Kagan File: The "Comparative Law" Memo 

Compared to what?—Would Elena Kagan Use Foreign Law to Interpret Our Constitution?

Backgrounder: 

In 2004, Elena Kagan spoke at a conference sponsored by Lex Mundi[1], where she emphasized the importance of international and comparative law in the curriculum of law schools, and recommended that law schools bring more visiting foreign professors to their faculty.[2]  “They will help to make American students aware that there are many different ways of solving legal problems and of using law to shape public life,” she said.[3] 

While increasing law students’ awareness of the laws of other countries is not wrong, favoring international law as a means to “shape” American jurisprudence is problematic.  Kagan should be questioned as to whether she emphasizes comparative and international law merely to inform law students that “many different ways of solving legal problems” exist around the world, or if she believes lawyers and judges should be trained to use international and comparative law as one way “to solve legal problems” within the U.S.

Kagan’s emphasis on international and comparative law presents yet another similarity to her “judicial hero,” Judge Aharon Barak.  In his book, The Judge in a Democracy, Barak dedicates an entire chapter to discuss the significance of comparative law.  There, Barak states that comparative law is an “important tool” to enable judges to “fulfill their role in democracy.”[4]  Does Kagan consider comparative law an “important tool” for a judge?  If so, how is it to be used?  While dean of Harvard Law School, she viewed comparative law as important enough to support requiring law students to study it.    

Barak also writes: “Comparative law is a tool that aids in constitutional and statutory interpretation... [and] helps the judge better understand the place of interpretation and the role of the judge as an interpreter.  With comparative law, the judge expands the horizon and the interpretive field of vision.”[5]  Would Kagan include comparative law in her “interpretive field of vision” as a Supreme Court Justice?

Aharon Barak, Kagan’s “judicial hero,” says: “Before judges decide their own positions on the issue, they would do well to consider how other legal systems treat the question…[C]omparative law can help judges determine the objective purpose of a constitution.”[6]    As a Supreme Court Justice, would Kagan rely on comparative law to interpret our Constitution?

Barak goes so far as to say that even in the absence of a direct influence of one constitutional text upon another, there still exists “a basis for interpretive inspiration.”[7]  He gives an example of where this interpretation would be proper: to determine “the scope of human rights, resolving particularly difficult issues such as abortion and the death penalty, and determining constitutional remedies.”[8]  In other words, Barak is arguing that judges should look to foreign countries’ constitutions to determine how to rule on important issues, like abortion, under their own Constitutions.  Would Kagan rely on foreign constitutions to “inspire” her judicial opinions on issues like abortion under the U.S. Constitution?   

Barak regrets that judges in the United States have made little use of comparative law.  He urges them to do so.  If confirmed, would Kagan follow Barak’s advice?

Conclusion:

The importance Kagan placed on incorporating international and comparative law into Harvard Law School’s curriculum suggests that Kagan may discount the principal role our Constitution holds in American jurisprudence.[9]  Her admiration of Judge Barak, whose judicial philosophy welcomes comparative law in judicial decision-making, raises further concern that Kagan may embrace comparative law as a method of interpreting the Constitution.  During Kagan’s confirmation hearings, the Senate needs to question deeply Kagan on her view of the role international and comparative law play in a justice’s judicial opinions and in the interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. 

 



[1] Lex Mundi is an organization focused on the local and global practice and development of law.

[2] This speech may be found in the compilation of Kagan’s lectures and speeches put together by the Judiciary Committee at http://judiciary.senate.gov/nominations/SupremeCourt/upload/12D-Part3.pdf.  See also Kagan’s 2008 John W. King Memorial Lecture at the New Hampshire Supreme Court, which also may be found at http://judiciary.senate.gov/nominations/SupremeCourt/upload/12D-Part3.pdf

[3] http://judiciary.senate.gov/nominations/SupremeCourt/upload/12D-Part3.pdf (emphasis added).  

[4] Barak, Aharon, The Judge in a Democracy, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2006: 197.

[5] The Judge in a Democracy, 197.

[6] Id., 197-198.

[7] Id., 201.

[8] Id., 201.

[9] http://judiciary.senate.gov/nominations/SupremeCourt/upload/12D-Part3.pdf

###

Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971.

AUL's legal team has been involved in every pro-life case before the U.S. Supreme Court including the successful defense of the Hyde Amendment. AUL also publishes Defending Life, the most comprehensive state-by-state legal guide of its kind, which is distributed annually to legislators across the nation.

Recently, Americans United for Life detailed the facts on taxpayer-funding of abortion during the debate over federal health care legislation, provided legal assistance to states working to opt out of abortion provisions created by federal health care law, and has played a major role in educating policymakers on the record of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.