Wednesday, July 20, 2005


"Does the Constitution recognize and protect an unenumerated right of privacy?"

Craig Crawford explains:
I'll never forget the stunned faces among senators and spectators on the day 15 years ago when Supreme Court nominee David Souter answered that question in the affirmative. It was the first answer of his Senate confirmation hearing, and it showed that he embraced the legal underpinning of Roe v. Wade's protection of abortion rights. Conservatives were furious, never forgiving President George H.W. Bush for naming Souter. Liberals were shocked, but pleased, and many quickly endorsed his nomination. ***

It should be the first question put to President George W. Bush's nominee, John Roberts. If, like Souter, he says yes, then he's unlikely to provide the next vote needed to overturn Roe. If he says no, then abortion-rights activists probably should prepare to take their battle to the states and no longer expect the high court to stand in the way of state legislatures that would outlaw abortions.

And if Roberts refuses to answer the question, or dodges it in some clever way, he should not be confirmed. Anyone seeking to hold a swing vote on such a critical issue owes everyone -- conservatives and liberals -- an answer to that question.
Crawford is a columnist for Congressional Quarterly Weekly and a news commentator for MSNBC and "The Early Show" on CBS.

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