Bench Memos

Searching for Common Ground

Taking President Obama at his word, when he called for people to seek “common ground” on abortion and to reduce its incidence, law prof Michael Stokes Paulsen of Minnesota’s University of St. Thomas propounds five questions for the president at MoralAccountability.com.  Each is a challenge to President Obama to live up to his own stated desires.  Here’s part of Paulsen’s fifth challenge to Obama:

Mr. President, it would go a long way to demonstrating your seriousness in seeking common ground if you would nominate for this seat someone who does not have a previously announced commitment to abortion rights and support for Roe v. Wade. David Souter famously had no previously stated views on this issue before being named to the Court. Mr. President, if you are serious in seeking common ground, will you commit to naming no one to the Supreme Court based on a pro-abortion or pro-Roe litmus test, or who has previously committed himself or herself to such a position?

This is a perfectly reasonable request to make of someone who has said what Obama has said.  What’s more, the failure to meet this challenge would provide a perfectly good ground for senators to vote against a nominee.  “Vote nay on a committed pro-abortion jurist” is an obvious, a just, and an effective rallying point in response to the president’s nomination, if he doesn’t meet Paulsen’s challenge.

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

Most Popular

PC Culture

‘White Women’ Becomes a Disparaging Term

Using “white men” as a putdown is no longer extreme enough for the Left. Now it is moving on to doing the same for “white women.” How rapidly this transpired. It was less than two years ago that the approximately 98.7 percent of white women working in media who were openly rooting for Hillary Clinton ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The World Keeps Not Ending

We were not supposed to have made it this far. George Orwell saw night descending on us in 1984. Orwell was, on paper, a radical, but in his heart he was an old-fashioned English liberal. He dreamed of socialism but feared socialists. He feared them because he knew them. I was in the sixth grade in 1984, but I ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Beatification of Beto

The media’s treatment of Texas Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke wasn’t the most egregiously unfair coverage of the past year -- that would be the treatment of Brett Kavanaugh -- but it ranks among 2018’s most annoying. The endless glowing profiles of O’Rourke in every publication from Vanity Fair to ... Read More
Culture

A Free People Must Be Virtuous

Dear Reader (Even those of you who didn’t seem to notice or care that I failed to file this “news”letter on Friday), So I’m sitting here at Gate C6 at O’Hare waiting for my flight home. I am weary, pressed for time, in desperate need of a shower, and filled with a great sense of dread for the work ... Read More