Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Bush's Legacy in the Courts

We're all painfully aware that George W. Bush's appointments to the Supreme Court have turned it far to the right, and that another Republican administration may do irreparable damage. Lest we forget, Bush has brought the federal appeals courts to the far right as well. The Supreme Court gets far more attention, but it is in the appeals courts that more decisions are made.

Republican-appointed judges, many of them conservative ideologues, now hold the majority in 10 of the 13 circuits. Democratic appointees hold a slim majority in only one. While Republicans decry what they call "legislating from the bench", it is Bush's appointees who have upheld South Dakota law that forces doctors to inform women that abortions “terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being” — using exactly that language. For more detail, check out the front-page article in today's New York Times.

Democrats have a filibuster-proof Senate majority in sight this election. Less than a week to go... it's critical to keep the pressure on!

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Another interesting aspect of the courts' impact on South Dakota abortion laws are that the proponents of the 2006 abortion ban, passed by the state legislature and then rejected by the people of the state, freely admit that the ban written specifically to be heard by the courts. They consciously chose to leave out exceptions for situations such as rape, incest, life of the mother, and health of the mother, even though the individual proponents agreed they might be in the best interests of South Dakotans. Why? Because the ban was written to help the courts challenge Roe v Wade, and those exceptions would have made that legal case difficult to argue.