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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 25, 2007 / 17 Mar-Cheshvan 5768

Abortion's ‘So-What’ factor

By George Will


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Almost 35 years have passed since the Supreme Court decided to end America's argument about abortion. Because of the court's supposedly therapeutic intervention in the nation's supposedly inadequate democratic debate about that subject, the issue still generates an irritable irrationality that was largely absent before 1973.


Then, America was operating under a regime of moral federalism. In the absence of ukases from the federal judiciary that generate continent-wide eruptions of tension and anger, many states were reexamining their abortion regulations, and many were relaxing them. To sample today's confusions, consider California.


There the electorate so strongly supports abortion rights that no right-to-life candidate for governor, U.S. senator or president has won in California since 1988. This is so despite the fact that a governor, U.S. senator or president has only slight relevance to the status of Californians' abortion rights.


Nevertheless, it is said that if the Republican Party wants to be competitive in California in presidential politics, it must nominate a pro-choice candidate, of which there is only one — Rudy Giuliani. This is almost certainly true. It certainly is irrational because pro-choice Californians have next to nothing to fear — just as pro-life Californians have next to nothing to hope for — from a right-to-life president. The practical consequences of such a president concerning abortion would not differ significantly from Giuliani's consequences. Here is why.


Abortion policy is almost entirely in the custody of the U.S. Supreme Court and will remain so unless or until the court decides to restore moral federalism regarding the issue. On Jan. 20, 2009, when the next president is inaugurated, the court will have one justice in his late 60s (David Souter, 69), four justices in their 70s (Stephen Breyer, 70; Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia, 72; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75) and one 88-year-old, John Paul Stevens. The two who will be oldest, Ginsburg and Stevens, are strong supporters of a constitutional right to abortion. The three who will be youngest — John Roberts, 53; Samuel Alito, 58; Clarence Thomas, 60 — seem unsympathetic to the court's abortion jurisprudence.


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The next president probably will have an opportunity to significantly shape the court, which has frequently divided 5 to 4 on important questions, including abortion issues. But regarding abortion, the reasonable response to this fact from residents of many, perhaps most, states, and especially from Californians, should be a shrug of a question — "So what?"


Suppose Giuliani or some other Republican becomes president and responds to a court vacancy the way all the Republican candidates promise to, with a nominee similar to Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito. And suppose a case gives the court an opportunity to overturn Roe v. Wade. And suppose it does so.


Pause here a moment. This third supposition is somewhat dubious, because one of the justices who thinks Roe was improperly decided might nevertheless reason as Chief Justice William Rehnquist finally did concerning the "Miranda rights" of arrested persons — the right, arising from a 1966 ruling, to be notified of their right to counsel and their right to remain silent. Rehnquist repeatedly and strongly argued that the Constitution, properly read, did not require the ruling, which he thought impeded effective police work. But when in 2000 a case gave the court an opportunity to overrule Miranda v. Arizona, Rehnquist wrote the majority opinion in a 7 to 2 decision upholding it. He wrote:


"Miranda has become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture. While we have overruled our precedents when subsequent cases have undermined their doctrinal underpinnings, we do not believe that this has happened to the Miranda decision."


So, the overturning of Roe might not result from a Republican president's alteration of the court's balance. But suppose it did.


Again, so what? Many, perhaps most, Americans, foggy about the workings of their government, think that overturning Roe would make abortion, one of the nation's most common surgical procedures, illegal everywhere. All it actually would do is restore abortion as a practice subject to state regulation. But because Californians are content with current abortion law, their legislature probably would adopt it in state law.


It is not irrational for voters to care deeply about a candidate's stance regarding abortion because that stance is accurately considered an important signifier of the candidate's sensibilities and sympathies, and of his or her notion of sound constitutional reasoning. But regarding abortion itself, what a candidate thinks about abortion rights is not especially important.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

George Will's latest book is "With a Happy Eye but: America and the World, 1997-2002" to purchase a copy, click here. Comment on this column by clicking here.

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