Anthony Kennedy on abortion: steady as Jell-O

This fall the U.S. Supreme Court will be tackling partial birth abortion again. Two cases overturning the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 will get a final hearing, and we’ll get to see where our two newest Justices stand on abortion. SCOTUSblog has posted a summary of what’s in dispute. I dug up the published opinions from both Courts of Appeals, so you don’t have to rely on the mainstream media to tell you what’s in them (both are Adobe PDF files):

8th Circuit:
Gonzales v. Carhart
9th Circuit:
Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood
(Kook Warning: this is a Judge Reinhardt opinion!)

Here’s the conventional wisdom on who supports the ban on partial birth abortions:

SCOTUS vote prediction

Kennedy is the wild card here. While he’s pro-abortion in general, he joined the conservatives in the Court’s first crack at partial-birth abortion (too bad there were only three plus Kennedy, because they lost):

The Court’s decision today, in my submission, repudiates this understanding by invalidating a statute advancing critical state interests, even though the law denies no woman the right to choose an abortion and places no undue burden upon the right. The legislation is well within the State’s competence to enact.

Justice Kennedy, dissenting
Stenberg v. Carhart

Kennedy’s dissent encourages pro-lifers and hints that he might join the conservatives again this time around. Unfortunately, it was also written six years ago. Kennedy has been sliding steadily leftward during his tenure on the Court, and it’s anybody’s guess how much “evolving” or “growing” he’s done since 2000. With Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement, he has assumed the role of the swing voter, and that kind of power is very seductive to any Justice with no discernable judicial philosophy.
There’s plenty of reason to worry. In an abortion case eight years before he confronted partial-birth abortion, Kennedy penned this doozy:

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.

The man’s unpredictable. He overturned a state constitutional amendment denying special rights for homosexuals because he deemed it “inexplicable by anything but animus.” Magic 8-ballHe overturned an anti-sodomy law. He agreed with Justice Scalia that juveniles should be eligible for the death penalty … but then he flip-flopped. He opposed the McCain/Feingold muzzle on free speech. He supported government redistribution of private property. He opposed a federal anti-gun-possession law. He supported ending the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election. He upheld Oregon’s institution of doctor-assisted suicide.
Enough! My brain hurts. If anyone can assemble Kennedy’s opinions into a coherent judicial philosophy, it’ll be news to me. For all we know he uses a ouija board to help him decide.
So will Anthony Kennedy object to infanticide again? I can’t shake the sinking feeling that it all depends on how much his wife values those cocktail party invitations from Washington’s liberal “in crowd.”

Aftermath of the Nick Berg video

The Nick Berg tsunami is receding here. My traffic is back down in the neighborhood of 3,000 visits per day. Now what?
A few days ago, I speculated that the huge online demand for the Nick Berg video signaled that Americans have snapped out of their torpor and have remembered who we’re fighting and why it’s critical that we win. Looking back, I think I was being optimistic.
The big media continue to downplay the Nick Berg story (except for his father’s bizarre anti-Bush statements) in favor of the abuses at Abu Ghraib. The demand for the video has dropped sharply. I don’t hear politicians talking about Nick Berg. Conclusion: even though lots of people have seen or heard Nick’s murder by Islamists, not enough of us care enough to contact our politicians or our local newspapers to demand that our leaders wake up and start helping the war effort. Liberal politicians and their enablers in the major media will pounce on anything that paints George Bush in a bad light, but if a news item is likely to help Bush or support his policies and arguments, it doesn’t get covered.
Today, we have confirmation of Sarin and Mustard Gas in the hands of terrorists. Again. Will this be shunted aside in a day or two? I’m betting it will.

UPDATE: Sgt. Stryker thinks the Nick Berg traffic tsunami and the disappearance of the Nick Berg story from the mainstream media aren’t as significant as we right-wing bloggers think. The Nick Berg story’s over, you see, and the Abu Ghraib story continues with courts-martial and Congressional investigations. No bias here, folks, move along.
Uh huh.
Stryker also ascribes our interest in the differing coverage of the Abu Ghraib and Nick Berg stories to an overwhelming urge to view everything through the prism of “how it affects President Bush’s re-election”:

See, not everything is about Bush and the War, although like the “Anybody But Bush” crowd, the Right has lost the ability to perceive any information outside the context of Bush. Facts either hurt Bush or help him. The Left magnifies those things that they believe hurt Bush’s chance at re-election, and the Right does the opposite. The Abu Ghraib scandal is a prime example. Almost immediately, most on the Right began the type of equivocation common to the Left since 9/11. Now with the Nick Berg story, they can downplay Abu Ghraib and focus on something that they think supports Bush. This has nothing to do with principle, what’s right, or even what’s actually going on. It’s about politics. It’s about keeping Bush in office or trying to kick him out.

I’m not buying Stryker’s explanation. I might post something on this later, if his theory gets enough traction.
UPDATE 2: For information on the beheading of Paul Johnson … click.

Islamists love to chop heads

Nick Berg’s slaughter by decapitation was not unusual for the Religion of Peace™:

Berg is, of course, not the first to be murdered in such a gruesome manner. Nor, alas, is he likely to be the last. For the cutting of heads (in Arabic, qata al-raas) has been the favorite form of Islamist execution for more than 14 centuries.
In the famous battles of early Islam, with the Prophet personally in command of the army of believers, the heads of enemy generals and soldiers were often cut off and put on sticks to be shown around villages and towns as a warning to potential adversaries.


UPDATE: Here’s a case in point.

Nick Berg video: a wake-up call

As news of Nick Berg’s horrifying decapitation by Islamists reaches more and more Americans, I detect a shift in attitude. Radio commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, Sean Hannity, and others have been quietly irate today, and their callers are voicing fury at the entire Middle East. Newspapers are joining the call. For the first time in my memory, ordinary people are mentioning nuclear weapons as a possible response to the Islamist cancer infecting the world … and they’re not throwing in many caveats about protecting civilians and avoiding collateral damage.
That’s sobering.
I don’t think for a minute that President Bush is anywhere near considering the use of nukes in this war, thank God. But I think America is getting her back up again, with a seriousness not seen since 9/11. Average Americans have just seen an innocent countryman get his head sawed off by hooded Islamist goons, despite our media’s reluctance to show any footage that paints Islam in an unflattering light. Combine that with our media’s eagerness to splash pictures of the abuses at Abu Ghraib committed by a small segment of our soldiers, and the Democrats’ and leftists’ grandstanding accusations about our moral shortcomings being equivalent to the enemy’s calculated evil … well, the average American is quickly getting fed up.
Fed up with our delay in finishing this fight.
Americans are awake again. We’re again reminded of who we’re fighting and why, and we’re again getting a grip on what’s at stake. Lileks sums it up nicely:

Hugh Hewitt asked the big question tonight: of the world’s billion-plus Muslims, how many support the butchers who hacked the head off the Pennsylvania contractor? One percent? Ten? Either number stands for a lot of people. I was walking Jasper Dog while listening to the show, and a few thoughts popped up.
There are five reactions one could have to such acts, committed by a coreligionist: Endorsement, Indifference, Denial, Rejection, Participation.
Denial: I’m sure you’ve heard this before: “Islam is a religion of peace.” But those people committed horrible violence in the name of Islam. “Then they are not true Muslims. No Muslim could do this.” Rinse, repeat. It’s the theological equivalent of putting your hands over your ears and humming loudly.
Rejection: This would be speaking out singly or in concert with fellow Muslims, denouncing the acts without making the entire peroration an elaborate plinth on which to place the word “BUT.”
Indifference: I’m a Muslim in Indonesia. I work in a bank. I’m not particularly devout. I like a beer on a hot day, and you know what? They’re all hot days. Some guys slit someone’s throat in Iraq. I think that’s wrong and I think that’s stupid. And what do you expect me to do about it?
Endorsement: I’m not sure what constitutes endorsement — silent pleasure among others not of the faith, chortling delight when you’re with friends. Or perhaps nothing more than thanking Allah when you hear certain things have been done in Allah’s name, and never acting or speaking a way that supports the jihadist’s cause.
Participation. It’s obvious what this means.
Here’s the crux: of these five aspects, four assist the jihadists in one form or another, and the fifth — Rejection — all too often takes a passive form. Hugh had a Somali Muslim on his show from Minneapolis; they spoke for almost 40 minutes, and the guy’s heart was in the right place. He sounded like a decent fellow. He said the Imam of his mosque regularly preached against the nutball Islamists. One hundred million more like him, please. But where are the rallies and marches outside the Saudi embassies demanding an end to funding extremism?

The Islamists have made a terrible mistake. They’ve again begun to unite us in revulsion for their savage and primitive aims, and they’ve underestimated the West’s will to respond with terrifying violence. Some on the other side are beginning to realize they’ve overreached, but I’m starting to think it’s too late to extinguish our anger.
The Islamists stuck their necks out by gambling on our reputation for self-restraint, and it’s high time we decapitate them.

UPDATE: For information on the beheading of Paul Johnson … click.

Forced evolution in the war of ideas

Hat tip: Whomping Willow
Bill at INDC Journal understands the stakes in our battle with the Islamofascists:

The mid-term survival of the United States is dependent upon pressing our advantage and changing the world while we still have overwhelming economic and military dominance, which takes more than a few years’ patience. This paradigm will shift drastically within this century, perhaps within a generation or two, as innovation lowers the boundaries to terribly destructive technology. At that point, it’s likely that the world may be doomed anyway, but literally our only hope may be the previously forced evolution of most corners of the earth towards pluralistic, democratic societies that will naturally marginalize extreme elements.
If you were horrified by what that small group of men did with a knife and a video camera, ponder what they yearn to do with highly efficient chemical agents, nuclear material or future nanotechnology. There is no exit strategy in Iraq, merely victory or defeat in the first or second round of a lifelong, messy epic battle — civilization vs. those that wish to destroy it. It’s going to be ugly, it’s going to involve defeats and it will not be politically expedient. Pick sides and fight, feel free to examine and question tactics, but don’t for a second think that ignoring the war or withdrawing from individual battles will make its consequences disappear. Our political leadership needs to refocus the American electorate on the gravity of this struggle and the sacrifice that it demands, for the only thing that can defeat us at this stage of the game is flagging political will.

The forced evolution of the Middle East is exactly what we must achieve to survive. I’ve said before that it’s too late to tuck tail and run, even if we wanted to. If we pull back and put our trust in anyone but ourselves, the Islamofascists will get their hands on technology that will level the military playing field. They’ve already plotted a chemical attack in Jordan that could have killed 80,000 people if they had not been found out. We have the military advantage now, and we must exploit it while it lasts. We are nearly out of time to keep this a conventional, non-WMD fight.
From the point of view of these savages, the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib is a wonderful propaganda tool, a handy excuse that they know they can use to hoodwink the western leftists in the media and in the Democrat Party (led by Teddy Kennedy). The enemy can’t defeat us; only we can defeat ourselves. They are counting on that to give them the time they so desperately need.
The abuse at Abu Ghraib was a great moral wrong, so we’ve admitted it, apologized, and we’re working to prevent a repeat. We are not a perfect country, but we’re still the last best hope of civilization. We can’t allow our dismay over our faults to weaken our resolve in the face of a brutal horde intent on slaughtering us.
Face the facts. The Islamists will not stop until we kill them all. They’ve been coming after us for decades now, and they don’t respond to negotiation and goodwill and warm fuzzy thoughts. They. Want. Us. DEAD.
Now’s not the time to go wobbly. It’s time for us to buck up and get back to fighting the enemy, not ourselves.

Interesting choice of words, al-Sadr

Normally, I disregard all Arab pronouncements/declarations/speeches as the overblown dreck they are, but the latest slavering rant by Muqtada al-Sadr caught my eye.

”I call upon the American people to stand beside their brethren, the Iraqi people, who are suffering an injustice by your rulers and the occupying army, to help them in the transfer of power to honest Iraqis,” al-Sadr said in a statement issued by his office in the southern city of Najaf.
”Otherwise, Iraq will be another Vietnam for America and the occupiers,” the statement said.

Now where do you suppose this unlettered savage got the idea to invoke Vietnam? Oh yeah … thanks, Teddy.