Sunday, January 26, 2014

Pope Blackmun And The Anniversary Of Roe

I wanted to wait out the week in an attempt to see what kind of media coverage the March for Life would get. I basically saw nothing of note from any of the usual broadcast suspects. There was this interesting riposte to Pope Francis (or whoever the Twitter underling is) for daring to tweet his support for the cause.

Most of the "reporting" on the anniversary spoke about how it's a landmark decision (which it is) and a triumph of women's rights (which it isn't) and how terrifying it is to see this alleged right under assault (which is abominable considering we're weighing this mythical assault against corpses of 50+ million dead babies).

However, I wanted to focus on a slightly different aspect of the story, namely that of Roe v. Wade as "settled law." We usually hear this trope on the anniversary but also whenever there is a Supreme Court nomination that comes up. I know this was discussed for Justices Sotomayor, Roberts, and Alito. I don't recall it being an issue with Kagan.

Of course, this "settled law" business isn't even true from a legal standpoint, with the Casey decision probably being the most famous example of how unsettled the Roe opinion is. Looking at it another way, though, consider that this fanatical devotion to the illusory rights in Roe actually reflects something very interesting in the pro-abortion crowd.

They actually believe in personal infallibility.

Oh sure, it's not papal infallibility. What they've granted to Justice Blackmun, author of the original Roe opinion, is actually far, far more exalted than even what Catholics ascribe to the Pope.

First, there is no doubt about whether or not what Justice Blackmun wrote is truly an infallible statement. Typically, there is some debate among Catholics about what counts as ex cathedra, as evidenced by Cardinal Ratzinger's response to this question when Ordinatio Sacredotalis came out. Justice Blackmun garners no such scrutiny.

Second, reformed positions by the expository entity are not infallible. The Supreme Court has altered Roe on a number of occasions as mentioned above. Holdings that are restrictive of Roe are automatically decried as tragedies and open up hysterical rhetoric the like of which is not seen in even the most heated political discourse. In other words, it isn't the Supreme Court that is infallible. It's Justice Blackmun. For an example of the aforementioned rhetoric, read his dissent in Casey. The man sounds insane.

Third, the Pope cannot make up new stuff. He can't just ex cathedra his way into a fourth person of the Trinity, for example. Justice Blackmun's powers granted him the ability to create ex nihilo, a new right, heretofore unknown, that is elevated to a status above all other rights, to the extent that one is considered unfit for a Supreme Court seat if they do anything other than re-affirm Blackmun's infallibility.

Third, there is nothing in jurisprudence that can ever be really called settled. Except here. Is there another Supreme Court case that gets the "settled law" treatment the way Roe does? Other areas of the law are in constant flux, even if the Court is obviously struggling with ways to maintain the principles of the original case law (any establishment clause case, substantive/procedural due process, the Commerce Clause, etc). What other area is so vehement in its brooking of no dissent?


Because it cannot be conceived, imagined, or even pondered that Justice Blackmun, speaking for the confreres of the plurality opinion, could be wrong. It is impossible. Dissenters are worse than heretics and must be silenced and destroyed post haste, sans the vaunted dialogue and tolerance that is normally touted by those of pro-abortion philosophical stock.

Who would have thought? We've had 266 popes. Apparently, none of them have been infallible. It only took 97 Supreme Court justices to find an infallible one.

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