John Medaille vs. Today’s WE MUST HAVE A PROLIFE JUSTICE!!!!! Panic du Jour

John Médaille, who has taught at the staunchly conservative Catholic University of Dallas but who now routinely gets denounced as a “liberal Catholic” for not buying the MAGA bull, sees the shell game. It gets harder and harder to believe MAGA Catholics are blind to what he sees and easier and easier to believe they spend so much time burning up energy defending war on the Church and the least of these because that is what they want to defend, not the unborn. He writes:

Uncomfortable fact: Since Justice Kennedy was confirmed in 1988, the Supreme Court, when at full strength with nine justices, has always had a majority who were either (1) original dissenters from Roe (Rehnquist and White) or (2) appointed by a president who promised to appoint anti-abortion justices (O’Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas, Roberts, Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh). The sole exceptions were the eight-member courts after Scalia died (2016) and Kennedy retired (2018). So why has nothing happened on this issue at the Court? I have yet to hear an answer to this question that will persuade me that appointing anti-Roe justices to the Court should be my primary voting criterion.

And he adds:

As I am writing, support for Amy Coney Barrett or Barbara Lagoa are being treated like litmus tests of Catholic orthodoxy in comboxes across right wing Catholic media. Conversely, left wing media is freaking out that The End of Roe is Nigh!!!!

Here’s reality:

For forty years, GOP appointees to the Court have been asked their view on Roe and for forty years they have said that it is settled law and they aren’t going to overturn it while larval MAGA “prolifers” have winked and nodded to each other that “They have to say that in order to get appointed, but we all know they are liars like us and they’ll strike it down, just you wait”.

Then, these GOP nominees get appointed and surprise! Roe stays in place and even gets more entrenched with Casey at precisely the moment the court is literally an 8-1 GOP majority with the one Dem being prolife.

And yet the MAGA “prolife” cult, being People of the Lie, go on lying to themselves that the outlawing of abortion is just around the corner. Most recently, both Trump appointees have declined–multiple times–to address Roe, but the Cult goes on lying to itself that Trump is the Most Prolife President Ever, even as he raises Planned Parenthood funding to record heights. This kabuki is about to play out again.

When it’s all over and if, God forbid, Trump is re-elected (or even if he’s not) what the MAGA “prolife” Cult will have to show for all their efforts will be an intact abortion regime and (by this time next year) more killed by Trump’s negligent homicide of Pandemic victims than all the dead of the Civil War.

The prolife movement has committed suicide for this crook. And for what? For what?

For this:

Many Catholics (and anti-Catholics) are freaking out over Amy Coney Barrett’s personal piety. I could not care less about it. What I care about is her views on the Constitution. She is leery of the 14th Amendment:

Her writings reflect an originalist approach to the Constitution. This means that she would seek to interpret the Constitution according to its “original public meaning” – which, in Barrett’s own words, arguably calls into question the constitutionality of the Fourteenth Amendment, the validity of Brown v. Bd. Of Ed., and the use of paper money. This approach could have serious implications for how Barrett, who served as a law clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia, would rule in cases involving civil rights and reproductive rights, among other issues.

The Cult, being monomaniac heretics, Pavlovianly respond to the acoustic cue “abortion” and believe Salvation is here. Plus, she’s Catholic, so that means any doubts about her can only proceed from a corrupt babykilling heart of evil, such as my own.

But those of us living in reality understand that, particularly under the rule of this racist GOP cult of death, what is primarily threatened by this wack notion of the unconstitutionality of the 14th Amendment…

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

…is not Roe, but every brown person and immigrant the white supremacist nuts running the GOP want to walk over. It’s the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act, the Affordable Care Act.

That’s not all the 14th says, but that’s the real reason Trump wants her, not abortion.

Right now, the MAGA “prolife” Cult is fully engaged in the attempt to defend ICE agents performing mass sterilizations on refugee women. They don’t give a fig for the sanctity of human life. They are about the exercise of raw nihilist, racist power by the GOP for its own ends. The unborn long ago ceased to be anything but human shields for that. It will be a Court that enables such raw authoritarian rule by a rich white racist minority, not a Court that has the slightest interest in abortion, that will be Trump’s sole focus. And the MAGA “prolife” People of the Lie will be fully committed to that even when that court fails to deliver for them for the umpteenth time.

In 2016, “prolife” MAGA cultists at least had the excuse of saying that Trump was untried, so what the hell? But four years later, they have no excuses left but are, if possible, even more committed to the embrace of evil for the sake of power. There is nothing left but to defeat them.

Vote Dem from President to dog catcher this year. Do it early and make sure your vote is counted by delivering it directly to wherever your community collects ballots.


20 Responses

  1. First what the MAGA cults seems to miss us that overturning Roe v. Wade only moves the decision yo the state level so there will be states that allow abortion and those that do not. The status quote will not change. The anti-fourteenth amendment has been evident since the Roberts court gutted the Voting Rights Act; it has been evident with every passing attempt to have the Affordable Care Act overturned. It is more than apparent that the MAGA cult has wanted to curtail Civil Rights For all non-Northern European white males.
    You have no concern about the piety of Barrett, I do. I do because she seems to fly in the face of Catholic teaching, but claims that the church and what it teaches influences her judicial understanding. I have the same concern about Bill Barr and his “adherence”to Catholic teaching. It is this, what appears to me to be hypocrisy, that drives me to distraction or at times despair. And despair is what the “leaders” of the MAGA cult wants, because it is despair that names people give up.

    1. @ andy
      from the Justice Department website…

      Attorney General William P. Barr has directed the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to adopt a proposed Addendum to the Federal Execution Protocol—clearing the way for the federal government to resume capital punishment after a nearly two decade lapse, and bringing justice to victims of the most horrific crimes. The Attorney General has further directed the Acting Director of the BOP, Hugh Hurwitz, to schedule the executions of five death-row inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in our society—children and the elderly.

      “Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President,” Attorney General Barr said. “Under Administrations of both parties, the Department of Justice has sought the death penalty against the worst criminals, including these five murderers, each of whom was convicted by a jury of his peers after a full and fair proceeding. The Justice Department upholds the rule of law—and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.”

      1. @ Ben
        I guess it depends on what rule of law and who it applies to. And Barr obviously us acting so Christ like that he deserves the Christifideles Laici award. I find that the “radical traditionalists” Wing of the church to be at best odious but more really truly hypocritical, the types of people Jesus had the greatest disdain for

    2. I share your concern, Andy. Barrett’s is less pious than she is radicalized. Her faith is formed in a secretive hybrid sect outside of the jurisdiction of even the most conservative Catholic bishops. The public will have no access into what or whom she is covenanted to and how these vows will impact her rulings. The fact that she is seen as ‘the one’s even before any hearings take place is evidence that she will be used as a hammer.

      Also, if she were truly a person of integrity who values the Constitution over politics, she would decline the nomination until after the election.

  2. It is not the primary duty of Christians to make abortion or euthanasia or poverty illegal. It is one of the duties of Christians to change the culture so that abortion and euthanasia and poverty are intolerable. We aren’t going to accomplish any of that in the voting booth.

  3. You had me until you said Barrett, as an originalist, “is leery about the 14th Amendment.” That’s a ludicrous caricature of originalism. Please. More Medaille and less National Women’s Law Center hysteria.

      1. I clicked through to the NWLC article, and then clicked on the link in their article that purported to cite Barrett’s own words. I didn’t read her entire paper, but to my eye NWLC added the 14th amendment bit. It seemed to me that, when Barrett wrote that being an originalist would “arguably” cast doubt on those cited decisions, she was setting up a discussion for why an originalist would not in fact need to revisit them.

  4. Great column, Mark!

    The most important point is this idea that the 14th amendment is somehow unconstitutional. If that is what she truly believes, then she is truly unfit to serve on the Supreme Court. The 14th amendment is a part of the constitution, and was created by constitutional means provided to create it.

    Buy that kind of argument, the 13th amendment, which banned slavery, is also unconstituonal, so only white people need apply. So is the 19th amendment, which gave people like her the right to vote.

    But of course, original intent is all a sham in any case. If original intent were an actual criterion, the right to bear arms would be limited to militia, and also limited to single shot muskets.

    Why don’t we call the current state of republicanism what it most certainly is: power for white, heterosexual, conservative Christians, and what is left over for everyone else..

  5. As I understand it, Mark, the criticism regarding the 14th Amendment and such does not accurately represent how ACB is likely to rule.

    In an academic paper she acknowledges that originalist judges have a duty to face the objection that the theory would lead, for example, to reaffirmation of racial segregation. Her claim, though, is clearly that honest originalism does *not* in fact lead to the conjectured bad outcomes, so the reductio ad absurdum argument against it fails.

    “No one is likely to ask the Supreme Court to rethink arguably nonoriginalist decisions like the constitutionality of the Social Security Administration, paper money, or segregated public schools—and if anyone did ask, the Court would deny certiorari….

    “Originalists have been pressed to either acknowledge that their theory could generate major disruption or identify a principled exception to their insistence that judges are bound to enforce the Constitution’s original public meaning…. If an honest originalist must reject precedent in situations like [the ones listed] (assuming she decides that they are indeed unconstitutional), adherence to originalism is a recipe for folly, ending in electoral failure. If honest originalism does not require this result, the originalist must say why.”

  6. Nowehre else to put it. Ya got trouble, right here in River City, with a capital T and the rhymes with C and that stands for covid denying priests who really ought to know better. It also stands for Cordileone, our local archbishop.

    Earlier this month, Rev. Robert Altier, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis in Minnesota, told his congregation that the death toll for COVID-19 was a “lie.” He also insisted the virus was made in a lab in the U.S. and China.

    How ignorant were his remarks? Archbishop Bernard Hebda had to issue a statement just oozing with passive aggression:

    The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is blessed with many fine priests. We have reason to expect them to teach the truth of the Gospel, faithfully passing on the teachings of our Church. None of our priests or bishops, however, is an expert in public health, infectious disease, epidemiology or immunology. It would be a mistake to attribute any expertise in these areas to us simply on the basis of our ordination.
    Hebda said Altier simply agreed he shouldn’t have been offering his insane opinions during a sermon, but there was no further punishment for spreading the dangerous myths. Not even a slap on the wrist.

    Not that it’s news, but this is where your church is more and more appearing to be a branch of the GOP.

    1. Sorry, my fingers are not working properly. Long story. 12 miles long.

      I should have ended with… “it is beginning to appear that the right to life in the Catholic Church ends at birth. after that, just ask your priest and his bishop for medical advice.”

      Do i sound angry? you bet I am. The mother of the murderer of two people, and accessory to his crimes, got a standing ovation from a GOP women’s group. Hurrah for Wendy Rittenhouse! hurrah for the GOP! The PARTY OF LIFE!

  7. I agree with Medaille’s point. I also agree that Amy Barrett should be assessed on her legal views. However, the source of your caricature of her as being prepared to abandon the 14th amendment apparently comes from some political pundit’s amateur assessment. The underplayed qualifier “arguably” means she apparently wrote an academic article discussing the possible “tensions” between originalism and how to interpret subsequent developments – would love to see the full article where she discusses these matters as academics do (it’s what they “do”). I suggest the following two articles written by people with actual legal training and expertise are a better source to educate yourself and your readers about her approach.

  8. Off topic, but related to the Supreme Court, this is from a disqus comment (which I take was copied from elsewhere) that caught my attention, and I thought was worth sharing:

    It’s disheartening to see the “Pro-life” response to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. It’s clear the folks who think RBG was a vehement “baby killer” have never heard the name Susan Struck.
    In the 60s & 70s, before Roe v. Wade, abortion was not only legal on US military bases, it was actively ENCOURAGED and basically mandated. Yes, really.
    Captain Susan Struck was a combat nurse in Vietnam. When she got pregnant in 1970, the Air Force starkly gave her two choices. Get an abortion or be discharged. Struck wanted to keep her baby. So she was kicked out of the service.
    When she got back to the US, Struck sued the US Government for putting women in such a horrible position that they had to choose between either not being able to serve their country or getting an abortion that they didn’t want.
    Do you know which ACLU lawyer took her case and got the military to change their policy?
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg
    Ginsburg approached this case with the same tenacity she would later use to help Congress draft the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978. In the dark days after Roe in 1973, it was perfectly legal for employers in many states to put women in the same situation that Struck was put in -“deal with your pregnancy” or suffer the consequences of a lost job.
    Ginsburg fought for the rights of women to choose life. She also fought for the rights of women to be able to work without discrimination, purchase homes, have bank accounts, and a myriad of other things that make it easier for women in desperate situations to choose life in the first place.
    Life is never as black & white or simple as it looks through a myopic lens. It’s never either/or. There are always “ands” and “buts” to everything.
    So before you paint Justice Ginsburg as some satanic villain, at least acknowledge the many abortions that likely DIDN’T happen because of her tireless advocacy for women and families.
    Copied and pasted with pleasure.

    I think many people fail to realize that taking away a woman’s right to choose doesn’t mean abortion goes away, it just means that the state gets to decide instead, and as we’ve seen by the precedents set both in the past and in recent times, that can go either way.

  9. And yet you have this:
    I must say it was a very weak episode.
    An alarmist response if there ever was one. He’s obviously suggesting (or up front announcing) that the Supreme Court will now definitely overturn Roe, but made absolutely no mention that it was a GOP-appointed Supreme Court that decided in favor of Roe, and he didn’t mention Casey at all.
    I’m surprised that John Oliver didn’t mention that Mitt Romney was lying since the Supreme Court was appointed primarily by Republicans, and then even some Justices appointed by Democrats were conservative leaning for the last few decades, but I guess that would derail his argument.
    That said, the core of his argument falls apart because he’s convinced the real dangers are in the undemocratic processes that Democrats are expecting to happen, while the real danger is far more subtle and more to do with the Supreme Court being able to strike down any bill that unfavorable to Republicans. While you can argue it’s undemocratic and abusive, it doesn’t break any rules and it’s exactly how it was used in the past, since it’s the prerogative of the Supreme Court to moderate extreme laws.

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