Judicial strike zone depends on where you’re standing

With the Supreme Court term coming to a close and decisions on major cases starting to flow, Walter Dellinger at Slate takes a look at Stafford United School District v. Redding, a case centered around a 13-year-old girl strip-searched by school officials who suspected she might possess prescription ibuprofen, and links it to the debate over Sonia Sotomayor:

Did this violate her constitutional rights? The relevant constitutional text says: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons … against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”

You can stare at that text for hours, hold it up to the light, even study it under a microscope, and it still won’t tell you which searches are or are not “reasonable.” Precedent is helpful but not dispositive: Prior cases say that school searches cannot be “excessively intrusive.” In making that determination, it is surely useful for a judge to have some ability to understand how intrusive a “pull up your bra and pull out your panties” search might seem to a 13-year-old girl. (Some dare call this quality “empathy.”) It may also be relevant, of course, to have some sense, as well, of the challenges facing school officials and the potential systemic value of bright-line administrative rules (like zero tolerance for drug possession).

The key point is that all of the justices, no matter how they vote, will necessarily consult factors that are not purely and simply “legal.” Senators who urge upon prospective justices an entirely mechanical balls-and-strikes application of law will be hard-pressed to explain how they could decide a case like Redding by legal logic alone.

Later in that same discussion, Linda Greenhouse picks up the Dellinger thread and makes another important point, raising an interview by Justice Ruth Ginsburg a month ago with USA Today:

“In that interview, Justice Ginsburg spoke candidly about her reaction to the Redding case that Walter mentioned — the strip-search of the 13-year-old girl. Noting that her male colleagues had seemed to make light of the incident during oral argument, Justice Ginsburg told Joan Biskupic:

“Maybe a 13-year-old boy in a locker room doesn’t have that same feeling about his body. But a girl who’s just at the age where she is developing, whether she has developed a lot … or … has not developed at all (might be) embarrassed about that.” Justice Ginsburg also observed that “there are perceptions that we have because we are women” and that these different perceptions can sometimes lead to different outcomes.”

The “balls-and-strikes” metaphor cited by Dellinger comes from Chief Justice John Roberts, who in his own confirmation hearings likened a judge’s role to that of a baseball umpire behind the plate. But if the law were really as simple and straightforward as that, we wouldn’t need nine justices arguing about decisions, and we wouldn’t be having so many 5-4 decisions from the court.

As Greenhouse also notes:

“With 65 decisions so far, 18 have been decided by 5-4 votes, and of those 18, 15 have followed the pattern of the same four on one side (Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito) and the same four on the other side (Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg, Breyer), with Justice Kennedy in the middle. These 5-4 cases cover the full range of the court’s docket, from criminal law to administrative law to military law to the meaning of constitutional due process. It’s hard to look down the list of 5-4s without wondering whether psychology rather than ideology might provide a better explanation for this behavior.”

191 comments Add your comment

DB, Gwinnettian

June 23rd, 2009
8:38 am

But if the law were really as simple and straightforward as that, we wouldn’t need nine justices arguing about decisions, and we wouldn’t be having so many 5-4 decisions from the court.

It’s always a hoot, though, hearing conservatives argue that there’s no place for individual judgment when it comes to the process of adjudication.

jt

June 23rd, 2009
8:39 am

Something is not right with anyone that thinks it is alright to strip search a 13 year old girl.
I would suspect that they are on drugs, therefore I would insist on every chief Justice be strip-searched upon entering the supreme court building. Also, mandatory urinylisis.
Also, strip search(full cavity) the idiots that initially searched this girl. EVERYDAY!

jt

June 23rd, 2009
8:41 am

And then whup THEIR azzes.

TnGelding

June 23rd, 2009
8:46 am

It certainly violated her, but did it violate her rights? I would say yes. This entire drug obsession is unreasonable.

The 5-4 decisions trouble me. Is the law that vague or the judges that ideological or psychological? Maybe we should change it where it takes a 6-3 decision, with 5-4s being sent back with instructions for further litigation.

TW

June 23rd, 2009
8:48 am

As long as said search does not interfere with future ability to buy a gun, a drink, a smoke, or anything else that might put coin in the pocket of power, why should the four guards of the market care about a thirteen yr old girl?

DB, Gwinnettian

June 23rd, 2009
8:54 am

I don’t suppose we could make this thread about judicial temperament and not Andy’s need to GFH?

Doggone/GA

June 23rd, 2009
8:58 am

“The whiner is full of bad blood.”

I think it’s a case of projection.

@@

June 23rd, 2009
9:06 am

A thought, jay….women’s equal rights in a sexual revolution. I’m thinkin’ those women had no idea the negative impact it would have on young girls. Maybe in their selfish pursuits, they didn’t care?

Separate but equal?

It do get confusin’, don’t it?

Unintended consequences are something that liberals rarely take into consideration.

RW-(the original)

June 23rd, 2009
9:12 am

Funny how Jay B will tell us some things that top legal minds can’t agree upon are “clearly unlawful” and then suddenly swerve into the real world that law isn’t always quite so definitive when he wants to paint conservative justices as zealots. The question for me is more that the justices look at the circumstances and then apply the law as they see it along with whatever precedent they feel the need to cite, but do so regardless of the societal status of the petitioner.

As far as 5-4 decisions go, cases don’t generally get to the Supreme Court when they’re easy to figure out.

Doggone/GA

June 23rd, 2009
9:13 am

“I’m thinkin’ those women had no idea the negative impact it would have on young girls. Maybe in their selfish pursuits, they didn’t care?”

What does that have to do with violating her Constitutional right against unreasonable search? This isn’t a “women’s rights” issue…it’s a CITIZEN’S rights issue.

Kayaker 71

June 23rd, 2009
9:17 am

Ms G,

Bet you felt the same way about Letterman when he suggested that some overpaid ballplayer had had a turn with Palin’s 14yr old daughter during the 7th inning stretch. But it’s only Palin and she deserves it, being that radical right wing woman who dared to try to run for public office. There’s a special place in hell for the Lettermans of the world and all of those that condone this type of rhetoric that we call funny. We need to protect our young people against some overzealous school “official” who gets carried away with their 15 min of fame and from the “comedians” of the world who use others to try to make themselves good. News flash….. It ain’t working, Dave.

I Report :-) You Whine :-(

June 23rd, 2009
9:18 am

As His Agenda Collapses On Capitol Hill, Obama Hopes For Press Conference Hail Mary Today

NBC’s Chuck Todd: “The honeymoon is coming to an end for President Obama, but it’s not personal. It’s professional, as now the public appears to be judging the president on some of his actions.” (NBC’s “Nightly News,” 6/17/09)-GOP.com

Time to bury this dimwit.

Constitutional Dependents

June 23rd, 2009
9:21 am

Why don’t we just avoid the long, drawn out never-ending court battles and, for an opening salvo, declare abortions to be illegal and enforce whatever punishment the GOP thinks is appropriate. Let’s bring stonings to America, perhaps. Maybe that will appease them at least for a while. Then, we can focus on other GOP favorites such as eliminating the Department of Education. We could limit government involvement in education to training good soldiers. Let’s see. What next. Freedoms! We should all have the freedom to bare arms. In fact, why conceal anything. Let’s just turn America into a nudist country and forgo the need for stripping, for whatever reason. An open America is a good America.

Doggone/GA

June 23rd, 2009
9:23 am

Enter your comments here

TnGelding

June 23rd, 2009
9:27 am

From the biased, liberal media?

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
9:30 am

“Something is not right with anyone that thinks it is alright to strip search a 13 year old girl.”

no, something is REALLY not right when SC Justices MAKE LIGHT of strip searching a 13-year old girl – which was what happened during the hearing.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
9:31 am

@@ –

“equal rights in a sexual revolution. I’m thinkin’ those women had no idea the negative impact it would have on young girls”

wow – so UNEQUAL is preferable??? being treated as second-class citizens is preferable?? being forced to leave your job because your married or pregnant is preferable?? being unable to get credit of your own because you’re not married and therefore don’t have a co-signer is preferable??

WHAT an asinine statement.

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
9:32 am

Enter your comments here

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
9:33 am

DB, Gwinnettian

Do conservatives rally say there’s ‘no’ place for individual judgment? That absolute?

Or, do they say individual judgment should not take priority over precedent and legislation? Or more in line with RW-(the original)’s 8:12

I think the case decided last week – the one wherein an inmate sued the state of Oklahoma for DNA evidence he said would exonerate him and the Court said he had no constitutional right to the evidence – is perhaps a better illustration. Many were outraged that the Court did not impose ‘justice.’ The Court said law supported the states and that states were moving to bring their laws in line with technology. So one side is about a strict interpretation of precedent and law, the other side is about what they think is correct.

Oh, there are three states with such laws. Oklahoma – it figures. Care to guess which other backward, stuck in the past state is another? Uh-huh – Massachusetts!

Jay

The sports example – balls and strikes – I looked for the source of “Some are balls and some are strikes, but they ain’t nothing till I call them.” Took me to Justice Roberts’s confirmation hearings and a fascinating insight into how his mind works. Not quite in the same way most people split. Sen Cornyn related the three variants of the question. The ‘they ain’t nothing till I call them was the third example.
“Well, I don’t know whether it’s a fair question to ask you which of those three types of umpires represents your preferred mode of judicial reasoning. But I wonder if you have any comment about that. “

Roberts: “Well, I think I agree with your point about the danger of analogies in some situations. It’s not the last, because they are balls and strikes regardless, and if I call them one and they’re the other, that doesn’t change what they are, it just means that I got it wrong.”

Hmmm. There is Truth. Just because I call it something else doesn’t mean I saw the essential nature. Interesting.

Doggone/GA 9:13

As Jay pointed out, the law is full of exclusions when it comes to minors and schools.

Kayaker 71

June 23rd, 2009
9:34 am

Constitutional Dependents,

Declaring abortions illegal would make about 1.37M potential American citizens/yr a little more secure about their future, wouldn’t you say? And when you get all pissy about training soldiers, maybe those who protect your way of life would just as soon not protect the likes of you. But they have no choice, now do they? Appeasement is not what most law abiding citizens are looking for…. most would settle for a Congress who spends a lot less and a judicial branch that enforces our laws. We’ll take that for openers.

jt

June 23rd, 2009
9:37 am

This is ridiculous. Iran does not need our help.

Have you been following the Supreme Court case about middle school strip searches? The case stems from a 2003 Arizona middle school incident where a 13-year-old girl was stripped to her skivvies by two female school administrators, who’d been tipped off by another student that the girl had prescription-strength ibuprofen. You know, Advil. But the school officials found absolutely nothing, even after making the child pull aside her bra and panties to check. Now we have the spectacle of Supreme Court justices grappling with “crotching” – yeah, the word was new to us too – and “ick factors,” as incurring audience laughter over their verbal missteps. After Chief Justice John G. Roberts noted that searching a bra for contraband “doesn’t seem as outlandish as the underpants,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer said, “In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day. We changed for gym, O.K.? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear.”

http://www.ibabuzz.com/aparentlyspeaking/2009/04/22/supreme-court-debates-8th-grade-strip-search/

RW-(the original)

June 23rd, 2009
9:38 am

no, something is REALLY not right when SC Justices MAKE LIGHT of strip searching a 13-year old girl – which was what happened during the hearing.

USinUK,

Even when you read Ginsburg’s comments she said they “seemed to” not that “they did” and the convoluted logic she uses to arrive at that observation, that developing 13 year old girls might be embarrassed while she thinks she knows 13 year old boys in the same situation wouldn’t be, is nuts.

If you have some first hand knowledge of what these supposedly insensitive male justices actually did I’d love to hear it.

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
9:39 am

Kayaker 71

I was about to ask Constitutional Dependents if there really is a block of people working to make all abortions illegal, regardless of circumstance and to ask if this wasn’t just another example of ascribing an extreme position to an entire opposition bloc.

Then your 9:34 popped up.

O-kayyyy. I guess now, the question is, is this a case of ask enough people (especially bloggers) a question and you’re sure to find an outlier (which opponents will take as broadly representative) or is it a representative view held by a majority of those who classify themselves as anti abortion?

@@

June 23rd, 2009
9:39 am

DoggoneGA:

Talk to your Senator Feinstein about the Gun Free Schools Act.

“Guns have no place in the hands of our children or in the hallways and classrooms of their schools. Children should be able to go to school without fearing for their safety. Indeed, our schools should be safe havens – places where children are able to escape the violence that engulfs so many of their lives. The time has come to remove guns from the schools of America.”

- Senator Feinstein, August 10, 1994

I’ve never placed a lot of confidence in the judgment of government school officials but obviously Senator Feinstein did.

History of Zero Tolerance

In public schools, “zero tolerance” means that students are quickly suspended or expelled for breaking the law or violating school rules. These policies were initiated on the federal level by the 1994 Gun-Free Schools Act, which responded to several notorious school shootings across the country. The federal law required states to kick out students who brought firearms to school.

Unfortunately, many states and school districts have gone far beyond the federal Gun-Free Schools Act by enacting policies that suspend or expel students for carrying virtually any object that could be considered a weapon, illegal drugs, prescription drugs, and even some drugs available over-the-counter. Some of the most troubling stories and trends have made headlines:

Nationally, students have been subjected to disciplinary action for bringing Midol or Advil to school, bringing a water pistol to school, and taking a slurp of Listerine during school hours. Education Week, October 23, 1996.

In Philadelphia public schools, 33 kindergartners were suspended in 2002 under a tough new discipline policy. The New York Times, December 14, 2002.

An 11-year-old died of asthma because his school’s zero tolerance policy prevented him from carrying an inhaler. The New York Times, November 19, 2002.

In 1998, African-American students comprised 17.1 percent of the student population nationally, but 32.7 percent of those suspended. Racial Profiling and Punishment in US. Public Schools, 2001

Now ‘ya see ^^^ there!….as a result of Feinstein’s legislation, there is now a disparity in how it’s administered. African Americans are being “singled” out.

Maybe you can figure all this out ’cause I’ve quit trying.

Doggone/GA

June 23rd, 2009
9:39 am

“Declaring abortions illegal would make about 1.37M potential American citizens/yr a little more secure about their future, wouldn’t you say?”

No…because a foetus is not a citizen.

Bosch

June 23rd, 2009
9:40 am

Kayaker 71,

Got hyperbole?

jt

June 23rd, 2009
9:41 am

What did I do?

Road Scholar

June 23rd, 2009
9:42 am

Kayaker 71: Letterman did not reference Palin’s 14 yr old in his disgusting joke. Only a conserve would jump to that conclusion. I thought that he was referencing the older daughter, which is still disgusting and uncalled for. He apologized, Palin accepted it, so move on.

IRYW: “Time to bury this dimwit.” Are you offering to off yourself? If not, show some respect to OUR president.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
9:42 am

RW –

“Even when you read Ginsburg’s comments she said they “seemed to” not that “they did” ”

I suggest you read the transcript. I did and was thoroughly outraged.

Mrs. Godzilla

June 23rd, 2009
9:43 am

Kayaker 71

At your earliest convenience please list all of the things that I should think and feel.

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
9:43 am

RW-(the original) 9:38

LOL! This is really great! The most progressive voice on the Court makes a sexist generalization to support her point of view! Males are not as sensitive about their pubescent bodies as are Females. Females get embarrassed. Males have a locker room mentality.”

This is rich! Especially from a woman who raised a daughter and a son.

But she’s progressive, so we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and know she didn’t really mean it.

Constitutional Dependents

June 23rd, 2009
9:45 am

Kayaker 71

Declaring abortions illegal would make about 1.37M potential American citizens/yr a little more secure about their future, wouldn’t you say?

I don’t know. Perhaps, it depends on whether or not you give the parents the death penalty, wouldn’t you say.

And when you get all pissy about training soldiers, maybe those who protect your way of life would just as soon not protect the likes of you. But they have no choice, now do they?

It was a volunteer military, last I checked. Besides, my statement had nothing to do with an educated soldier. I’m quite certain that they are well trained to do what they are supposed to do.

Appeasement is not what most law abiding citizens are looking for…. most would settle for a Congress who spends a lot less and a judicial branch that enforces our laws. We’ll take that for openers.

You seem to think that you speak for a lot of “we’s”. I happen to disagree.

Bosch

June 23rd, 2009
9:45 am

Paul,

You’re too nice – it’s easier to type “got hyperbole?” Saves finger stiffness later.

Have I ever mentioned how good cheesy shrimp grits are, because I’m certainly enjoying my bowl right now.

I rule Andy

June 23rd, 2009
9:48 am

@@ you’re absolutely correct.
David Koresh was staging a “sit-in”, and kids are better off in school with guns.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
9:48 am

RW –

case in point: “In my experience when I was 8 or 10 or 12 years old, you know, we did take our clothes off once a day, we changed for gym, OK? And in my experience, too, people did sometimes stick things in my underwear.” (Shocked silence, followed by explosive laughter.) “Or not my underwear. Whatever. Whatever. I was the one who did it? I don’t know. I mean, I don’t think it’s beyond human experience.”

Breyer saw nothing wrong with a MINOR stripping down to her underwear ““Why is this a major thing to say, ‘Strip down to your underclothing’?” Breyer asked. “How bad is this — underclothes?” ”

Kennedy completely missed the point: “You don’t mind our judging this case as if they were searching for meth?”

TW

June 23rd, 2009
9:48 am

“Unintended consequences are something that liberals rarely take into consideration.”

Iraq much? Voodoo economy much? Deregulate much?

Built-in hypocricy blinders :)

I rule Andy

June 23rd, 2009
9:49 am

I wonder if Justice Thomas was making jokes about “long dong silver”?

sick

ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeee

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
9:50 am

Doggone GA

A bit ago, the editor of Slate was asked, in a discussion of late-term abortions, at what point, if any, in development a fetus deserves any protections.

She would not answer.

Do you have an opinion?

Road Scholar

[[Only a conserve would jump to that conclusion. I thought that he was referencing the older daughter, ]] Really? The joke was “”One awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game,” Letterman said, “during the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.”" I’d offer the people who jumped at the conclusion were people who kept up with events and knew which daughter Gov Palin was with at the game. So it seems only conservatives don’t assume….

But, Letterman said is was a bad joke and he apologized. He said it was his fault. Gov Palin accepted the apology. ’tis over.

Constitutional Dependents

June 23rd, 2009
9:53 am

TW,

Built-in hypocricy blinders

Or, a really major case of denial. Either way, it’s just wrong.

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
9:54 am

G’morning, Bosch!

Too nice? LOL! I’ll bet there’s more than one who would disagree with that. Still and all, it’s all about the discussion.

This is your second day of cheesy shrimp grits breakfast. You’re on a roll. I had to settle for muesli with blueberries.

BTW – how do they raise cheesy shrimp? Is this some genetically altered thing?

Doggone/GA

June 23rd, 2009
9:54 am

“Do you have an opinion?”

Yes, I do. When a foetus as reached the developmental stage where it could be expected to survive outside the woman’s womb any delivery intiated, whether induced or natural, is a birth not an abortion and the living child of that delivery is a citizen.

getalife

June 23rd, 2009
9:54 am

All they had to do was call your parents and get permission when I was in school.

All that for ibuprofen is silly.

But there is good news for American freedom today:

“AP: DHS To End Domestic Satellite Spying Program”

Score one for Harmon.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
9:57 am

Paul –

“A bit ago, the editor of Slate was asked, in a discussion of late-term abortions, at what point, if any, in development a fetus deserves any protections.”

there aready ARE protections – you have to get 2 doctors to say that it’s medically necessary. THAT is a protection.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
9:58 am

“how do they raise cheesy shrimp? Is this some genetically altered thing?”

are “cheesy shrimp” lounge singers with bad hair and shiny suits?

RW-(the original)

June 23rd, 2009
9:58 am

USinUK,

Those sound more like “devil’s advocate” questions to me than they do making light of the situation. The lawyers are saying the girls civil rights have been violated and they better be fully prepared to explain how and why.

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
9:58 am

Doggone GA

Thanks. So a key element is the fetus has to be delivered from the womb?

g’morning, getalife

Great game, wasn’t it? Your Tigers have grit!

Down, Bosch. That’s ‘grit’ not ‘grits.’

getalife

June 23rd, 2009
10:00 am

If you want a public option for health care, these Senators want you to sign their petition:

http://ga3.org/campaign/healthpetition?qp_source=hc%5fhp

It’s easy.

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
10:00 am

USinUK

But the Slate editor wouldn’t even cite that. Interesting, eh?

And I think you have a point about cheesy shrimp…

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
10:01 am

USinUK

Clarification: one could infer the Slate editor wasn’t in favor of those protections. If she was, it was easy to cite. If she wasn’t…

Matilda

June 23rd, 2009
10:01 am

Funny, when GOP suck-up Jay Leno made a joke about Palin’s teenage daughter being pregnant last year, “John Edwards has really done it now!” there was nary a peep of selective outrage. Glad to see that’s over too.

@@

June 23rd, 2009
10:01 am

IRA:

I guess Bill Clinton and Janet Reno viewed the kids at The Branch Davidian compound as guilty by association…not separate but equal to Koresh.

I suppose that’s why they torched ‘em rather than engage in further diplomacy.

T

June 23rd, 2009
10:02 am

Stripped searched a child that “might” have prescription ibuprofen, but corporal punishment is wrong. I don’t get it.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:03 am

@@ –

“I guess Bill Clinton and Janet Reno viewed the kids at The Branch Davidian compound as guilty by association”

wow. so I guess who missed that whole 52-DAY STANDOFF in which the mothers and their kids could have left the building.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:04 am

“who” should have been YOU

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:05 am

RW –

I’m sorry, but laughing about what kids used to put in your shorts in the gym is NOT “playing devil’s advocate” – nor is hysterical laughter.

I think anyone who has a daughter (or nieces, in my case) should be disgusted at the thought that teachers and the administration can strip your loved one on a whim.

Doggone/GA

June 23rd, 2009
10:05 am

“Thanks. So a key element is the fetus has to be delivered from the womb?”

Yes, because up until the foetus is at the developmental stage where it can be expected to survive outside the womb (this allows for a foetus that is not capable of survival without assistance) it is a symbiote of the woman and is completely dependent on her body for survival. Therefore it is not a citizen.

If it were (to bring in the “unintended consequences”) – the woman would be in danger of being tried for murder if she had even a spontaneous abortion. THAT is an untenable position for a woman to be placed in.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:07 am

Paul –

“Clarification: one could infer the Slate editor wasn’t in favor of those protections. If she was, it was easy to cite. If she wasn’t…”

are you talking about O’Reilley and Joan Walsh?? (she’s with Salon – they mis-identified her as being with Slate)

@@

June 23rd, 2009
10:11 am

so I guess who missed that whole 52-DAY STANDOFF in which the mothers and their kids could have left the building.

444 days for American hostages in Iran?

52 days for women and children?

I Report :-) You Whine :-(

June 23rd, 2009
10:13 am

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 33% of the nation’s voters now Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Thirty-three percent (33%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of 0 (see trends).

Seven percent (7%) rate the economy as good or excellent while 59% say it’s poor. A Rasmussen video report

Ahahahaha, party’s over.

bwa

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
10:14 am

Doggone GA

Thanks. Not trying to be difficult or gotcha here, just trying to understand a point of view and how it’s arrived at.

If the fetus is at the developmental stage where it can be expected to survive outside the womb but just hasn’t yet been delivered (delivery can be caused by trauma, such as a car wreck or a fall) is it really ‘completely dependent’ on her body for survival? If not, and I see the symbiotic point, but if not, is the location of the fetus – in or out – really that big a deal if survival is likely?

I do think that in many cases, (make that many, many cases) ‘pure’ science or reason is not adequate. Sometimes people (and lawmakers) just have to say ‘well, I see the contradictions, but my gut reaction is this and that’s what I’m going with.”

out for a bit -

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
10:16 am

USinUK

Just saw your last post. I’m not talking about anyone… because then some here make it about the people, not the idea… and I’m using the descriptor of Slate editor to illustrate it’s a highly educated person (didn’t specify sex) and to question why some avoid answers.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:18 am

“444 days for American hostages in Iran? 52 days for women and children?”

I know that Texas is an odd place, but a sovereign nation it is not. These women and children weren’t being held hostage like the Americans in Iran.

nice try, though.

RW-(the original)

June 23rd, 2009
10:19 am

USinUK,

There’s quite a difference in being disgusted and whether a violation of one’s civil rights has occurred. It’ll be hard to tell what the questioning was really getting to until we see the opinions when the decision comes out, but preemptively attacking the questions sounds to me like somebody thinks those questions weren’t sufficiently answered.

Of course as far as the case is concerned I doubt you and I see much difference. It disgusts me that we citizens stand for anywhere near the level of government intrusion in our lives and the lives of our children that we do.

I rule Andy

June 23rd, 2009
10:19 am

Gosh, all the experts feel the fire was set from within.
I guess your perspective is formed depending on who you believe, right wing extremist conspiracy theorists or the FBI, unless you were ACTUALLY there… were you?

What on heaven and earth does 444 days have to do with guns in schools, or David Koresh??? WOW!

DB, Gwinnettian

June 23rd, 2009
10:21 am

Do conservatives r[e]ally say there’s ‘no’ place for individual judgment? That absolute?

I’d say their nationwide hissy fit over the President’s utterly appropriate use of the term “empathy” (among a long list of qualities he sought in a SCOTUS appointee, by the way, not that conservatives were bothering to listen) would tend to indicate that I was only exaggerating by as much as 3% or so in my assessment, yes.

mm

June 23rd, 2009
10:22 am

Whiner,

Your dream is over. If the economy turns around as expected, you will not only have to spend your next 3 years fantasizing about Obama’s downfall, but you will have to spend the next 7 years doing it.

You also might want to get a little lube for that healthcare suppository you are about to receive.

getalife

June 23rd, 2009
10:22 am

Paul,

LSU is like palin.

They thrive on drama.

Sweep!

Doggone/GA

June 23rd, 2009
10:22 am

“If the fetus is at the developmental stage where it can be expected to survive outside the womb but just hasn’t yet been delivered (delivery can be caused by trauma, such as a car wreck or a fall) is it really ‘completely dependent’ on her body for survival? If not, and I see the symbiotic point, but if not, is the location of the fetus – in or out – really that big a deal if survival is likely?”

Yes, it still matters. BUT, having said that, ANY form of delivery of a foetus at that stage is a DELIVERY, not an abortion. But undelivered, it’s still a foetus, not a baby. When all other things are normal, it’s better for the foetus to remain in the womb until it reaches full 9 months development. And up until that point, yes, it is fully dependent on the woman. If she dies and there is no one there to deliver the foetus, it too will die. THAT is dependence.

“I do think that in many cases, (make that many, many cases) ‘pure’ science or reason is not adequate. Sometimes people (and lawmakers) just have to say ‘well, I see the contradictions, but my gut reaction is this and that’s what I’m going with.” ”

Maybe, I wouldn’t agree or disagree on such a general statement though. Part of the “problem” lies with a pregnant woman’s identification with her developing foetus as her “baby” – which identification is necessary and proper, for her to WANT to endure the pregnancy and to subsequently nurture the child she delivers.

But as a LEGAL issue, you have to – as far as possible – take that emotion out of the equation, because you are dealing with the rights of the woman. It is HER body, HER decision. The foetus has no legal rights because it is totally dependent on HER.

Others might condemn her decision, but it is still HERS and not theirs. And to give an unborn foetus status as a citizen infringes on the woman’s rights – because, as I said before, it leaves her open to being accused of murder if she has even a spontaneous abortion.

@@

June 23rd, 2009
10:22 am

Not trying to be difficult or gotcha here, just trying to understand a point of view and how it’s arrived at.

Not me! I’ve grown weary from trying.

One might say…..(D)sensitized.

Matilda

June 23rd, 2009
10:23 am

I wonder what @@ would tell the families of the four federal agents who were killed doing their JOBS down at Waco. You know, those men who put their lives on the line to enforce laws (laws they do not make) to protect the citizens of this country from heavily-armed crazy cultists who accumulate and molest children while referring to themselves as deities? I suppose Janet Reno should have ordered the other agents to walk away from armed murderers quietly, and the called @@ to visit the familes of the DEAD POLICEMEN to explain that they had no business taking that job in the first place.

Because of course @@ knows everything, and therefore KNOWS without a doubt (crystal ball maybe?) that there’s no way in heck and God’s dusty Texas earth that HEAVILY ARMED COP KILLERS would set fire to their own house before being taken into custody alive, even if the children they molested were inside. I mean, they were definitely going to release those children to their sane relatives on day 53, but Reno (Chelsea’s father, according to McCain) wouldn’t hear of it. Thanks for setting us all straight on history only YOU know, @@!

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:24 am

Paul –

“Just saw your last post. I’m not talking about anyone… because then some here make it about the people, not the idea… and I’m using the descriptor of Slate editor to illustrate it’s a highly educated person (didn’t specify sex) and to question why some avoid answers”

the reason I asked is because, if you’re talking about the Joan Walsh interview, she danced around the subject, but basically said “for the life/health of the mother” (which O’Reilley seemed to agree with). and that is, essentially, the current law that we have now.

:-) just trying to make sure we’re all on the same page

RW –

“Of course as far as the case is concerned I doubt you and I see much difference. It disgusts me that we citizens stand for anywhere near the level of government intrusion in our lives and the lives of our children that we do.”

testify!

In A Gadda Da Vida

June 23rd, 2009
10:25 am

my gut reaction is this and that’s what I’m going with

In a less than perfect world, one might also want to know a little more about the basis behind that “gut” reaction — science or fantasy, for example.

I rule Andy

June 23rd, 2009
10:26 am

If my child were in such proximity to a crime that the shadow of guilt is cast upon them, or is such a disruptive influence in school that the administrators have reason to suspect them of wrongdoing, then the administrators have my permission to do what is neccessary to correct the situation, a little humiliation goes a long way as a deterrent. When I was 17 I got pulled over for an illegal lane change on the way to school, one smart remark later I found myself at the Cobb county jail. It’s been “yes sir” and “no sir” to police officers ever since, and not a single one has tried to “torch me” yet…

Letting kids fail, and little paddling here and there can do wonders for wayward children.

ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Bosch

June 23rd, 2009
10:27 am

Paul,

“BTW – how do they raise cheesy shrimp?”

The mommy shrimp tell the baby shrimp a bunch of goofy knock knock jokes whiles she’s pregnant.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:27 am

wow, Matilda – you just go!!!

getalife

June 23rd, 2009
10:29 am

Not seeing any reaction to Obama closing the doughnut hole gap for Medicare prescriptions.

Thank you President Obama.

Bosch

June 23rd, 2009
10:30 am

“Letting kids fail, and little paddling here and there can do wonders for wayward children”

Can I hear an AMEN?

Not just wayward children, but all children.

I rule Andy

June 23rd, 2009
10:31 am

I’d be willing to bet that @@ believes those 4 federal agents actually shot and killed themselves. Or that it was really Clinton and Reno from a distance with sniper rifles that did it while the agents were harrassing the Davidians as they staged a “sit-in”…

jt

June 23rd, 2009
10:34 am

I’d whup David Koresh too.
He reminds me of John Roberts.

RW-(the original)

June 23rd, 2009
10:34 am

Matilda,

Were I a member of the Clinton administration I would tell those families that I sincerely apologize for appearing to storm the compound to supposedly serve a search warrant two days after the World Trade Center bombing when Koresh could have been arrested without incident in Waco any number of times, but I needed a distraction.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:36 am

Bosch –

re: paddling …

here’s the thing. we had paddling in my elementary school, but the parents had to sign a waiver to allow it. my parents never did – they said that when THEY spank me, it’s out of love. when a teacher/administrator do it, it’s out of frustration – and that’s not something they were comfortable with.

what they always told me was that, if I were to ever get into so much trouble that I would have warranted a paddling, that I would WISH the teacher did it rather than my parents. I never tested that concept – I took them at their word!

Bosch

June 23rd, 2009
10:37 am

RW,

Sooooooooo, Waco was a distraction for the WTC bombing. Okaaaaayyyyyy. Haven’t heard THAT one before.

Doggone/GA

June 23rd, 2009
10:38 am

“If my child were in such proximity to a crime that the shadow of guilt is cast upon them, or is such a disruptive influence in school that the administrators have reason to suspect them of wrongdoing, then the administrators have my permission to do what is neccessary to correct the situation, a little humiliation goes a long way as a deterrent”

Except none of that applies in the case that was before the Supreme Court. She was accused by a classmate and NOTHING “contraband” was found. And there were no real grounds for a search – other than the classmate’s word. She was a good student with no prior issues that needed discipline. Her rights were violated.

Normal

June 23rd, 2009
10:39 am

Kayaker 71

June 23rd, 2009
9:17 am
It’s still called freedom of speech, last time I looked…Just sayin’

Bosch

June 23rd, 2009
10:41 am

USinUK@ 10:36,

I wasn’t so lucky. My teachers frequently broke in many a good paddle with my backside. :-)

RW-(the original)

June 23rd, 2009
10:41 am

Bosch,

I said that’s what I’d say if I were a Clintonista and you know what I think of them, but even stripping out the distraction theory it’s still a fact that Koresh could have been arrested in Waco many times.

Normal

June 23rd, 2009
10:41 am

I Report :-) You Whine :-(

June 23rd, 2009
9:18 am

Time to bury this dimwit.
——–
If you’re talking about Chuck Todd…I agree

I rule Andy

June 23rd, 2009
10:42 am

So… Clinton and Reno bombed the World Trade center now?

Granted, mistakes were made, but in this “nation of laws” we were supposed to do exactly what when confronted with this particular “sit-in”? Now imagine it’s a group of say, Weathermen not peace loving “Lambs of God”…

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:43 am

RW –

“Were I a member of the Clinton administration I would tell those families that I sincerely apologize for appearing to storm the compound to supposedly serve a search warrant two days after the World Trade Center bombing when Koresh could have been arrested without incident in Waco any number of times, but I needed a distraction”

wow – that Clinton guy really WAS squirrelly … first, there was the bombing of the WTC on the 26th, then he hopped back into his WAY-BACK machine several months before he was even elected to get the ATF to start investigating the compound following reports of gunfire. then he jumped forward to Feb 9th to instigate a “sensitive” investigation.

THEN he got the Waco Tribune to run the series about David Koresh, which, in turn, caused the ATF to bump up their raid on the compound by a few days …

all because he needed a distraction.

jt

June 23rd, 2009
10:44 am

And Jeb “baby face” Bush lest he get any ideas.

Shawny

June 23rd, 2009
10:44 am

RW-(the original)

June 23rd, 2009
10:45 am

USinUK,

It’s kind of like the theory that has GWB causing all the top Democrats to rant and rave about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction in 1998.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:45 am

Bosch – I don’t think I should make any comments about your firm backside … it would just be wrong.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:47 am

RW – in 1998, we didn’t have the weapons inspectors on site. in the months before the war, we did – and they were doing their job, they had access to sites they didn’t previously have access to … and they were finding NOTHING

Paul

June 23rd, 2009
10:47 am

Doggone GA

Back a bit, then out again to figure out why the weed whacker keeps dyin’.

[[But as a LEGAL issue, you have to - as far as possible - take that emotion out of the equation, because you are dealing with the rights of the woman.]]

I love this. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve been pummeled and excoriated here, by Liberals, because I’m ‘obviously’ a ‘conservative’ with NO EMOTION? And to read you make that comment… irony!

Thanks again for the explanation of the thought process that led you to your position on this. I’d offer (not for argument, just a consideration) that, as USinUK pointed out, there are some legal protections in place – the two doctor thing. So I see it as a balancing between the mother and the fetus, both of whom, at some point, have (or should have) rights.

USinUK

I didn’t see the interview but read about it. It was a good stepping-off point. It does not seem to me the response you cited answered the question, or it was more of a throw-away line from which to move on. Besides which, if taken as spoken, it meant any rights were solely dependent upon the mother’s health. Which is a backwards step in law, as early on, emotional considerations are a given (the rape/incest exception).

inagadda 10:25

You may want to read up on intuition, imagination, the subconscious and their role in decision-making.

For judges, it’s one thing. For lawmakers, it’s something else entirely. And for bloggers….

Bosch 10:27

Well, that makes perfect sense!

jt

June 23rd, 2009
10:47 am

Gordon Brown.

Bring it.

I rule Andy

June 23rd, 2009
10:48 am

Yes but by 2002 all the inspectors that were actually in Iraq were in complete agreement that there were no WMD’s…

In A Gadda Da Vida

June 23rd, 2009
10:48 am

By the way, is Sarah more concerned about what people say about her knocked up under-aged little ones or about the fact that her under-aged little one got knocked up — whichever one it was that got knocked up. I’m just saying that sometimes a person’s response to a tasteless joke reveals quite a bit.

USinUK

June 23rd, 2009
10:51 am

Paul –

“Which is a backwards step in law, as early on, emotional considerations are a given (the rape/incest exception).” I think emotional considerations (including rape/incest) are included in the health provision … as they should be.

jt –

the only thing Gordon Brown is bringing is a moving van … he’s not going to be in #10 much longer (really, only as long as he can put off a coup or an election … and that’s just a matter of time)

Matilda

June 23rd, 2009
10:52 am

Wow RW, I didn’t know you were a high-level law enforcement officer with years of training and experience, who’s fully qualified to decide from a comfortable distance when and where to arrest whom. So you know for sure that there was no reason to go to the compound, where surely no one was hiding dangerous weapons and explosives? You know that, had they picked the guy up on town, no problems would have ensued, and the followers would have peacefully surrendured their cache? Where the HECK were you, then, when the United States of America needed YOUR expertise with this most complex and tragic situation? Shame on you, leaving it to the less qualified to risk their lives protecting the rest of us!