On Supporting Abortion Rights

Published: PolicyMic (February 28, 2012), As Quoted in an Obama Presidential Campaign Commercial (April 27, 2012 at the 1:07 mark)

A new bill proposed by Pennsylvania Representative Kathy Rapp would require any woman seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound. During this procedure, the doctor would be forced to put the view screen in her field of vision so she could see the fetus and observe its heartbeat. Although she’d have the right to close her eyes, there is no doubt that this ordeal would still put her through an exceptional amount of psychological and emotional stress.Then again, perhaps she should be grateful that the people trying to diminish her ability to make lucid choices about other parts of her body are at least leaving her with unquestioned sovereignty over her eyelids.All questions regarding the legality of abortion ultimately revolve around whether aborting a fetus is an act of murder; after all, abortion should obviously be prohibited if it constitutes an act of homicide, while it is entirely justifiable if it doesn’t constitute the taking of a human life. Unfortunately, the debate as to when life begins still rages on among scientists, with prominent figures in that community taking both sides of the question. Indeed, a 2009 Pew Poll found that 52% of scientists identified as liberal (who, according to another Pew Poll taken that year, support abortion rights 70% to 23%), 35% as moderate (pro-choice by 55% to 37%), and 9% as conservative (anti-abortion by 63% to 30%). For those who worked specifically in biology and medicine, 58% self-labeled as Democrats (pro-choice 60% to 31%), 31% as Independents (pro-choice 47% to 44%), and 6% as Republicans (anti-abortion by 63% to 32%). read more

Why Ron Paul Appeals to the Millennial Generation

Published:  The Morning Call (February 24, 2012)PolicyMic (February 24, 2012) 

As Ron Paul’s inability to expand his base within the Republican Party makes his bid for the GOP presidential nomination seem increasingly futile, media outlets are discussing whether he’ll make another run as a third-party candidate. While the jury is out as to what he’ll decide, one thing is certain: Paul would perform very well among the millennial generation.

The Texas congressman’s strong support among people ages 18 to 36 is apparent everywhere, with the pro-Paul buzz that has long pervaded college campuses and online message boards now being reflected in the primaries, where he has won the youth vote in most states. read more

Why Elena Kagan Should Not Recuse Herself from Health Care Law Hearing

Published: The Morning Call (February 1, 2012) 

As Obama’s health care law reaches the Supreme Court, the clamor from conservatives and their libertarian sympathizers becomes shriller every day. From Dick Morris and Hans von Spakovsky to WorldNetDaily and The Washington Times, the call rings clear: Justice Elena Kagan, they insist, must recuse herself from the case.The argument against Kagan hinges on the assumption that her service as solicitor general under Barack Obama violates the U.S. Code section stating that “any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”For this to apply to Kagan, a precedent would need to exist in which other ex-solicitors general who served on the Supreme Court were compelled to recuse themselves when asked to rule on policies they had supported under their presidential bosses.Instead the previous jurists to whom this would have indisputably applied (William Howard Taft, Stanley Reed, Robert H. Jackson, and Thurgood Marshall) had the matter left to their personal judgment. Indeed, because so many Supreme Court judges have had politically active pasts before their appointments, it would have been unrealistic to disqualify them each time a controversial issue intersected with their earlier careers.Hence Taft, who had been solicitor general for Benjamin Harrison before being appointed to the court by Warren Harding, was around to rule on antitrust cases despite having helped draft the Sherman Antitrust Act under Harrison (as well as vigorously enforcing it during his own presidency). Similarly, Marshall was allowed to uphold regulations that prevented racial discrimination in the sale of private property even though he had supported Lyndon Johnson’s Fair Housing Act while serving as his solicitor general.Although there is no historical or legal basis supporting a Kagan recusal, the same can’t be said about one of her peers. read more