1. I only saw part of it: It became unimportant once Rick hustled back to Texas to deal with the fire. The hope for some and the fear for others is that he won’t do well in such events. We still don’t know.

2. The format favored candidates who could actually expound on the details of policies—candidates who actually know stuff. So Newt did very well. And Romney did well—he deserves a bit of a bump at least, and there’s some evidence that Tea Partiers were not unimpressed.

3. The Robby George line of questioning deserves a lot of attention: The safe Republican view is work to reverse ROE and then return abortion to the states. According to ROE (really, PLANNED PARENTHOOD), the liberty protected by the 5th and 14th Amendemtns keeps our legislatures—both state and national—from doing anything that would actually reduce the number of abortions. But according to Robby (following Lincoln), legislatures shouldn’t defer to what they regard as incorrect interpretations of the Const. by the Court (DRED SCOTT). Instead, they should use their constitutional powers to get them reversed. That means Congress, under the 14th Amendment, has the power to enforce that Amendment by legislating to protect the lives of unborn persons. And it has the duty to do so if it is true that an unborn baby is a person with rights. If that’s true, of course, both Congress and the Court should act to have the lives of the unborn protected in the way the lives of all other persons are. It goes without saying, of course, that none of the candidates really came to terms with that conclusion. But it is true enough that the “federalism” argument on abortion does depend on it not being self-evident that the unborn are constitutional persons, and so the decision about whether or not to regard them as such is a matter of legislative choice. If that’s so, the inconvenient truth is, it appears that Congress has that choice too, and the Court spoke murkily, at least, by, in effect, saying that the CERTAIN liberty of the woman somehow trumps the UNCERTAINTY of the status of the unborn person. Given that Americans are becoming more pro-life but don’t really want an abortion to be regarded as a murder under the law (or like any other murder), pushing for clarity here at this point might not be the best electoral strategy. And the question remains about whether the science of embryology really does provide us an airtight case for the proposition that the rights status of an embryo is the same as that of a teenager. Americans need to do a lot of talking about his issue, and I hope they get or take an the opportunity to do.

Articles by Peter Lawler

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