Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

George Orwell's Newspeak strikes the 4th Estate -- and continues to hamper a legitimate debate about abortion

Ann Coulter has a funny and (as usual) mean attack on the New York Times for its efforts to re-define judicial activism so as to claim moral high ground -- or at least to tar conservative judges with that brush:

It's not judicial activism to strike down laws because they violate the Constitution. But liberals have recently taken to pretending judicial activism is – as The New York Times has said repeatedly – voting "to invalidate laws passed by Congress." Invalidating laws has absolutely nothing to do with "judicial activism." It depends on whether the law is unconstitutional or not. That's really the key point. *** If Congress passed a law prohibiting speech criticizing Bush, or banning blacks from owning property, or giving foreigners the right to run for president – all those laws could be properly struck down by the Supreme Court. That's not "judicial activism," it's "judicial." Invalidating a law that prohibits killing unborn children on the preposterous grounds that the Constitution contains an extra-double-secret right to abortion no one had noticed for 200 years – that's judicial activism. When conservative judges strike down laws, it's because of what's in the Constitution. When liberal judges strike down laws (or impose new laws, such as tax increases), it's because of what's in The New York Times. The left's redefinition of judicial activism to mean something it's not allows liberals to claim they oppose judicial activism and to launch spirited denunciations of conservative judges as the real "judicial activists." This is the Democrats' new approach to winning arguments: Change the definition of words in mid-argument without telling the guy you're arguing with. Chairman Mao would approve. Thus, The New York Times prissily informed its readers: "There is a misconception that so-called activist judges who 'legislate from the bench' are invariably liberal. In fact, conservative judges can be even more eager to overrule decisions made by elected officials." That statement has as much intellectual content as saying: "There is a misconception that so-called activist judges who 'legislate from the bench' are invariably liberal. In fact, conservative judges can be even more eager to play tennis." The very act of redefining "judicial activism" to mean invalidating any law passed by elected officials is precisely the sort of Alice-in-Wonderland nonsense we're talking about. Liberal judges redefine the Constitution's silence on abortion to mean "abortion is a precious constitutional right." Liberal flacks in the media redefine judicial activism to mean "striking down laws." The Times' definition isn't even coherent. If it were "judicial activism" to strike down laws – any laws, ever – there would be no point to having a Supreme Court. We could just have some idiot functionary, like Joe Wilson, rubber-stamping whatever the other parts of government do.
I lack the fire of true opponents to abortion (since I have concerns about certain situations and am personally ambivalent), but I do think the debate has been exceptionally dishonest -- in large part because liberals can hide behind the judicial process. The honest thing to do is to admit that the Constitution does not extend to abortion and (a) either return it to the States or (b) begin the process of adding a right to abortion to the Constitution. The problem, of course, is that path (a) will result in a right to abortion and looks exactly like the red/blue election map, and path (b) will never happen. Under these circumstances, the Democratic panic about a non-activist judge is perfectly rational and Demos serve their constituents best -- those who believe in unfettered abortion -- by controlling the judiciary, without regard to the legislative process.