Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Timing is on our side(?)
Lots of consternation, fright and depression surrounding the news of the last couple days. The Supreme Court was unanimous in smacking down law schools that were trying to support gay students by not allowing military recruiters on campus (the same way they don't allow any recruiter on campus who discriminate). And in South Dakota, the Governor signed a law that essentially outlaws abortion a: nd will likely serve as a challenge to Roe v. Wade.

Maybe I'm just on Spring Break and feeling a bit, well, rested. But I'm thinking there's some good news in here.

First, let's face it. There are not enough straight troops left to fight all of George Bush's battles. If ever there was a time when the military might be amenable to scrapping the anti-gay discrimination policy, that could be now. So, the timing may be right to have had the issue raised. It may take a little while - but by the time we get a new President, assuming it's not another complete wacko, it may be time to do what Clinton sort of tried to do: end the practice of discimination in the military. If the military had somehow lost this battle in court? maybe they dig in with more intransigence.

As for the issue of women's rights, my position and strong feelings are well known. The South Dakota action is completely indefensible, disgusting, disheartening, and hateful. But, if ever this issue were to have to come up post O'Connor, isn't this the best possible time?

For one thing, Alito and Roberts' answers on this issue are fresh in everyone's mind (including their own) and the lovefest for O'Connor is still in the air.

For another, the people of the US simply don't approve of this kind of legislation. Poll after poll confirms that a majority of Americans don't want abortion to be illegal. Even South Dakotans are split about 50-50 on that issue. So, having this come up now - in an election year - reminds voters all across the country what happens when you elect Republicans: they use the legislative process to impose on the country their faith-based bigotry and need to control women. Bringing this issue to the front - so long as we can mobilize and get voters out to the polls - is a sure way to keep Republicans on the path to defeat this November, making this kind of legislation that much less likely should the timing be worse.

And when would the timing be worse? That's my last point of optimism. The quicker this gets before the Supremes the more likely we are to prevail. We still have 5 votes, so long as kennedy holds the line and not a one of them is enticed by some kind of Roberts-led "compromise." Let's get it in front of them before Bush - or, god-forbid, some other Republican president - has a chance to nominate another justice. But even if they do, having this out there now makes it more likely that we can have the kind of Senate that won't allow the next Alito to be confirmed.

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