I read Mr. Jim de Bree’s response (July 7) to my letter (June 23), and then reread my letter. I would suggest that anyone interested do the same. My letter made the point that Mr. de Bree’s assertion that the Senate majority leader was hypocritically “changing the rules of the game” was not true because the rules remained that same — Judge Merrick Garland’s appointment required Senate confirmation, and the Senate was not required to confirm.
Mr. de Bree’s response agrees with this, but now asserts it is better policy to take a vote. I agree a Senate vote rejecting the nomination would have been preferable, but the Garland appointment was in trouble because the president sought to replace the leading “conservative” justice with someone who can at best be described as a “moderate.” To assert, as Mr. de Bree does, that the appointment was not in trouble, is to overlook the fact that the Senate Democrats only needed to attract three or four Republicans to join with them to compel a hearing on the nomination. None did, thus every Republican, a majority of the Senate, did not support the nomination.
His response to my statements concerning Rowe v. Wade are interesting, shall we say. First he attributes to me opposition to abortion, when none is present in my comment. Quite the contrary. My comment relates to which branch of government is the appropriate branch to determine the abortion question — seven unelected justices under what is widely considered by constitutional scholars as at best a strained interpretation of the Constitution’s due process clause, or the elected legislative branches. In suggesting that the legislative branches are the appropriate place for such a determination I noted the decision’s continuing corrosive effect on our civil discourse, which would be diminished by a legislative determination, supported by a majority of the people, of when and under what circumstances abortion would be allowed.
He then goes on to assert that the polls establish that 60% of those polled want Roe “retained.” To which my reaction is, if that is so, then the legislative branches will adopt Roe. However, he fails to mention are that approximately 75% of those polled want abortion limited to the first trimester, and approximately 50% want the issue of abortion decided by the states, which is of course an implicit rejection of Roe. So perhaps the question is not as clear as he asserts. That is why we need to have abortion policy determined in the state legislatures. Hopefully, this would significantly reduce the corrosive effects the Roe decision and its progeny have had on our civil discourse, the principal point of my letter, an issue his reply ignores.
His assertion that I have adopted the argument that the “ends justify the means” in connection with the abortion issue is bizarre. One wonders where the will of the people is to be found, if not in the legislative process, where issues are decided by the elected representatives of the people. I am suggesting that the abortion issue has distorted our political discourse, and that nowhere is this more evident than in the judicial nomination process; and that its removal from that process, and returning the issue to the state legislatures, would help achieve what we all should want -— both sides fulfilling their responsibility to confirm “qualified [judicial] candidates.”
Mr de Bree and I can and have pointed to both sides of the aisle when discussing failures in this regard. Unless, of course, he has somehow missed the Democrats’ tactics designed to prevent the appointment of qualified judicial candidates with whom they disagree on the issue of abortion.