Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ron Paul on Abortion Amendment

GregJaye asked this question in response to my comment on a recent post:

My question about Congressman Paul is: why is he not in favor of federal amendments on either the protection of human life or [sic] the protection of marriage? It is my understanding that he and Thompson preferred that the states deal with these issues. I don't agree. We must protect these traditional values from the runaway judiciary.

First I will answer the question about abortion.

I have never heard anyone say that Ron Paul would vote against a Constitutional Amendment to protect the unborn. On his website he says this:

The alternative is an outright federal ban on abortion, done properly via a constitutional amendment that does no violence to our way of government.

This suggests the he would vote for a Constitutional amendment if it was properly worded. But it also implies that he thinks that this is not the best way. He prefers his Sanctity of Life Act. Here is why:

It would be easier to accomplish than a Constitutional amendment. We would only have to have a simple majority in the House and Senate and the President’s signature. A Constitutional amendment would additionally require approval of two-thirds of the state legislatures.

The Supreme Court does not really have the power that people think that it has. But Congress refuses to exert its authority over it as the Founding Fathers intended. This is the root of the problem of judicial activism. Judges become corrupt because they are unchecked as they are supposed to be.

The Constitution clearly says, “In all the other cases before-mentioned, the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.” (Article III, section 2). If you read the whole section you can see that this applies to everything except things like interstate crimes, ambassadors, and some other public officials.

RP wants the Congress to use this provision of the Constitution to give us back our power that we have over the Supreme Court so that we don’t have to keep going through the arduous process of amending the constitution every time an activist Supreme Court takes away our God-given rights. It is also important to dispel the myth of Supreme Court power in the minds of the populace.

Duncan Hunter made this statement:

I would amend the U.S. Constitution and provide blanket protection to all unborn children from the moment of conception by prohibiting any state or federal law that denies the personhood of the unborn. Likewise, I have also introduced the Right to Life Act, which would legally define “personhood” as the moment of conception and, therefore, guarantee all constitutional rights and protections, including life, to the unborn without utilizing a constitutional amendment.

I don’t see that anything Ron Paul has said would be inconsistent with this. Laws against murder have always been state laws. RP just wants to keep things as they had always been before all this judicial activism. Just because someone says they believe in a constitutional amendment does not mean they have taken the most conservative position on the issue. One could conceive of different ways that a Constitutional Amendment could be worded. It could only allow the states to pass laws against abortion. It could ban all abortion outright. Mitt Romney supports such an amendment that would contain exceptions in cases of rape and incest. Mike Huckabee says the same thing as RP about leaving this issue up to the states. Maybe RPs strong beliefs in states' rights could inhibit his ability to act to protect the unborn in some situtuations (but he has voted for some federal legislation which criminalizes some abortions). And I must admit that RPs approach has one disadvantage--a Constitutional Amendment would be more permanent. You could rightly argue that Duncan Hunter is better on this issue, but that definately cannot be said of Mike Huckabee.

The reasoning behind not prefering a Constitutional Amendment against gay marriage are similar, but I’ll have much more to say about this next week.

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