Monday, June 27, 2016

TODAY IN SELECTIVE QUOTATION

At National Review, polemicist and not-quite-presidential-candidate David French reacts to today's Supreme Court decision overturning an absurdly restrictive Texas abortion law:
On page 27 of one of today’s Supreme Court opinions is this ringing rejection of regulatory regimes. The majority opinion addressed the argument that new regulations would prevent misconduct:
But there is no reason to believe that an extra layer of regulation would have affected that behavior. Determined wrongdoers, already ignoring existing statutes and safety measures, are unlikely to be convinced to adopt safe practices by a new overlay of regulations.
There you have it, ladies and gentlemen. The regulatory state should tremble in fear. There is now “no reason to believe” that additional regulations would affect wrongdoers. That means that regulations may not even be able to escape the lowest level of judicial scrutiny -- rational-basis review.

Environmentalists are quaking in their boots. Gun controllers are throwing their hands up in despair. Financial and business regulators may as well close up shop.
Of course, this passage isn't arguing that regulations are inevitably futile. It's arguing that some people -- in this case, a depraved abortion provider named Kermit Gosnell -- will inevitably ignore all rules and regulations for as long as they can get away with it. Here's a fuller version of this passage:
Gosnell’s behavior was terribly wrong. But there is no reason to believe that an extra layer of regulation would have affected that behavior. Determined wrongdoers, already ignoring existing statutes and safety measures, are unlikely to be convinced to adopt safe practices by a new overlay of regulations.
Which is immediately followed by this:
Regardless, Gosnell’s deplorable crimes could escape detection only because his facility went uninspected for more than 15 years.
In other words: Some people are so depraved that regulations don't deter them -- until they're caught. So -- obviously -- regulations have to be combined with effective enforcement.

French knows that that's what the passage means, but he assumes his readers don't know it, so he might as well try to score a few cheap, deceptive points.

French finishes the post this way:
Wait. What’s that you say? This is an abortion decision? The regulations in questions were deemed responsible for closing substandard abortion clinics?

Never mind. The regulatory state is safe. Everyone knows that the Supreme Court privileges the killing of children above all else. After all, as Justice Ginsburg has said, Roe v. Wade was motivated by “concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” The undesired have to die -- the reasoning matters not.
What Ginsburg actually said was that she once thought the Roe decision -- which came down a generation before she joined the Supreme Court -- was motivated in part by concern about "growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of." You can argue that she was including herself in that "we," but plenty of people, myself included, use the word "we" to refer to "a group I'm part of but whose chief representatives say and do things I don't approve of." Here's the quote in context, from a 2009 interview with Emily Bazelon. Bazelon asks Ginsburg about "the lack of Medicaid for abortions for poor women":
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Yes, the ruling about that surprised me. [Harris v. McRae -- in 1980 the court upheld the Hyde Amendment, which forbids the use of Medicaid for abortions.] Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of. So that Roe was going to be then set up for Medicaid funding for abortion. Which some people felt would risk coercing women into having abortions when they didn’t really want them. But when the court decided McRae, the case came out the other way. And then I realized that my perception of it had been altogether wrong.
At the time of the interview, even Jonah Goldberg was smart enough not to assume that this was a reflection of Ginsburg's own belief:
Left unclear is whether Ginsburg endorses the eugenic motivation she ascribed to the passage of Roe v. Wade or whether she was merely objectively describing it.
He didn't quite grasp the fact that, as she said herself, she'd imagined that this was part of the Court's motivation, but she later concluded it wasn't. But at least he realized that this wasn't her view, as she told Bazelon in an interview three years later:
I asked if she was talking about general concern in the society, as opposed to her own concern or the concern of the feminist legal community. Ginsburg said yes....
French knows this history, or should know it. French, who can parse words when it suits him, should know that that "we" doesn't necessarily imply an endosement. And French should know that Ginsburg stopped believing in 1980 that Roe was motivated even in part by eugenic beliefs -- again, long before she joined the Court.

But why would he tell the truth, and pass up a couple of good zingers?

8 comments:

Jim Parrett said...

What we do without David Freedom Fries? Where would we get our laughs. Mcardle and Hoft take up most of our laughter, why not share the bounty?

freemansfarm77 said...

Just to be clear, the Court was saying that there is already an annual inspection law for abortion clinics in TX. Thus, a Texas version of Gosnell would not have gotten away with his horrors for fifteen years, as he in fact did elsewhere. And so, preventing "that behavior" (ie Gosnell's, or someone like him in TX), cannot even theoretically be invoked as a reason to uphold this particular law in this State.

Also, there really is a difference between abortion regulation and environmental regulation. Abortion regs touch on fundamental rights of real women, whereas environmental laws regulate economic activity, often of merely corporate "persons." The former, ie fundamental, personal rights, are protected more rigorously, and rightly so, than whatever property rights are implicated by economic regs.

freemansfarm77 said...

The Court was NOT saying that, in all situations, once one reg is in place, all other conceivable regs are automatically redundant.

Feud Turgidson said...

fmf, with that kind of slavish adherenece to rectitudinnal correctness, you'll sure never get a job at NRO writing heavily parsed numbskullish parsimonial nonsense designed to send thrills of superiority up the sciatic nerve of Supreme White Merkin Ville.

Ten Bears said...

And justwhy was the clinic uninspected for fifteen years? Left unsaid, but it's a safe bet drowning the government in a bathtub had something to do with it.

The New York Crank said...

Forgive me for changing the subject, but what is it with the right wing and alliteration?

In my younger days it was Spiro Agnew muttering about "nattering nabobs of negativism."

And now we have David French nattering on about "ringing rejection of regulatory regimes."

Is there a school where they go to learn this stuff? Can you teach someone to be a blithering bladder of bluster? Or is it genetic?

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Grung_e_Gene said...

Laws don't stop crime let's get rid of the police.

petrilli said...

And if laws are outlawed, only criminals will have laws… uh, only a good guy with a law can stop a bad guy with a law?