Monday, September 05, 2005

The Closed Book of Judges

As noted previously in "Rex Regnant Sed Non Gubernat" and "What Would Jesus Prescribe?," abuses of conscious clauses have enabled the denial of healthcare and pharmaceutical services on religious grounds. Now comes a story from the New York Times on Sunday, 4 September 2005 titled "On Moral Grounds, Some Judges Are Opting Out of Abortion Cases."
A pregnant teenager went to the grand and imposing county courthouse here early in the summer, saying she wanted an abortion. The circuit court judge refused to hear the case, and he announced that he would recuse himself from any others like it.

"Taking the life of an innocent human being is contrary to the moral order," the judge, John R. McCarroll of Shelby County Circuit Court, wrote in June. "I could not in good conscience make a finding that would allow the minor to proceed with the abortion."

Tennessee, where this case arose, is one of 19 states requiring parental notification and consent for abortion services; however, in this state the law provides minors the right to seek judicial permission for an abortion if they choose not to involve their parents.

Good and valid arguments can be made in support of parental notification laws, but prerequisite to their enactment is a viable judicial appeal process. Minors subject to abuse, retribution or abandonment on the basis of their decision to seek an abortion must have recourse to the courts. If judges frequently recuse themselves from hearing such pleas, the system becomes untenable.


Sven Sinclair said...

I have yet to hear one "good and valid argument" in support of parental notification requirements. Anyway, reclusion has just made the problems with judicial bypass more obvious, but is far from being the only or the worst such problem. This judge is at least honest enough to say he cannot decide the cases impartially (although not quite honest enough to resign from the bench - the only ethical choice if he disagrees with the law so strongly that he is unwilling to enforce it); other judges make their partial decisions without calling attention to themselves.

Anonymous said...

So now judges are going to recuse themselves from any case that might involve applying a law that they disagree with? Can you imagine if judges tried this with the death penalty????

Don Wharton said...


It seems as if these people lose all compassion for young pregnant women because of nonsense that is not even contained in the Bible.

peter nuhn said...

I am beginning to develop a different take on this issue. Namely, the majority of those that want abortions live in the RED STATES. A vast minority seek out abortions in the BLUE ones. That can be due to better education with reproductive health lessons available, and better health care provision in BLUE STATES.

When the new Supreme Court succeeds in overturning Roe v. Wade, those in RED STATES will be forced to live their pro-family values of no abortions. That is what they want, they should get it.