News - Should Supreme Court appointments be a big concern in this election?

Yes. Electing Bush could mean two solid decades of Scalia and Thomas and three of their clones

Anybody who believes that voting for Al Gore is no different from voting for George Bush should spend a few hours in the parking lot of any of Atlanta’s abortion clinics, helping to escort patients safely to the clinic’s doors. While the abusive protestors of Operation Rescue’s blockade days are mostly gone, more subtle lessons about the seriousness of abortion politics are etched in the anxious-looking faces of the woman, girls and men there. Many look exhausted, too, having driven for hours from some rural place where there’s no clinic.
Many of the cars in these lots have a rundown look that suggests that it was difficult to pull together the cash to pay the doctor, and the gas for the trip, and the time off from work, and for somebody to watch the kids for a day.
These are the people who get clobbered by political ideologies, not stimulated by them.
Where are these women — 25,000 in Georgia alone, every year — going to go for abortions if Bush wins the election? What would Ralph Nader — purported “conscience” for the working poor electorate — propose that these women do if his campaign to legitimize the Green Party helps usher in a Republican Supreme Court that overturns abortion rights?
Nader knows his campaign may swing the election, and he knows that George W. Bush’s appointees to the Supreme Court, easily vetted by a conservative Senate, will endanger access to safe abortions for millions of women.
Why is this a risk Nader is willing to take? George W. Bush has said that his ideal Supreme Court candidates would resemble Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. With as many as three Supreme Court appointments hanging in the balance, electing Bush could mean two solid decades of Scalia and Thomas and three of their clones calling the shots on everything from human rights to corporate regulations to environmental protections.
That’s too high a price to pay in order to support Nader’s quixotic mission to gain political credibility roughly equivalent to Bay Buchanan’s, plus a few million dollars in federal campaign funding.
And it’s too high a price to pay in order to send a message to the Democrats about Al Gore’s support for the death penalty or his stance on NAFTA or the fact that his mother’s trust owns stock in Occidental Petroleum.
Other opportunities will arise to voice such concerns. For now, the women in those parking lots, who are counting on Democrats to keep abortion legal, don’t need to have George W. Bush’s idiosyncratic notion of reproductive “choices” thrust upon them (and their daughters down the road) simply because Ralph Nader and select other progressives feel the time is ripe to launch what amounts to no more than an electoral sit-in with their votes.

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