Former U of C Law Dean Slams Abortion Ruling
Posted Apr 20, 2007 5:48 PM CST
By Martha Neil
A former dean of the University of Chicago Law School joined today with vociferous critics of this week's U.S. Supreme Court abortion ruling, castigating its so-called partial-birth abortion ban as "unreasonable" and saying that it appeared to have been influenced by many of the justices' personal religious views.
"It is not unusual for the Supreme Court to give deference even to implausible legislative findings," wrote professor and former Dean Geoffrey Stone in a post today in the law school's faculty blog. "But the findings must at least be rational and, when a law restricts a fundamental constitutional right, the findings must be almost unimpeachable. In this instance, every federal court that reviewed these congressional findings rightly described them unreasonable, unbalanced, polemical, and unsupported by the facts."
Stone also questioned in the post whether many of the justices had been influenced to rule as they did by their personal religious beliefs, as Catholics. "What, then, explains this decision?" he asks rhetorically. "Here is a painfully awkward observation: All five justices in the majority in Gonzales [v. Carhart] are Catholic. The four justices who are either Protestant or Jewish all voted in accord with settled precedent. It is mortifying to have to point this out. But it is too obvious, and too telling, to ignore."