Friday, April 20, 2007

How Quickly They Turn

The relentlessly clueless Dahlia Lithwick, who covers the Supreme Court for Slate, has weighed in on the Carhart partial-birth abortion ruling the Court handed down the other day. And she's not happy.

She directs particular venom at Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority that upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortion:
What hasn't changed is that Anthony Kennedy finds partial-birth abortion really disgusting. We saw that in his dissent in Stenberg. That's what animates and drives his decision. His opinion blossoms from the premise that if all women were as sensitive as he is about the fundamental awfulness of this procedure, they'd all refuse to undergo it. Since they aren't, he'll decide for them.

....It's hard to fathom why Kennedy has so much more sympathy for the women who changed their minds about abortions than for those who did not. His concern for Inconstant Females might be patronizing in any other jurist. Coming from him, it's brilliantly ironic. Kennedy is, after all, America's Hamlet. The man who famously worried that "sometimes you don't know if you're Caesar about to cross the Rubicon or Captain Queeg cutting your own tow line," will long be remembered as the living incarnation of agony and indecision, and today he seamlessly rewrites his Stenberg dissent as a majority opinion that blasts his earlier Casey vote to its core.

I'm no psychologist but in light of today's Gonzales opinion one has to wonder: Is all of Kennedy's tender concern over those flip-flopping women really just some kind of weird misplaced justification for his flip-flopping self?
What's wonderfully amusing about this, though, is that it was only eight months ago when we caught the dunderheaded Dahlia planting the literary equivalent of a full-mouthed kiss on Justice Kennedy right there in the very e-pages of Slate. Back then, she cooed:
He describes the American conception of law as a "liberating force, a covenant, a promise." And in spite of the lofty intellectualism and the big words, this speech captures my imagination and that of the assembled crowd for its two quintessential Kennedy traits. The first is the vast sprawl of his imaginative world. He travels the planet and reads widely and he attends lectures on water purification. Then he applies all that knowledge to his conception of the law. And whether you like that expansive scope, listening to him is still a tonic to the smallness and smug certainty that has characterized our political leadership in this country for the past six years. It offers a welcome break from the hermetically sealed constitutional worldview of some of his detractors. Kennedy is a legendary agonizer. But his comments here reveal the extent to which that agony is not an end in itself. His sense of justice and equality is a work in progress, informed by what he learns from people all over the planet who know more than he does. There's something reassuring in his sense that the world is a fluid place.
What a difference a few months make, huh? Only last year, Lithwick was writing paeans to Kennedy's muddle-headed indecisiveness, and now she blasts him for being a flip-flopper who is the incarnation of agony and indecision. It turns out she didn't like fluidity quite as much as she thought she did.

There's only way liberals can shift that quickly from love to hate: you have to threaten their abortions. Whatever else they like, they love baby-killin', and they identify their friends by the same trait. If you turn on them even a little bit at that point, they're done with you. They love mushy thinking until your mushy thinking accidentally threatens their consequence-free sexual escapades. Then it's war.

Sorry, Justice Kennedy. Maybe if you write an opinion soon praising transvestite adoption or child prostitution, you can win Dahlia Lithwick (herself quite the flip-flopper) back to your team.

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