Friday, November 05, 2004

"The Roe=Scott Code"

Writing in the Nation, Katha Pollitt misunderstands the relationship between Roe v. Wade and Dred Scott for anti-abortion advocates. The Scott decision did not simply state that the Constitution allowed slavery. Few argued that, certainly not Lincoln. Rather, the decision held, in Lincoln's summary, "first, that a Negro cannot sue in the U.S. Courts; and secondly, that Congress cannot prohibit slavery in the Territories." It determined this without any Constitutional warrant. Anti-abortion advocates argue that in a similar way, Roe held that the unborn have no legal standing as persons, and that neither Congress nor state legislatures can prohibit abortion. In a similar manner, these holdings could not be located in the actual language of the Constitution or in its legislative history.
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