July 27, 2005


Dick Durbin's evolving standard of decency (Terence Jeffrey, July 27, 2005, Townhall)

[Tim Russert, host of NBC's "Meet the Press,"] put Durbin on the rack last Sunday, torturing the poor man with his own contradictory words.

When Durbin was first elected to the U.S. House, you see, he was pro-life. Now, as a pro-abortion member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he is expected by left-wing groups to enforce his party's pro-abortion litmus test for Supreme Court nominees. With the nomination of Judge John Roberts to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Durbin is showing every sign of living up to those expectations.

Back in 1983, as Russert pointed out, Durbin "believed that Roe v. Wade was incorrectly decided" and supported "a constitutional limit to ban all abortions." Durbin, Russert said, wrote to a constituent: "The right to an abortion is not guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution."

Durbin did not contest Russert's characterization of his formerly pro-life, anti-Roe views. "I'll concede that point to you, Tim," he said. [...]

What changed Durbin's mind about the meaning of the Constitution?

On "Meet the Press," this is how Durbin explained his conversion: "You know, it's a struggle for me. It still is. I'm opposed to abortion. If any woman in my family said she was seeking abortion, I'd go out of my way to try to dissuade them from making that decision. But I was really discouraged when I came to Washington to find that the opponents of abortion were also opponents of family planning. This didn't make sense to me. And I was also discouraged by the fact that they were absolute, no exceptions for rape and incest, the most extraordinary medical situations. And I finally came to the conclusion that we really have to try to honor the Roe v. Wade thinking, that there are certain times in the life of a woman that she needs to make that decision with her doctor, with her family and with her conscience, and that the government shouldn't be intruding."

This is not only devoid of constitutional reasoning, it is devoid of all reasoning.

Mr. Russert can run the Keyes for Senate campaign.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 27, 2005 12:00 AM

Durbin's performance was embarassingly sophomoric.

What he said essentially was that "I'm for abortion because some of the people who are against it are also against birth control."

Russert does have a kind of snide, amused look he gives when his subject hits bottom and digs. We saw the look Sunday.

Posted by: Lou Gots at July 27, 2005 5:05 AM

Dear Senator Durbin:

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a pro-life voter who strongly supports family planning, including the use of contraception. While you haven't met many of us inside the Beltway apparently, we are far from unusual. In fact, most Evangelical Protestants including both Rev. Pat Robertson and Rev. Jerry Falwell take the identical position.

You really should get out more.

Posted by: bart at July 27, 2005 6:50 AM

Birth control may be immoral (and this middle-aged, quasi-Calvinist is beginning to believe just that), but it isn't murder.

That is one slippery slope Durbin slid down to remain a Democrat. He's the king of buggy whips in the age of gasoline.

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 27, 2005 8:06 AM

Ha-ha-ha-ha! Alan Keyes! Ha-ha-ha-ha!

Posted by: Brandon at July 27, 2005 10:28 AM

Durbin was source for column about Roberts, By Charles Hurt, THE WASHINGTON TIMES, July 27, 2005

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin acknowledged yesterday that he was the source for a newspaper column that reported earlier this week that Judge John G. Roberts Jr. said he could not rule in a Supreme Court case where U.S. law might conflict with Catholic teaching. ...

[Monday] Spokesman Joe Shoemaker also said ... "Whoever the source was either got it wrong or Jonathan Turley got it wrong," ...

Yesterday, Mr. Shoemaker said the source was Mr. Durbin. "He and Turley were in the green room of the NBC studios," he said. ... "Durbin said Turley didn't identify himself as a journalist but introduced himself as a law professor."

Both Mr. Shoemaker and Mr. Turley said large parts of the conversation concerned the writer's previous column. Mr. Turley said that after he wrote the Judge Roberts column, he read back portions of it to Mr. Shoemaker, whom, he said, verified the account. Mr. Shoemaker declined to comment further.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 27, 2005 11:02 AM

No, what Durbin essentially said is that while he thinks abortion is immoral most of the time, he believes certain cases represent an ethical dilemma which is not so clear cut and should be left to the discretion of the woman and her doctor.

He came to the conclusion that the pro-life factions in Washington did not recognize this and their favored policies did not address issues he felt important. Therefore, for practical reasons he has turned into a supporter of Roe vs Wade as the best means to keep an option open for those cases.

You may disagree with his conclusion, but I believe most people who support Roe vs Wade do so for the exact same reasons.

The only real gap is whether he truly meant in 1983 he wanted to ban "all" abortions, and if so what changed his mind that some should be allowed.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at July 27, 2005 11:34 AM

Chris: You are treating Durban as if he were a decent rational human being. Clearly he is not. He is the lowest sort of leftist political scum. If NOW told him to crawl over broken glass on his belly, he would do it. If MoveOn says "frog," he says "how high, sir?" If he had principles in 1983, he had them surgically removed so he could be a better left-wing minion.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at July 27, 2005 11:49 AM

Chris: A valiant effort to defend Durbin, but there are still two problems. First, what does any of that have to do with the Constitution? Second, no one thinks that any of the states, after Roe, will pass an absolute ban on abortion without an exception for rape or incest.

Posted by: David Cohen at July 27, 2005 8:36 PM