Friday, August 03, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #67 - Part 3

Clarabell award: Federal judge ignores Supreme Court to impose abortion restrictions

The Clarabell Award is given on a regular basis for acts of meritorious stupidity. This time the dishonoree is US District Court judge for the District of Arizona, one Judge James A. Teilborg.

Back in April, Arizona Governor Jan Brewery signed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks except in narrow cases where the life of the mother is seriously at risk. It was to go into effect on this past Thursday, August 2. The ACLU went to court on behalf of three Arizona physicians who sought a temporary injunction against the law going into effect pending the outcome of their legal challenge to it.

Their argument was simple: The controlling legal authority is the 1992 Supreme Court decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The Court ruled in that case that states can't ban abortions prior to viability, that is, prior to the time when the fetus could survive outsite the womb. That now is regarded as around 22 to 24 weeks. Which would appear to make for a slam-dunk case.

Unfortunately, it was heard before Judge Teilborg, who in effect told those doctors and the ACLU that resistance is futile. In fact, in the course of the hearing, he actually lectured the lead counsel for the plaintiffs - that is, the ACLU lawyer - on her supposed lack of compassion for “the unborn child” and suggested that supposed lack “underscores the legitimacy” of the state’s action.

Given that patent bias in favor of fantasy - as I’ve said a number of times, there is no such thing as an “unborn child” unless you also start calling a caterpillar an unborn butterfly, a tadpole an unborn frog, and an acorn an unborn oak tree - given that bias, it should come as no surprise that Teilborg denied the temporary injunction, allowing the law to go into effect.

What could be a surprise but perhaps shouldn’t be given that transparent bias, he also declared that the hearing was not on the injuction but actually on the merits of the law and threw the suit out entirely.

His reasoning? Because of the provision regarding saving the life of the mother, the law doesn't actually ban abortions after 20 weeks, it merely "restricts" them. Quoting him: "[the law] is not a ban on previability abortions, but is rather a limit on some previability abortions between 20 weeks gestational age and viability."

You know, there is a law against shooting people in the street. But the truth is, if you shot someone who was in the process of, say, trying to kill you with a knife, I doubt you would be charged. So by Teilborg's logic, that law doesn't actually ban shooting people in the street, it merely restricts some cases of it. And there's a law that says you can't run a red light. But I expect that if you went thought a red light while rushing someone to the Emergency Room because you thought they were having a heart attack - as I did once with my father - you would be unlikely to be given a ticket. So according to Teilborg, that law doesn't ban going through red lights, it's just a limitation on some cases of it.

The ACLU is making an emergency appeal of the decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, calling Teilborg's ruling "just wrong on its face."

Which is not surprising, since Judge James Teilborg's own face has a great big red nose. James Teilborg, clown.


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