Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The ties that bind

There is an interesting piece on the American Prospect's website by Jeffrey Dubner regarding a challenge to New Hampshire's parental notification law. Abortion is not an issue that comes up here often, but the amicus brief filed by the government's representative before the Supreme Court, the Solicitor General, does raise an interesting point.
[T]he U.S. Solicitor General has argued that abortion restrictions should be blocked from enforcement only if they are invalid in all possible circumstances -- an argument that lower courts have increasingly refused to accept. That is an issue the Supreme Court has never explicitly decided ...
The details of which laws should or should not be supported is too conflicting and confusing to try and sort out here, but this detail highlights a disturbing mindset on the part of the administration.

If we are to take it at face value, the potential precedent that could be set here, that a law could be overturned only if it is invalid in all circumstances, is a very troublesome one. If a decision is made in favor of such a view, then any future administration could argue that any challenge to a law they wish to pass, must also pass this test.

It leaves little room for legal challenges to potentially bad laws and actually ties the hands of the judiciary.

Of course, this could just as easily work against them in areas like federal regulations.

- Murphy

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