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Steve King Against Griswold Ruling

Here’s a video of Rep. Steve King discussing the Griswold v Connecticut case, which overturned state laws that banned the sale of contraception. Though he claims he hasn’t taken a position on the case, he pointedly says that the Supreme Court “discovered a right to privacy that didn’t heretofore exist within the Constitution.” Standard religious right rhetoric.

Comments

  1. Chiroptera says

    With all due respect to Rep. King (and he’s pretty much due none at all), he should check out the 9th Amendment.

    It is true that courts don’t cite the 9th, perferring for some reason the wording of the 14th, but the philosophy that people have rights beyond what can be explicitly listed in a constitution and that the state has to explain why it has a legitimate power to limit those rights seems to be the basis of a lot of interpretation of the US Constitution.

    In fact, I would claim that this is the basis of liberal democracy, something that conservatives seem opposed to. But I guess that’s why conservatives are called conservatives and liberals are called liberals.

  2. jhendrix says

    As a child of the 80’s, I just don’t understand the opposition to contraceptives. Seems like it’s summed up best with:

    “People could fuck without the possibility of a baby happening! PANIC!”

  3. iknklast says

    When I read things like this, I wish people would quit claiming that conservatives want to take us back to the 1950s. They don’t. In the 1950s, there were strong labor unions. Many women, particularly married women, were using contraception. There were still a lot of places women weren’t welcome (and some they weren’t allowed), but things were moving in the right direction.

    The conservatives want to take us back to the 1890s, with the Comstock laws, and people being put in jail just for mailing out information about contraception.

  4. abb3w says

    @1, Chiroptera:

    It is true that courts don’t cite the 9th, perferring for some reason the wording of the 14th

    I believe because the 9th is too close to the 10th, which is too close to saying that the people only have rights when power is constitutionally forbidden to the states.

    The 14th supersedes that.

    @3, iknklast:

    The conservatives want to take us back to the 1890s

    There’s a few who seem to prefer the 1850s.

  5. says

    @jhendrix #2 – That is basically it. The argument used by almost every religion is that the sole purpose of sex is procreation. By decoupling sex and procreation, mere mortals are undoing the Perfect Plan of an Infinitely Powerful God. And the fanatics just can’t handle that.

  6. Ellie says

    He’s never heard of a child getting pregnant through incest, and he thinks Federal money is used to finance abortion. He also thinks criticisms of Todd Akin are “petty, personal attacks.” And yet…there are still women who will support him and vote for him.

  7. jamessweet says

    I have to give the Republicans one thing, this strategy of theirs is clever. They make a pedantic argument which has some surface appeal to pedants like me*, while simultaneously providing them plausible deniability for their transparent pandering to insane moralistic whackos. It’s how they’ve managed for so long to maintain a big tent that somehow magically encompasses both hardcore libertarians and naked theocrats. That’s an impressive feat of contradiction.

    * What I mean by this is, there is a part of me that remains uncomfortable with the contradiction between the idea of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land vs. the necessity to loosely interpreting it in light of an evolving understanding of justice and human rights. In a perfect world, we’d just amend the Constitution to encompass our evolving understanding, but obviously that is not practical. Ultimately, I do favor the interpretive approach, as it is simply the only workable way to advance the nation. But I admit there is the teensiest twinge of appeal to me when these asshole wingnuts argue that such-and-such a right is not explicitly written in the Constitution. Reading an implication that we know damn well the authors of the text never intended… albeit an implication that is consonant with a more modern understanding of their core intentions… it will never sit perfectly with me, even though I know it’s the right thing to do.

  8. davidworthington says

    Doesn’t the 4th also indicate a right to privacy? If the gov’t needs a warrant to search my home (well, they are supposed to need one) then doesn’t that mean that my home is space that is unique and private to me? I can do what I want there and until the government can indicate that it has good information that I am violating the law they must stay away–seems to me this is the essence of privacy.
    I understand that the courts and police have little respect for the 4th; but I think this is a fairly conservative reading of the constitution. I haven’t looked back at the Federalist Papers on this, but I have some dim recollection that “home is castle” argument had some suasory function in the debate.

  9. eric says

    @2: I think it goes deeper. The people arguing against Griswold and cases like it are, IMO, really arguing for majority rule over constitutionally limited democracy. They want the majority, through the state, to be able to enforce their preferred moral rules even if those moral rules serve no identifiable civil purpose.

    It is sort of a collective right vs. individual right argument. They’re concerned with a community’s or collective’s freedom to do what they want, rather than the individual’s freedom to do what they want. When the government comes down and says “no, your community cannot make everyone close their shop on Sundays, or make swearing illegal” they see that as infringing on the liberty of the group to fashion the community they want to fashion. The liberty of the individual – the liberties of the people who lose the vote – comes in second place to the liberty of the group – i.e., the people who won the vote.
    To be fair, the US historically was more group-minded. A lot of groups immigrated here in the colonial era precisely because they wanted to be able to form communities with their own particular rules. Even into the modern era, you get a lot of US sentiment on the side of leaving communities alone to do their own thing. The sense seems to be, as long as they aren’t doing anything horribly illegal, leave the Quakers and mormons and hippy communes alone.

    Support for Griswold, miscenegenation laws, “traditional marriage” etc. is just an extension of this ‘let the community do its own thing’ sentiment.

  10. davidworthington says

    On a different note. Why is this Presidential race so close? From what I’ve read the only group that Romney is winning is White males. Women, latinos, african-americans are all favoring Obama. I thought white’s were closing in on a plurality but not a majority of the country–(and gender would seem to nullify any advantage there anyway) what am I missing? Is it “probable voters” or is there something else?

  11. says

    “But I guess that’s why conservatives are called conservatives and liberals are called liberals.”

    Well, actually, liberals are called–among other things–commies, socialists, traitors, feminazis and GODLESS!!

    Conservatives (who are actually not “conservative” but reactionary RWA’s) are called “conservatives” because the MSM will not allow the use of “lying fuckbag”, “KKKrazzeepants fuckwads” and the like.

  12. says

    “Support for Griswold, miscenegenation laws, “traditional marriage” etc. is just an extension of this ‘let the community do its own thing’ sentiment.”

    If that was the case, and they wanted to live in their own cloisters, like the Shakers, the Amish, the Mennonites and others–I wouldn’t give a fuck what they did.

    The truth is that they want their narrow interpretation of certain scriptural writings to be the law of the land–for everyone.

    Fuck them.

  13. says

    @iknklast #3 – You are being generous. In the 1890s, the Industrial Revolution had created a strong trade union movement, and socialism was gaining ground because of the oratory of Eugene Debs and the writings of Edward Bellamy (whose cousin, Francis, wrote the original Pledge of Allegiance.) Slavery had been outlawed and blacks could (in theory) vote, and people such as W.E.B. DuBois, George Washington Carver and Frederick Douglass were making the strong case in favor of racial inclusion over racial segregation. While universal suffrage for women would not occur until ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920, half the states had given women full voting rights by 1890 and most states had granted partial suffrage.

    What the neo-cons and Talibangelicals want is a return to the 1640s and the world of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. At that time, America consisted of a few theocratic city-states run by Puritans. Women were property, and everything that came into a woman’s possession became the property of her husband, father or nearest male relative. The correct Protestant religion was enforced through blasphemy laws and mandatory church attendance, with all other competing dogmas brutally suppressed. Only whites had any rights, and only wealthy landowners had any power. That is where these people want to take us.

  14. says

    The argument used by almost every religion is that the sole purpose of sex is procreation.

    … Which is why it’s so fun, right?

    If god only wanted it to be hard work, he’d have made it unpleasant (I’m sure the typical conservative envies the male cat’s spiny penis) or dispassionate (like clam sex) but instead he made it fun and wonderful and pleasant in its own right. Because he wants us to do it a lot, apparently. Apparently he also wants us to eat shitloads of beer, pizza and Ben & Jerry’s, because those are pretty darned good, too!

    See? When you start imagining you know what the creator of the universe wants, it all gets a lot easier. :D

  15. Chiroptera says

    eric, #9: Support for Griswold, miscenegenation laws, “traditional marriage” etc. is just an extension of this ‘let the community do its own thing’ sentiment.

    At least until the evangelical right sees their “individual rights” at risk; suddenly they remember that there are constitutional limits to what the the “community” can require.

    If the community wants comprehensive sex education in the schools, then individual parents have the inalienable right to exclude their children.

    If a community decides that LGBT should be included in anti-discrimination laws, then individual landlords and employers’ rights trump the community wishes.

    If an individual thinks that their right to disestablishment is violated by school organizations official prayers, then suddenly the community should set the standards.

    Basically, the right wing just wants to set the rules the way it sees fit — any argument about community standards or individual rights, majority rule vs constitutional limitations, all this are a posteri justifications for preferences made.

  16. hunter says

    There’s a historical process here that seems to go largely unremarked: for decades — hell, a century or more — their standards/beliefs/moral values were incorporated into the law with no challenge. Hence, the state of Connecticut thought it was perfectly fine to forbid the sale of contraceptives. That’s all been slowly but steadily eroded over the past hundred years or so, probably beginning with women’s suffrage, and now they’re panicking. (Well, they’ve been panicking for over a generation, but now they’re getting really desperate.) The courts can’t strike down a law until someone sues. No one sued, until. . . .

    And there’s the ultimate slippery slope: “If you give the Griswolds freedom to buy contraceptives, then soon everyone will have the freedom to do things I don’t approve of.”

  17. Quodlibet says

    I just don’t understand the opposition to contraceptives.

    Because access to contraception enables women to control their fertility, and therefore, to do things with their lives other than stay at home and breed. And that’s a no-no.

    If contraception is to come under scrutiny, than so ought vasectomy. It serves the same purpose – to limit fertility.

  18. matty1 says

    Is this a contest to see how far back we can say conservatives want to go? I’m going to go straight for the jackpot and guess 4004 BC.

  19. Michael Heath says

    Chiroptera writes:

    I would claim that this is the basis of liberal democracy, something that conservatives seem opposed to. But I guess that’s why conservatives are called conservatives and liberals are called liberals.

    When it comes to those with power and/or influence on constitutional jurisprudence, liberals also avoid raising the 9th Amendment.

    I’ve also encountered some writings from, IIRC since it was several years ago – Clarence Thomas, on how he’d like to leverage the 9th Amendment to more effectively service capitalists to the great harm of labor. So perhaps this is why liberal experts are motivated to also largely ignore the 9th, though that’s uninformed speculation on my part.

  20. tomh says

    @ 10
    From what I’ve read the only group that Romney is winning is White males. Women, latinos, african-americans are all favoring Obama.

    The race is still very fluid. Today’s NYT reports that a new AP poll shows that Romney has basically erased Obama’s lead among women. Romney does especially well with blue-collar, white women without a college education, the so-called “waitress moms.”

  21. eric says

    @10:

    I thought white’s were closing in on a plurality but not a majority of the country–(and gender would seem to nullify any advantage there anyway) what am I missing?

    Demographic groups do not vote in equal per capta numbers. A higher percent of older people, wealthy people, and white people vote. Politicians campaign for voters, not citizens.

    Think of it this way: we may both represent 1 vote in theory, but if you are 25% likely to vote and I am 50% likely to vote, they are going to count (swaying) my opinion as twice as important as yours.

  22. raven says

    The conservatives want to take us back to the 1890s,

    More like the Dark Ages. They really hate the Enlightenment.

    On a different note. Why is this Presidential race so close? From what I’ve read the only group that Romney is winning is White males.

    I’m baffled too.

    The fact is no civilization (used loosely) has ever survived. They usually collapse.

    My theory, with a huge amount of evidence, is that it is just our time. 314 million lemmings just decided it’s time to run over a cliff.

  23. says

    raven “My theory, with a huge amount of evidence, is that it is just our time. 314 million lemmings just decided it’s time to run over a cliff.”
    Oh, please! You haven’t even seen the [future] chaos of the 2024 Snooki/Hilton administration.

  24. davidworthington says

    @23 Yeah, I think that’s where I was going with the “probably voters” sentence at the end. Thanks.

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