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Other issues, too

| July 27, 2005 12:00 AM

The importance and the controversy of the 32-year-old Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court should never be dismissed but too often it seems to be the central issue for selecting new high court justices.

Perhaps that blame should be cast at the late President Ronald Reagan who made his opposition to abortion the litmus test for appointing justices. Since then, the issue has been a ideological battleground for the Republicans and Democrats, for the pro-Life groups and the pro-women's rights groups. It goes on.

Despite attempts by past presidents to stack the court with ideologues supporting their position on Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has regularly upheld that controversial decision albeit by smaller majorities than the original 7-2 vote. And of course, it is felt that an increasingly more conservative court will eventually turn around the decision once again making abortion illegal. Yet the court has seemed more unpredictable on a variety of unrelated issues leaving both ideological sides from Roe v. Wade muttering.

A quick look at the Supreme Court's decisions from February and March of this year shows a majority of cases dealt with regular crime — sexual offenses, homicides, assaults, deportation — something gaining popularity as the "war on terrorism: continues, contract law, drug cases and the question of sentencing community service in a variety of cases. Most of those cases involved whether someone's rights — such as right to a trial — were in someway violated. But not one abortion case.

With the growing controversy centered around the Patriot's Act and its perceived assault on constitutional rights, on other violations of individual rights brought on by the "war on terrorism," and by an individual's right to dignity in terms of death — to avoid the three-ring circus that evolved around Terry Schiavo's well-publicized end, you would think there would be much more to worry about in appointing a Supreme Court justice than Roe v. Wade.

I know. Roe v. Wade is considered a landmark decision in granting women a right to decide, along with her doctor, what to do with her body and not have the almighty government do it for them.

But with the government peering over everyone's shoulder, looking into our library records and Internet habits, with the government now allowed to seize our land because someone else has a different idea in how it should used, perhaps we better starting asking some other questions beside does the nominee support Roe v. Wade. — Roger Morris