There is an outcry from Religious Conservatives over Alberto Gonzales' presumed liberality on the abortion issue. The NY Times is reporting that a group of Conservative lawyers, led by former Attorney General Ed Meese, have told the Chimperor that cadidate Gonzalez will not be an easy sell.
... Paul M. Weyrich, a veteran conservative organizer and chairman of the Free Congress Foundation, said he had told administration officials that nominating Mr. Gonzales, whose views on abortion are considered suspect by religious conservatives, would fracture the president's conservative backers.On the other hand, there is Orrin Hatch of Utah, who says he would be happy to support the current AG. While Hatch is Anti-Abortion, he is also a strong supporter of Stem Cell research, which to me implies that he has a fairly open mind for a Conservative from Utah. Like my own Senator from Ohio, George Voinovich, he does a good job of making the case for why abortion is a tragic option. I've never argued that it is not. But so is Open Heart Surgery. Both Republican Senators seem willing, despite their fundamental disapproval for this very important medical procedure, to allow the SCOTUS to have the final say on the issue's Constitutionality though; which is exactly how it should be.
So this leaves me wondering what might be so bad about Gonzales, a moderate(?) Conservative replacing O'Connor, a moderate conservative.
The obvious objection is the memo he wrote advocating an ignorance of the Geneva Conventions. The guy got really outta whack when he suggested that some sorts of torture could be considered "acceptable" and that these prisoners didn't subscribe to Geneva so didn't necessarily warrant its protections. That kind of thinking is worse than unprofessional. It's downright self-defeating and despicable because it lowers the morality of those who use it to at most the level of those they would use it against.
When I look at what else he said, I think that some of it (provisions in the conventions like commissary privileges and athletic uniforms were "quaint.") rings true with my own thoughts on domestic treatment of prisoners. As I've posted before, if you get incarcerated, you lose your Liberty. That is by definition! Keeping company with a good qur'an or bible or voodoo doll as part of your religious freedom does not seem any more rational or physiologically necessary to me than having access to 900 numbers, your friends' Poker Nght or Cable TV!
Whether one is imprisoned for murder or terrorism I fail to see the efficacy towards rehabilitation or reprimand that giving esoteric comforts is supposed to represent. They should be free from physical harm. Free from malnutrition and disease. Free from temptation to escape or injure their fellow prisoners. Imprisoned means "you can't do what you want to do!"
The biggest problem with the Gonzales rec's is that they were poorly enumerated and unprofessionally conveyed to an administration that would gleefully take them to their fascist extreme. That is a big error and one for which he should be held accountable if he is to be nominated to the SCOTUS.
But, you know what? After writing this piece, I actually feel a little better about that possibility. I mean, the Chimperor could choose anybody for this post.
Awww crap! Now I'm just about positive Gonzales is out of the running.