Sunday, June 03, 2007

Van Hollen: WI partial-birth law unenforceable

The AP reports:

Wisconsin’s ban on so-called partial birth abortion likely will remain unenforceable even though the U.S. Supreme Court in April upheld a federal ban on the procedure, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said Thursday.

That is because Wisconsin’s law is based on a broad Nebraska ban the Supreme Court struck down, not the more narrow federal ban it upheld, Van Hollen said in a legal opinion requested by two Republican legislative leaders.


The Supreme Court said the differently worded law that Congress passed and President Bush signed in 2003 does not violate a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. Van Hollen said that law contains a more narrow and precise definition of the procedure than Wisconsin’s ban.

Because of that, a federal judge is unlikely to lift the injunction, Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen issued his legal opinion in response to a request from Assembly Speaker Mike Huebsch, R-West Salem, and Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau.

In light of the opinion, Fitzgerald will now look at what changes need to be made to bring Wisconsin law in line with what the Supreme Court ruled was an acceptable ban, his spokesman Mike Prentiss said. When the bill passed in 1998 it had bipartisan support, he noted.

I have a feeling Fitzgerald can put "a new governor" at the top of his list of changes needed. Given the recent example of legislators like Harry Reid and Joe Biden--who voted for the federal ban and then proceeded to express shock and dismay when the Supreme Court had the audacity to actually uphold the law they'd passed--it's safe to say that many Democrats who supported the ban did so solely to try to lure pro-life voters...with the unspoken expectation (understanding?) that the courts would strike the ban down.

There's no reason to think things are any different on the state level. Now that Democrats know that what they vote for will actually stick, you can expect that "bipartisan support" to dwindle rapidly--to well below the numbers required to override a Jim Doyle veto.


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