Brown, Rehnquist and Contemporary Politics
nebraskalawprof at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 12 06:28:25 PDT 2005
Well said, Jim.
Justice Blackmun's Holocaust both drew me to work in constitutional law, and poisoned constitutional law in my heart. Roe's existence makes it impossible for me to respect the Court, or to love my country. More than 30 years after the decree in Roe was handed down, I find it difficult to believe that the City on the Hill has become a death camp for so many millions of innocent, vulnerable human beings. I don't know whether Harry Blackmun told fetus jokes, but his judicial legacy is one of spilled innocent blood.
JMHACLJ at aol.com wrote:
I want to be sure we are clear about something. A wrongful killing, whether of a Jew, a Native American, an African, is just that: wrong. Call it homicide. Call it murder. The genocide or holocaust labels require more.
Suppose that, with respect to Jews, Hitler only ordered the killing of males, over the age of 100. Suppose that a certain Union general had said, "the only good Indian child between the ages of four and seven that I ever saw was dead." Suppose that the State of Georgia only permitted enslavement of African native born in America to an enslaved mother.
Bob, I think if Hitler had just been, in addition to Chancellor, a closet serial killer responsible for the death of 5-10 German Jews, we would all agree to the monstrosity of his acts but we might not have agreement on his murderous crime spree being a holocaust. Murder, yes; genocide, maybe not.
So, for me, on the level of the killing of a single human life without moral and legal cause, I'd call it murder, or some species of it, parricide, fratricide, feticide. It becomes holocaust when it expands in some notable respect. I am uncertain that it is merely ethnic or religious bias that makes it holocaust, but suspect that it encompasses a scope of harm as well.
Consequently, I don't call the death of a single unborn child at the hands of an abortion, the American Holocaust. Murder most foul? Certainly. But that alone. When the murder is repeated to the tune of 4000 a day, then we've got holocaust. When the killings substantially are disproportionate in some way, for example, the number of abortions performed on African-American women, then we may also be looking at genocide if the focus of the killing seems to pursue such a line.
Now you raise the question of at what stage of development I would apply the appellation of holocaust. But as I have suggested above, it is not the age of a human that makes his/her death evidence of holocaust; it is the pairing of that death with the deaths of others, conjoined, perhaps, with the requisite motivation.
In my peculiar philosophy, a unique human life begins with the fertilization of an ovum by a sperm. I don't know a place along the spectrum closer to middle aged white male where I am comfortable with arbitrary line drawing. Answer for me, please, whether less wrong is done when fewer Jews are killed, but those that are killed are still dead; when fewer Africans are enslaved, but those that are enslaved still live in bitter bondage; when fewer Native Americans are driven off their lands and force marched across a continent, but those that are driven off still suffer the privations and desperate straits of the march.
If human life is present, then our duty and responsibility is to do it no wrong.
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Welpton Professor of Law
University of Nebraska College of Law
Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
"When the Round Table is broken every man must follow either Galahad or Mordred: middle things are gone." C.S.Lewis, Grand Miracle
"I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered." --The Prisoner
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