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How does the US Constitution deal with conflicts of interest by the Supreme Court?

Did the Founding Fathers ever anticipate how it would impact on the issue of abortion? Should male Supreme Court Justices be permitted to vote on issues relating to abortion?


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    Feb 1 2014: Hi Richard,
    I sincerely hope, that if one of the members of the supreme court has a conflict of interest, s/he would recuse him/herself from the proceedings.

    I suggest that at the time the constitution was written, abortion was not discussed publically. It was something that took place in a back room somewhere, and was not made known to anyone. My guess, is that the founding fathers did not ponder abortion, because they probably wanted to KEEP it in the back room. I'm sure you know that abortion has been happening since the beginning of humankind, with herbs, various kinds of tools and primitive instruments, etc.

    Abortion is something that impacts men and women, since they are both responsible for creating a pregnancy. Therefore, it impacts our societies,. So, no, I do not perceive a conflict of interest with either male or female members of the supreme court with the issue of abortion.

    That being said, I personally do not think/feel it should be a court issue. The practice of abortion has been taking place since the beginning of humankind, and many woman have died from infections, hemorrhaged to death, or been drastically mutilated because of abortions preformed without any consideration for the woman's health. I prefer to see abortions done in a sterile, safe environment by a trained medical professional, rather than the way they were done many times in the past.
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      Feb 2 2014: Colleen,
      Abortion is one subject I am so conflicted. Before Roe vs Wade some 50 years ago, there were some terrible incidents concerning abortions. Women of means apparently had little problems, the poor, not so much. As far as I was able to learn, there were no confident numbers on abortions successful and even the unsuccessful ones where medical intervention was sought may not be complete.
      But in the last fifty years, there are numbers,
      The government reports that since R vs W there has been nearly 50 million abortions, about 30 million are Black Americans. That is almost as many Black Americans as was counted in the last census. I find these numbers appalling. Was there a fetus in that number that could have grown to find a cure for cancer or or or.

      On the other hand, I understand that someone is in a situation where the birth of a child will cause great consternation for many reasons. I have seen children born greatly malformed and kept alive through the most extraordinary means only to exist with no cognitive function. I have said we treat our pets with greater compassion. So, there is my dilemma,

      The question of rights on which our law was based was based on property law.which I considered a cop out rather then to face the issue of life straight on. To make matters worse for me, I see this bargaining over abortion of a viable fetus is ok at this point and not at that. I learned in biology 101 that the zygote has genes from both parents and is an individual person and the only difference from me is many decades.

      I would guess that you are not so conflicted. As far as the SCOTUS goes, I am not sure that the sex of the justice would make any difference in any future challenge to R vs W.

      PS: I too do not want a woman to undergo any medical procedure without the best medical service available,
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        Feb 2 2014: Mike,
        Many people are conflicted about this issue...I would probably be conflicted if I ever had to make that decision...young girls and women who make the decision are conflicted by it all the time. That is one factor that a lot of people do not consider.

        There were no numbers on abortions because as I stated previously, they were often done in an unsterile back room, by people not adequately trained. I suggest that the same numbers of abortions were happening prior to R vs W.

        As a volunteer in a women/children's shelter for a couple years, I interacted with lots of young girls and women for whom the birth of a child would mean "great consternation" as you say. With counseling and support, we encouraged choices made by the women themselves, with ALL relevant, adequate information, which is what is done in women's health care facilities and medical facilities at this time.

        The greatest compassion we can give to a person who faces this decision, is to realize that it is HER decision, with help from partner, family, etc., if that is applicable.

        You say..."The question of rights on which our law was based was based on property law...."
        I am not sure which law you are referring to, but that is true....women, at the time the constitution was written, and for many years thereafter, were considered property of the man, and women had no rights. That is probably one reason abortion was not considered at the time of the writing of the constitution.

        I do not see "bargaining over abortion" as ok at all Mike. It is a woman's right to take care of, and use her body as she chooses. NOONE has the right to take that away from her. The woman or young girl is an "individual person" Mike, no matter what one's perception of the fetus happens to be.

        Unfortunately, it is often based on religious beliefs. It was not uncommon in the shelter, to see a teenage girl pregnant by her father, who insisted she could not have an abortion because they were a good Christian family!
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          Feb 2 2014: I think to better express myself, I hold two views. On a personal level, if I had a daughter who was facing this situation, I don't know where I would be... most likely out buying a shotgun. And yes, there are too many cases of rape and incest, but not enough punishment, only the future person is punished.
          And then there are the abortions for reasons of drug use, poverty, immaturity, lack of education, lack of personal responsibility, more immaturity, and more lack of responsibility.
          Now I am getting a sad for the irresponsible loss of life.
          On the public side, when I look at the numbers, just in the USA, in the last 50 years,
          there has been more lives ended legally then all of the wars in modern history. When I factor in all the legal abortion across the world, my mind boggles.
          Then I see on TV, some man in.... Tenn....? bragging on how he has fathered several dozen kids by a dozen different women, but no problem, he and all his offspring are well taken care of by welfare programs. Why aren't all these people carrying signs for and against abortions using these signs to beat this lowlife over the head, because if he had so many children survive, how many were aborted ?
          I'll bet there was one.
          Here is my bottom line... if the energy, emotion and money that went into the abortion issues from both sides were to be focused on education and social safety programs to teach people that sex is not a recreational sport for when there is nothing good on TV and men were punished for rape of related children, etc.
          then maybe the question would come down to abortion in extreme medical situations and we wouldn't be losing a million future citizens a year.
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        Feb 3 2014: I think I am aware of your position on abortion Mike, and I totally agree that education is helpful. I came to this conclusion years ago when volunteering in the shelter for women/children. So after volunteering there, I volunteered with the dept. of corrections and worked with offenders.

        I have no desire to go round and round with the numbers Mike....I prefer interacting with people and real situations, which I did for a number of years.

        The topic question is not whether or not we approve/disapprove of abortion.
        The topic question is...
        "How does the US Constitution deal with conflicts of interest by the Supreme Court?"
        "Should male Supreme Court Justices be permitted to vote on issues relating to abortion?"
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          Feb 3 2014: I imagine it is harder to deal with real people than pages of statistics.

          I looked at the constitution and it doesn't address this issue as I can see. The beauty and the consternation of the Constitution is that it was intended to be executed by noble and prudent people. I guess subsequent cultural evolution has diminished nobility and prudence. As such, conflicts were not addressed.
          As far as the abortion issue, I see a positive outcome to having male jurists, they probably would not have an emotional involvement and could rule on the specific legal issues and the applicable law.
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        Feb 3 2014: Depends on our individual interest and intent Mike, whether it is more....or less challenging dealing with real people or pages of statistics:>)

        I feel that applying the information to interactions with real people is more interesting and beneficial.

        Those who wrote the constitution may have been noble and prudent people of the time, and times change Mike. I am grateful that women are no longer legally considered the property of men, and we have the right to vote! That is progress:>)

        Let us not forget Mike, that the noble, prudent people who wrote a couple documents that said all men would be free and equal, owned hundreds of slaves. I don't think cultural evolution has diminished anything. Perhaps we are actually now evolving:>)
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          Feb 4 2014: Hi,
          I don't get around much anymore, so it's paperwork for me.
          I am not sure that new legality gave women that many benefits, for example; are you proud of all these elected officials? Half of the voters are women. : )
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        Feb 5 2014: Hi again Mike:>)

        Paperwork and statistics are a good resource for information, and I am one who likes applying information to real life scenarios. Sorry you do not "get around much anymore", and your comments suggest that you are still keeping yourself informed.

        Am I "proud of all these elected officials?"
        I certainly am not proud of some of them Mike, and I AM proud of the ones I vote for, because they genuinely represent what I care about and support. Before I vote, I do quite a bit of research and am aware of what our elected officials stand for.

        Unfortunately, I observe that some people do not know what they are voting for, as with people who simply vote party for example, regardless of the reputation and information available about the person.
    • Feb 2 2014: You do realize that a "conflict of interest" means "direct connection to the outcome". Thus, men, who could not get pregnant, cannot have any "conflict of interest" at all in an abortion decision. They have no stake at all in the outcome. It neither hurts nor helps them. Thus, men are eminently qualified and women must be disqualified due to "conflict of interest".

      "Conflict of interest" does not men "Likely to decide in a way I don't like."
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        Feb 3 2014: I am well aware of the meaning of conflict of interest Bryan Maloney, and perhaps you could brush up on the meaning as well.

        You say it is a "direct connection to the outcome", which is on the right path.

        1) The supreme court judges are both male and female, as are the billions of people in our world, so simply being male or female does not qualify as a direct connection to the outcome.

        2) A direct connection might be friends or relatives coming before the court with a question of the legality of abortion. It would be appropriate for a judge to recuse him/herself if that were the situation, because the judge could be influenced by the friends/family whether the judge was male or female.

        3) Another conflict of interest might be apparent if the judge has spoken out publically FOR or AGAINST abortion. It might be apparent that the judge, whether male or female, might have a predisposition regarding the issue of abortion, and it would be appropriate to recuse him/herself.

        4)The main reason for recusal in a legal proceeding when there is a conflict of interest, is to prevent the proceeding from being challenged as null and void because of a conflict of interest. Conflict of interest compromises the proceeding.

        • Feb 5 2014: However, the premise has been that men MUST recuse themselves from the issue of abortion, because men would automatically have a "conflict of interest" and women would not. How do you answer that demand?
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        Feb 5 2014: Bryan Maloney,
        There is no "premise" that men MUST recuse themselves from the issue of abortion", and there is no "demand" to do so. You seem to simply want to be antagonistic, and I'm not interested. Please familiarize yourself with "conflict of interest" if you genuinely have any interest in the topic whatsoever.
        • Feb 10 2014: Please read the original post in this thread. Respond to what I have written in that context.
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        Feb 10 2014: I HAVE carefully read your posts, and responded to what you have written Bryan Maloney! I do not agree with you. Apparently, you do not understand or accept that.

        EDIT regarding comment below:
        I addressed the original post in my comments Bryan Maloney. I repeat, I DO NOT AGREE WITH YOU, and I have addressed that with you in response to your comments.
        • Feb 11 2014: Here, let me QUOTE THE ORIGINAL POST IN THE THREAD: "Did the Founding Fathers ever anticipate how it would impact on the issue of abortion? Should male Supreme Court Justices be permitted to vote on issues relating to abortion?"

          I DID NOT SAY "READ *MY* ORIGINAL POST". I SAID "READ *****THE***** ORIGINAL POST". So, now that I have reproduced the original post in the thread, what have you to say? You will make it a personal issue and continue your ad hominem.

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