Putting the "Federal" Back Into Federalism

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While you were busy not paying attention to Capitol Hill, the United States Congress passed the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, by a vote of 270 to 157.

The bill, intended to prevent minor girls from going to different states to circumvent more restrictive laws in their home states, applies to adults who accompany girls 17 and under. It also, for the first time, requires doctors who perform abortions on under-age girls to comply with state notification laws, and in some cases to notify the girl's parents in person. Violators could face a $100,000 fine and a year in jail.

The bill also imposes a 24-hour waiting period for young women who travel to another state for an abortion, in some cases even if they are accompanied by their parents.

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  1. Republicans in the Senate also apparently engaged in some juvenile shenanigans over proposed Democratic amendments to the bill. Charming.

  2. Oh horrors! The Feds are going to make doctors obey the laws of their state! Whatever will we do?

    There is nothing in this bill which restricts anyone from getting an abortion if they are intending to do so in a manner which is already lawful. If they want to get one unlawfully, that can only be because their home state or the state where they want to get one has defined the abortion they want to be illegal. If people want to get abortions extra-legally, are you saying there are no problems there?

    If you want federalism put back into federalism, get the 17th amendment repealed.

    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

  3. http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/national/AP-Abortion-Dispute.html

    In our favorite goofy state of Florida, a 13 yr old girl living in a shelter found out she was pregnant wanted an aborotion. But FL judges blocked it since she needs ‘parental/guardian ok’ and DCF who’s got the kid is legally unable to (a Jeb-ism) to grant her permission.

    Catch 22 and a 13 yr old gets to have an unwanted baby which we’ll pay for.

  4. I wonder how long it will be until some adult Greyhound bus driver is arrested because one of his teenaged passengers went to have an abortion.

    I’m also wondering if this wouldn’t eventually open a door for, say, a state with no legal gambling to prosecute anyone who goes to Las Vegas or an out-of-state Indian casino.

  5. “Oh horrors! The Feds are going to make doctors obey the laws of their state! Whatever will we do?”

    Why can’t states be left alone to enforce their own laws? What fucking business is it to the feds?

    This is a very simple case of slippery slope. These theocratic fuckheads are going for full restriction on personal choice and self-determination. Just like the douchebags who “only” want to restrict private ownership of “assault” weapons.

  6. Actually Tom, the Feds are trying to make doctors obey the laws of *all* the other states – not just their own. If something is illegal where I live why should it now be a crime to go somewhere else?

  7. I wonder how long it will be until some adult Greyhound bus driver is arrested because one of his teenaged passengers went to have an abortion.

    Jennifer, check my link in the first post. The Democratic amendments tried specifically to exempt such people (Greyhound drivers, cabbies, etc.), but when the Republicans read the amendments into the record, they characterized them, for example, as

    DEMS: a Scott amendment to exempt cab drivers, bus drivers and others in the business transportation profession from the criminal provisions in the bill (no 13-17):
    GOP REWRITE. Mr. Scott offered an amendment that would have exempted sexual predators from prosecution if they are taxicab drivers, bus drivers, or others in the business of professional transport. By a roll call vote of 13 yeas to 17 nays, the amendment was defeated.

    They read all of the proposed Democratic amendments into the record as if they had something to do with protecting sexual predators. Classy.

  8. Mr. Nice Guy, I beleive a good argument could be made that failing to require that state’s enforce their own laws is a failure of due process and falls afoul of the garrantee that a state will have small “r” republican governemnt.

    “Why can’t states be left alone to enforce their own laws?” Well, history does show that states will be every bit as hard on politically excluded minorities to the point where trumped up charges, biased juries, and interference with voting is more the norm over this country’s history than the exception. Bottom line, states shouldn’t get free passes to pass feelgood legislation that they have no intention of enforcing.

    Agammamon (mix cultural references much? Hellene and Phonecian) I haven’t read anything in this law yet which requires that a doctor practicing in state A to obey the laws of state B. It does seem to impose a nationwide requirement that an abortion taking place in state A be delayed by 24 hours if the person having the abortion is domiciled in state B–and I think if it will do that it needs specifically state that the 24 hour period does not count against any percent of full term limitations that may be imposed by state A.

    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

  9. Uh, why can’t the state of residence administer and enforce their own laws? If one state is forced to enforce the laws of another state, then what exactly is the reason for keeping the state structure? Why not just get rid of federalism altogether, get rid of state & local gubmints, and just put the feds in charge of everything—because that’s basically what’s going on here. The base foundation, the raison d’etre, of federalism is precisely to prevent this very situation.

    Jennifer makes a great point: what’s to stop my state government from getting the federal government to make sure that Nevada prohibits me from engaging in gambling activities that are illegal in my state of residence?

  10. They read all of the proposed Democratic amendments into the record as if they had something to do with protecting sexual predators. Classy.

    This country is fucked. There is no excuse for that—what arrogance! Drunk on power, they are. Anyone who can vote for these bastards and still claim a clean conscience is one seriously messed up person.

  11. Evan Williams wrote: “Uh, why can’t the state of residence administer and enforce their own laws? If one state is forced to enforce the laws of another state, then what exactly is the reason for keeping the state structure?”

    Get this false meme out of your head! This law does not make state A enforce state B’s laws.

    Evan Williams also wrote:
    “This country is fucked. There is no excuse for that—what arrogance! Drunk on power, they are.”

    No, they are the majority, they have the power, the majority of the people gave it to them. The Democrats were no better or different when they were in power, and I might add, you shrill idiot.

    The Democrats deserve to be embarrassed over their stand on abortion. Their every proviso and amendment is intended to preserve abortions of convenience at any point in the trimester.

    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

  12. “The Democrats deserve to be embarrassed over their stand on abortion.”

    That must be why the Republicans had to write “sexual predator” into every reading of the Democratic amendment. Because the Democratic positions are so embarrassing, and the Republicans are so confident in their majority support.

  13. No, they are the majority, they have the power, the majority of the people gave it to them.

    Um, no, you’re the idiot here. When speaking of the Senate, given that each state has two Senators regardless of population, the Senate Republican majority actually represents less than half of the US population. That’s probably also true of the House as well, since the Democratic minority still represents the most populous states and cities.

    I would recommend you learn a little bit about math, apportionment and just who in Congress comes from where, but it would apparently be a waste of time.

  14. “Their every proviso and amendment is intended to preserve abortions of convenience at any point in the trimester.”

    Democrats want the government to give women special permission to have abortions, so I am extremely reluctant to defend them.

    But your choice of terminology is deceptive. This is not an issue of “convenience”. It is a simple matter of liberty.

  15. >This law does not make state A enforce state B’s laws.

    Yes it does, in effect. Doctors in state A essentially must comply with state B’s stricter parental notification laws rather than follow the laws in their own state. And there are no exceptions for minors who have received a judge’s permission for an abortion in lieu of their parents’ permission.

    And the 24-hour waiting period before an abortion is such a joke. Hopefully the requirements of the law can be met over the telephone rather than requiring young women to stay overnight out of state.

    Funny how the Republicans are all about “protecting” minors from making their own decisions about abortion but all too happy to consider minors who commit crimes adults.

  16. Tom sayeth,

    “Get this false meme out of your head! This law does not make state A enforce state B’s laws.”

    That’s how I read it. So, tell me, how do YOU read it, Tom?

    “No, they are the majority, they have the power, the majority of the people gave it to them. The Democrats were no better or different when they were in power, and I might add, you shrill idiot.”

    A) So, because they are the majority, it is acceptable, laudable even, for them to mischaracterize protections for bus drivers as protections for child sexual predators? Well, sir, I respectfully disagree with that load of horseshit.

    B) Did I ever say “the democrats were better when they were in power”? No, of course, I did not. So, you have no reason to unload that little non-sequitur on me.

    C) I’m no more a fan of the dummycrats than I am of the publicans. I don’t base my judgement of their despicable actions on whether or not the other party was better or worse. I base them on my ethical sensibilities. And turning “protections for bus drivers” into “protections for sexual predators who drive buses” is ethically despicable; whether a democrat or a republican or a libertarian or a spider monkey does it, is irrelevant to my ethical judgment. You shrill idiot.

    “The Democrats deserve to be embarrassed over their stand on abortion. Their every proviso and amendment is intended to preserve abortions of convenience at any point in the trimester.”

    I couldn’t care less about embarassing democrats. What partisan nonsense! Ethically, mischaracterizing the amendments was wrong. You may make excuses for it because you believe in a certain cause, but I won’t let such things cloud my ethical judgment. However, the real issue at hand here is federalism; Roe v Wade is an affront to federalism, as is this new law. Thus, I object to both of them.

  17. What’s to prevent a state from passing a law preventing doctors from performing abortions on minors from other states? I mean, if this law prevents a state from either allowing or prohibitng the procedure within its own borders, it’s hardly a triumph for federalism.

    I lean pro-life, and I’m generally in favor of notification laws; but this legislation spits in the face of federalism.

    This may be an item on the conservative agenda, but I don’t think these people are conservatives–they look like Progressives to me. Prohibition looked like a conservative idea too.

  18. Tom Perkins,

    You are mistaken. The 24 hour waiting period does appear to be a strictly federal constraint — regulating interstate commerce, naturally — but as I understand it the bill also makes a _federal_ crime if the teen is transported across state lines when her _home state_ has parental notification laws. (See this article, for example.) This is certainly the federal government imposing one state’s laws on all of its geographical neighbors. (And of course one may also quibble with the broad definition of interstate commerce, etc.)

    Anon

  19. “But your choice of terminology is deceptive. This is not an issue of “convenience”. It is a simple matter of liberty.”

    Exarcly. I too cannot stand up to defend democrats on the abortion issue, but, at the same time, for it to be a matter of “convenience” would mean that Democrats are trying to enact legislation that would put an abortion clinic on every other street corner. Last I checked, they weren’t. That’s like saying that the NRA is trying to make it “convenient” to buy an AR-15. Convenience is of no concern. Access unhindered by law (as opposed to inconvenience) is the issue.

  20. Jennifer makes a great point: what’s to stop my state government from getting the federal government to make sure that Nevada prohibits me from engaging in gambling activities that are illegal in my state of residence?

    I see this as the small snowball that will lead to, say, me getting drug tested as soon as I step off a plane originating in Amsterdam. Republicans with a majority cannot be trusted, period! (Same for democrats.)

  21. “I see this as the small snowball that will lead to, say, me getting drug tested as soon as I step off a plane originating in Amsterdam.”

    I can’t find it at the moment, but I know that in the last few years “anti-drug tourism” laws modeled on “anti-sex tourism” laws have already been casually proposed.

  22. So would this apply to parents from a theocratic state, such as Mississippi, from going with their daughter to get her an abortion?

  23. It is worthwhile to note, I think, that this law applies to persons who are under the age of consent (18 years) and thus legally incapable of making an informed decision of their own. It also applies to anyone, other than the parents, who help them avoid the law in there home state.

  24. “It is worthwhile to note, I think, that this law applies to persons who are under the age of consent (18 years) and thus legally incapable of making an informed decision of their own”

    Age of consent varies from state to state.

    Some of these “minors” could be married sixteen year-old Alabamans. And the lawbreaking driver could be the husband.

  25. I need some clarification here. Does the 24-hour waiting period begin when the (young) woman notifies the clinic/hospital about the abortion, or when she first visits? That is, would some women be forced to stay overnight in another state, which would no doubt prove too expensive or time-consuming for many? I’m afraid that this may be a case of the federal government using fiscal bullying tactics to intimidate lower-income women from having an abortion if they choose to do so.

    I am generally pro-choice, but I’m not totally against the idea of parental notification. The only thing that really bothers me about it is that young women who have no parents and no one to help them after they become pregnant basically have no place to go.

    Also, if these restrictions continue at this pace, won’t our politicians be pressured by lobbying groups (both liberal and conservative) into raising taxes to pay for adoption services, since that could very possibly become a bigger public concern?

  26. Other posters have made this point, but allow me to reiterate. Am I a subject of my state (Maryland), in that I am held to its laws no matter where I go? Is this the point the Repulsicans (in this case) are making?

  27. If Democrats should be embarassed by their stand on abortion, how much more embarassment should the Republicans feel over their base hypocrisy? This bill (along with the despicable amendment rewrites) provides more evidence that all of the cant and blather I heard from Republicans over the last 10 or 15 years about “small government” and “federalism” was just vote-grabbing BS. The Republican leadership displays the exact same power-mongering, centralizing tendencies that the Democrats did, and I see no reason why a tryanny of the majority should be more acceptable when it comes from the Right instead of the Left.

  28. I await the nationwide ban on buying sex toys, if your home state bluenoses find them morally repugnant.

  29. Quite right Jon and I should have said “age of majority”.

  30. too many steves,

    I appreciate your point, but remember consider that the minor is allowed to have the abortion in the state she is being taken to, thus the whole reason for the issue. Thus this is akin to the feds saying that one cannot cross state lines from a state where it is illegal to buy fireworks to buy them in a state where it is legal. Since the minor is allowed to have the abortion in the destination state, that this federal law is intended to backup a state’s laws regarding minors is ultimately immaterial.

    So much for voting with one’s feet.

  31. Joe wrote: “That must be why the Republicans had to write “sexual predator” into every reading of the Democratic amendment.”

    That’s right, the amendments were pretexts intended to preserve the appearance of the moral validity of abortion for convenience at any point in a pregnancy. No other reading of the Democrats position is plausible.

    Phil spewed: “I would recommend you learn a little bit about math, apportionment and just who in Congress comes from where, but it would apparently be a waste of time.”

    You are in meaningless ways correct. I’d recommend you read the Constitution and see that the overrepresentation of small states in the Senate is required. Pissant. Frankly though, I don’t imagine you have much use for the document.

    Serafina, here is the relevant paragraph from the linked article.
    “The bill, intended to prevent minor girls from going to different states to circumvent more restrictive laws in their home states, applies to adults who accompany girls 17 and under. It also, for the first time, requires doctors who perform abortions on under-age girls to comply with state notification laws, and in some cases to notify the girl’s parents in person. Violators could face a $100,000 fine and a year in jail.”

    There is nothing in this paragraph which states the law in question causes doctors in state A to obey state B’s laws. I suppose that is a possible wording of the bill, but you will have to cite it.

    Evan I’ve already told you how I read it. We strongly disagree.
    a) Unless the principle of mens rea has been entirely removed from the federal court system, there will be no unaware, innocent bus drivers convicted under this law.
    b) It isn’t a non sequitor. To me it follows quite directly that the Republicans (at least if they are acting within the law, and I think they are here, although some aspects of the bill will come to the SC, I’m sure) should be able to force their agenda on the country every bit as much as the democrats did. The democrats changed the rules such that this country is largely a majoritarian democracy, as opposed to a constitutionally limited democratic republic. When and if this irks Democrats enough they’ll support getting rid of the New Deal garbage, the EPA, NFA, ’68GCA, ad nauseum, it will be having the effect I expect it might.
    c) “I’m no more a fan of the dummycrats than I am of the publicans. I don’t base my judgement of their despicable actions on whether or not the other party was better or worse. I base them on my ethical sensibilities. And turning “protections for bus drivers” into “protections for sexual predators who drive buses” is ethically despicable; whether a democrat or a republican or a libertarian or a spider monkey does it, is irrelevant to my ethical judgment. You shrill idiot.”
    For so long as a return to genuinely constitutional government is impossible,
    I’m perfectly willing to take the approach that the Democrats should enjoy a Republican majority every bit as much as the reverse. What could disenchant them with governemnt more?

    “I couldn’t care less about embarassing democrats. What partisan nonsense!” I do care about it, the Democrats want the murder of children to be legal, period, full stop. That is the upshot of their position on abortion. I believe the Republicans on that committee were accurately restating the Democrats position without obfuscation. Certainly, they were restating those positions as I believe they believe them to be, therefore they were not being unethical. Your mileage may vary.

    “What’s to prevent a state from passing a law preventing doctors from performing abortions on minors from other states?” that would definitely be an unconstitutional restriction on interstate trade, and even one that contravenes the founder’s conception of the interstate commerce clause, which was intended to create a free trade zone for the United States–although they would not have approved of abortion on demand, I’m sure.

    “I lean pro-life, and I’m generally in favor of notification laws; but this legislation spits in the face of federalism.”

    How can it be less appropriate for the federal government to take action to protect the lives of the unborn than to take action to protect the lives of ethnic minorities? If one is ok, why not the other? In light of the 14th amendment, why does federalism make it ok to kill children, if the state governemnt will not prevent it effectively?

    Some aspects of Progressivism were once socially conservative, true, and certainly increased involvement of government in everyday life is not classically liberal–but then classical liberalism effectively does not exist politically in this country anymore. It went out with Warren G. Harding at the latest, if I recall. When Libertarians (capital L) can deal with that reality, then they might begin to look better to me. Until then, the Republicans advancing their agenda as thoroughly as the Democrats have advanced theirs is all to the good. Where the policies are better, they are better, where they are worse, they may well erode confidence in government generally–at least I hope so.

    Anon, I’d be happy to be corrected if I am wrong–but unfortunately you’ve cited the NYT. The Pink Lady is not known for accuracy or non-partisan reporting. They are not quoting the text of the bill, which I am googling for as I write.

    Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

  32. The applicable text from the

  33. You are in meaningless ways correct. I’d recommend you read the Constitution and see that the overrepresentation of small states in the Senate is required. Pissant. Frankly though, I don’t imagine you have much use for the document.

    I’ll take that as a tacit retraction of your statement that the Republican party was given power by the majority of people in the United States. The rest of your blather about what I may or may not believe in is, in fact, just that: Blather. Of which you seem to be overflowing, so enjoy it.

  34. Here’s a moral puzzle,

    How it is government’s role to ensure that every conceived person is born, but not to ensure to that said person has food, medicine, shelter, etc. until death? Can you have it both ways? Or is it up to private intitutions and personal choice only after a person is born?

  35. Hey Tom,

    What if Congress passed a law making it a federal crime for a gun dealer in Virginia to sell firearms with a resident of Massachusetts, if doing so would violate Massachcusetts’ gun laws?

    Other than “guns good, abortions bad,” what would be the difference?

  36. This bill actually kinda smells like the fugitive slave act, don’t it?

  37. At best, this is a bill to prevent people from travelling to another state to do something that is perfectly legal in that state.

    I can hardly wait to read the SCOTUS opinion on this one.

  38. Call it “The Fugitive Womb Act of 2005”

  39. Tom Perkins,

    Allow me to rephrase joe’s question to you.

    What if Congress passed a law making it a federal crime for someone in Massachusetts to travel to Virginia to buy guns in order to circmvent Massachcusetts’ gun laws?

    Other than “guns okay, abortions not,” what would be the difference regarding the constitutionality and appropriateness of the federal law?

  40. Tom-
    In addition to Joe and Fyodor’s question,I’d also like to know your take on a law making it a Federal crime for a Massachusetts resident to go and gamble in a Connecticut Indian casino.

  41. …they [the Republicans] are the majority, they have the power, the majority of the people gave it to them.
    –Comment by: Tom Perkins at April 28, 2005 09:17 AM

    The Republicans owe their power more to malapportionment in the Senate and the Electoral College, and gerrymandering of House districts by Republican state governments than they do to popular support. But let them think they have a popular majority behind them. Between Schiavomania and crap like this, they’re well on the way to alienating themselves from mainstream Americans.

    …they [the founders] would not have approved of abortion on demand, I’m sure.
    –Comment by: Tom Perkins at April 28, 2005 11:39 AM

    Don’t be so sure, Mr. Perkins. I remember reading in When Abortion was a Crime by Leslie Reagan read that abortion was generally legal in the United States until about the middle of the 19th century. When abortion bans were enacted, they had more to do with protecting women’s health and protecting doctors’ monopolies than with protecting unborn life.

  42. You may not buy nor possess fireworks in MA but you can in NH. When you attempt to purchase fireworks in NH, especially near the MA border, you will be asked to show your NH drivers license. As the result of some sort of reciprocal agreement (I guess) NH State Police make themselves very visable in and around fireworks stores as Fourth of July approaches and are known to stop anyone who buys fireworks and then hops into a car with MA plates.

  43. Also I’d like to know Tom’s opinion on a law making it a Federal crime for a person in a state where prostitution is illegal to go to a legal brothel in Nevada.

  44. too many steves,

    They stop them, and then what? What crime are they breaking?

  45. Too many steves,

    I guess the concern there is that the MA residents will bring the fireworks home and light them. I can’t see it being illegal for a MA resident to buy, and use the fireworks before going home.

  46. Good point, David. Anyway, maybe it’s none of the NH cops’ business what people temporarily in NH might be doing in Massachusetts and maybe it is, I would need a better understanding of the issue of states enforcing the laws of other states to decide for sure. But regardless, such a “reciprocal agreement” is a far cry from federal intervention.

  47. What’s the other side of the MA-NH reciprocal agreement?

    Does MA make Red Sox fans sober up before returning home to NH?

  48. What if I am travelling in State A (I am a resident of State B) as a tourist and decide while I am there to pop in for an abortion. Would the law pertain to me? Assume for the sake of discussion that I am a minor, female and pregnant.

  49. “How can it be less appropriate for the federal government to take action to protect the lives of the unborn than to take action to protect the lives of ethnic minorities?”

    The Constitution specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of race. If you want to amend the Constitution to specifically protect unborn children then you should fight to do so.

    Heretofore, I understood the argument for overturning Roe v. Wade as being that the states should decide the matter rather than the federal government. This legislation, which I believe to be unconstitutional, is an about face on that, isn’t it?

    …and in regards to Progressives, I wish these people would embrace the term and stop soiling the good name of conservatives so. Look at the Progressive record:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Era

    They even reformed college football for the kiddies! That’s interesting in itself, but I’m even more interested in their tactics. Pick a big issue, any of their big issues, and they tried everything until, finally, they had to amend the Constitution.

    …I regard the Seventeenth Amendment as a direct assault on federalism, but that’s another topic.

    My point is that if you want to change the law in all the states, you need to amend the Constitution to do so, and the Constitution provides for ways to do that. If you don’t believe in the procedural basis for changing laws in this country, rather than calling yourself a “conservative”, please find another label. (Some of these same people actually refer to themselves in public as strict interpreters!)

    Anyway, it’s unreasonable to expect real conservatives to sit on their hands and breathe their noses while Congress circumscribes states rights by federal fiat.

    Progressives–they don’t care about the Constitution so long as they get what they want! Progressives–it’s what’s for dinner!

  50. Vache Folle,

    To be fair to those with whom I disagree, I believe the law only penalizes adults who accompany the minor. And theoretically only if the adult(s) knew that was the minor’s purpose. As if this was some sort of kidnapping.

  51. Tom Perkins said, “the Democrats want the murder of children to be legal, period, full stop.”

    This is a gross, almost vomit-inducingly gross, mischaracterization. Firstly, I don’t support the democratic position that the federal government should be allowed to force all states to legalize. abortion. However, on the specific matter of abortion, regardless of federlist principles, the difference here is how various people define “children”. Obviously, you, Mr. Tom Perkins, defines “child” as a biologic which meets a certain set of criteria. Many pro-choicers have a different definition of “child”, though, I doubt that most of them can agree on it. On the other end, there are orthodox extremists who claim that “child” is created at the moment of conception, or even earlier (MASTURBATION IS MURDER!). Which one is correct? Shit, I don’t know. I know how I feel, but, should my subjective definition of when a clump of cells suddenly becomes a rights-bearing citizen be forced upon everyone else? I don’t think so.

    Your problem is, you are unable to accept any definition of when life begins, other than your own. Anyone with a more liberal definition is a “child murderer!”

  52. I don’t think this would pass the SCOTUS sniff test. Thomas is enough of a federalist that he’d vote against it — since it clearly disables the full faith and credit of the states — and most of the others would vote against it because it’s one of their pet causes.

    Matt Welch: Technically, the United States House passed this bill, not the United States Congress. You had me scared there for a minute.

  53. What if Congress passed a law making it a federal crime for someone in Massachusetts to travel to Virginia to buy guns in order to circmvent Massachcusetts’ gun laws?

    Wouldn’t that be Constitutional? If you travel to Arkansas in order to buy a gun which you then intend to take back to Kentucky, isn’t that interstate commerce? Regulating interstate commerce is one of the few things Congress is actually supposed to be allowed to do.

    The abortion-travel ban clearly isn’t interstate commerce, however, since no goods or services are actually crossing state lines.

  54. Jennifer,

    Your last example about brothels is what I first thought of too.

    Another example from Nevada would be machine guns. They’re fully legal in Nevada, and you can travel there, rent one, and have a blast (pun intended).

    How would conservatives like it if Democrats passed a law that said you couldn’t travel out of state to operate a firearm, even thought you wouldn’t be taking it back to your home residence.

    This assault on federalism is mind-blowing. I hate to say slippery slope, but getting rid of state autonomy would be the very death of these “United States.”

  55. Don’t tell anyone, okay? But when I’m in Las Vegas on business I have been known to gamble! Gambling is illegal in my State of residence, MA. Well, illegal except for Beano and Bingo games put on by churces.

    As for the earlier question about the NH State Troopers stopping MA residents with fireworks – my understanding, as I have no recent experience with this, is that they simply confiscate the stuff.

  56. I notice that Tom hasn’t been back to answer my, Joe’s and Fyodor’s questions.

  57. Note that the House explicitly rejected an exemption for incest (at least according to CNN). Thus it requires notification even if the person being notified actually is the father. It is apparently going to be federal law that a minor who wants an abortion after being raped by her father needs his permission. Charming.

  58. too many steves,

    my understanding…is that they simply confiscate the stuff.

    Interesting. Wonder if that’s ever been challenged. And I wonder if they throw some great fireworks parties with their booty!

    Dan,

    I’m no commerce clause scholar, but I’m not so sure that transporting something bought in another state back to your own state for personal use (as opposed to for resale) would qualify as interstate commerce. Or at least that it should (extra-constitutional expansions on the commerce clause aside). Anyway, as others have pointed out, going to another state to rent a gun (from one where such rental is illegal) is actually a much better analogy.

  59. Jennifer,

    VICTORY IS OURS!!! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!

  60. Dan, thank you for mentioning the Commerce Clause. I am not so sure that it is obviously not interstate commerce.
    Examples referring to going somewhere, doing something, then returning essentially unchanged do not seem applicable to me in this situation.
    Going further than I believe, we live in a republic that has stated that growing wheat on your property for your own consumption is interstate commerce.
    BTW, are there still ‘transporting minors across state lines for immoral purposes’ laws?

  61. I’m no commerce clause scholar, but I’m not so sure that transporting something bought in another state back to your own state for personal use (as opposed to for resale) would qualify as interstate commerce.

    fyodor, I don’t have a source available yet, but I recall a story where a couple of cancer patients in the Idaho panhandle would travel to Spokane to a cannibus coop to purchase and ingest medical pot. IIRC, they would consume everything before crossing back to Idaho. So I am curious if a similar federal law would be inacted to prevent this as well? I could certainly see John Walters pushing something like this, especially if this abortion law passed SCOTUS review. To establish more info, the Washington State med pot laws only protect WA state residents as its currently written.

  62. David writes:

    Here’s a moral puzzle,
    How it is government’s role to ensure that every conceived person is born, but not to ensure to that said person has food, medicine, shelter, etc. until death? Can you have it both ways? Or is it up to private intitutions and personal choice only after a person is born?

    Yes David, I think you are getting the to full meaning of abortion regulation. Currently, we don’t get a political identity until we are born. At that time we get a name, a record of our existence with country registrar, an SS number, and some rights. Not full rights, but enough to assist us in developing. Our parents can’t eat us or sell us to the circus. And they can be prosecuted for not feeding us or abusing us.

    If a persons political existence begins at conception ( I do not argue with anyone who states that human life begins at conception, I think they are correct ), then it is the governments responsibility to afford rights to this citizen.

    The only way to afford an embryo rights is to, first of all, know that it/she/he exists. The only practical way to know of an embryo’s existence is to force women of child-bearing age to submit to regular pregnancy tests.

    Bus drivers, cab drivers, and airplane pilots should have pregnancy testing kits on hand when crossing state boarders and the power to use these test kits on their passengers. How else would they know for sure whether or not they may be committing a crime ?

    I, for one, applaud my ordinarily foolish Democratic fellows for making a judicial nominee?s position onm the Roe v Wade decision a litmus test for sanity.

  63. Going further than I believe, we live in a republic that has stated that growing wheat on your property for your own consumption is interstate commerce.

    There’s a big difference between talking about the commerce clause in terms of what its authors probably meant and how it’s been used to expand federal powers since. FWIW, I believe the agricultural wheat thing was justified on the grounds that wheat was part of a national market such that what was grown and sold within a state affected prices in other states. Not sure if they could twist that argument somehow to back this law, but your point that almost anything might be called interstate commerce for federal regulations purposes is well taken.

    s.a.m.,

    Previously on this thread someone predicted that someday there’ll be drug tests for people on planes returning from Amsterdam….

  64. Geoff, regardin incest, the bill says that parental notification by the abortion provider doesn’t apply if

    >(3) the minor declares in a signed written statement that she is the victim of sexual abuse, neglect, or physical abuse by a parent, and, before an abortion is performed on the minor, the physician notifies the authorities specified to receive reports of child abuse or neglect by the law of the State in which the minor resides of the known or suspected abuse or neglect;

  65. OK Richard, but that wasn’t really the point I was going for.


  66. >(3) the minor declares in a signed written statement that she is the victim of sexual abuse, neglect, or physical abuse by a parent, and, before an abortion is performed on the minor, the physician notifies the authorities specified to receive reports of child abuse or neglect by the law of the State in which the minor resides of the known or suspected abuse or neglect;

    This is legal imperialism. Will there be some federal law that is required be posted on the door of the bus with this caveat ? Will the bus drivers be given training on how to interpret this law under wide a variety of circumstances without getting his employer sued and losing his job ? Get real.

  67. “Currently, we don’t get a political identity until we are born. At that time we get a name, a record of our existence with country registrar, an SS number, and some rights. Not full rights, but enough to assist us in developing. Our parents can’t eat us or sell us to the circus. And they can be prosecuted for not feeding us or abusing us.”

    “If a persons political existence begins at conception ( I do not argue with anyone who states that human life begins at conception, I think they are correct ), then it is the governments responsibility to afford rights to this citizen.”

    The implications of the old “Special Responsibility” argument don’t create the kind of conflict you’re describing.

    I don’t want to re-argue the whole abortion debate right now, but if one assumes that women consent to carry a fetus to term when they willfully engage in activity that could create a fetus; indeed, that a fetus has human rights at conception much like the woman carrying that fetus and that the rights of an expectant mother end where the fetus’ rights begin, I don’t see how it would follow that those rights would extend to nursery to grave welfare.

    …Once again, the mother (and father) in question appear to have consented to their responsibilities. Society–tax payers and others–did not.

    Also, your comment almost sounds as if you’re under the impression that the state is a granter of rights.

    Many pro-Lifers make exceptions for rape victims and victims of incest because of the importance of volition to the “Special Responsibility” argument. Rape victims obviously didn’t consent and incest victims aren’t old enough to be capable of consenting.

    Like I said above, I lean pro-Life, but I have plenty of criticism for most of the pro-Lifers I hear and read. Among them is this question: why are underage pregnant teens any more capable of consenting just because they weren’t impregnated by a father or brother? It’s my understanding that 16 year old boys can’t legally consent to responsibilities in most contracts, why are 16 year old girls not treated in the same manner here?

    …There’s also open questions about expectant mothers who are carrying children with horrible defects–are they to be legally compelled to carry such children to term? What are we going to do about pregnant women who are drug addicts? Are you going to start locking addicted mothers up in special wards, just to make sure they don’t have crack babies?

  68. Ken,

    I was just trying to making fun of the political argument that bible-thumpers make about fetus rights.

    “We think there’s a fetus in this bus somewhere, and we’re here to help it.” All I want to know is just how far these kooks will go to find the supposedly missing fetus.

  69. What about an example of a 17 year old college freshman, who (for the sake of argument) is domiciled in College State and has as their permanent abode Parent State. Which state law would pertain to them?

    Would it depend on if they are considered a dependent of their parents or not? Some (though not many) college freshmen, through work and scolarships, do not receive major financial support from their parents.

  70. Unless the 17-year-old has been emancipated by th courts, she’s still considered dependant on her parents, regardless of whether or not her parents continue don’t support her financially.

    My interpretation: the charges for transporting a minor probably wouldn’t apply because an adult wouldn’t have transported her to that state to get an abortion. If the state where she attends college doesn’t have parental notification laws and she has proof of residency in that state and doesn’t mention that her parents live elsewhere, the abortion provider probably wouldn’t be held accountable for not notifying her parents, either. Though if it ever came out, the provider would be facing a lot of grief.

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