Supreme Court

SCOTUS Contender James Ho Combines Respect for Free Speech and Gun Rights With a Troubling Deference to Cops

The 5th Circuit judge is a mixed bag from a libertarian perspective.


Of the 10 sitting judges on President Donald Trump's new list of 20 potential Supreme Court nominees, James Ho may have the most interesting track record. Ho, who replaced Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (who also made the list) as that state's solicitor general in 2008 and joined the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in 2018, is a mixed bag from a libertarian perspective, combining robust respect for the right to armed self-defense and freedom of speech with a troubling deference to police accused of abusing their powers.

As Damon Root noted before Trump nominated Ho for the 5th Circuit in 2017, Ho wrote a 2006 law journal article rebutting the claim that birthright citizenship can be restricted or repealed by statute. Ho, a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Taiwan, argued that anyone born in the United States, including children of unauthorized residents, is American by birth under the original understanding of the 14th Amendment. A constitutional amendment, he concluded, is "the only way to restrict birthright citizenship." That position, Root noted, "is directly at odds with the stated views of Donald Trump."

Months after joining the appeals court, Ho was already attracting criticism for injecting policy commentary into his opinions. University of Southern California law professor Orin Kerr, a Volokh Conspiracy blogger, said a passage from a 2018 Ho dissent in a case involving limits on campaign contributions "reads like a politician's op-ed, not a legal opinion" and should have been excised because "judges should stick to the law." The blog's co-founder, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, was more forgiving, saying "what we're seeing from Judge Ho is a judge who, because he's really interested in law and ideas, wants to write more about the bigger picture."

Whatever your take on that controversy, Ho's comments about campaign finance regulations were strikingly libertarian. "Many Americans of good faith bemoan the amount of money spent on campaign contributions and political speech," he wrote. "But if you don't like big money in politics, then you should oppose big government in our lives. Because the former is a necessary consequence of the latter. When government grows larger, when regulators pick more and more economic winners and losers, participation in the political process ceases to be merely a citizen's
prerogative—it becomes a human necessity. This is the inevitable result of a
government that would be unrecognizable to our Founders."

Another controversial Ho dissent, in a 2018 case involving federal restrictions on interstate gun sales, likewise should resonate with libertarians. "The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms," Ho wrote. "For decades, the Supreme Court has referred to the Second Amendment as a fundamental civil right, comparable to other provisions of the Bill of Rights….Yet the Second Amendment continues to be treated as a 'second-class' right—as at least three Justices have noted in recent years."

Unlike Ho's comments about restrictions on campaign contributions, that observation falls squarely within the judicial role of enforcing the Constitution, although it might offend gun control advocates. By contrast, Ho's comments about abortion in a 2018 concurrence went beyond the issue before the court.

The case involved a challenge to a Texas law that requires burial or cremation of "fetal remains." The appeal challenged a subpoena requiring the Texas Conference of Catholic Bishops (TCCB), which was not a litigant, to produce internal emails and other private records within 24 hours. "The district court discounted the burdens of production on TCCB and failed to require more than a minimal, if any, rationale for discovery of TCCB's internal communications," a unanimous three-judge panel concluded. "The court was too quick to reject TCCB's privilege claims. By acting in unnecessary haste, the court deprived TCCB of a fair opportunity to make its case for quashing the discovery."

Ho went considerably further in his concurring opinion. "The First Amendment expressly guarantees the free exercise of religion—including the right of the Bishops to express their profound objection to the moral tragedy of abortion, by offering free burial services for fetal remains," he wrote. "By contrast, nothing in the text or original understanding of the Constitution prevents a state from requiring the proper burial of fetal remains." Ho suggested that the subpoena was partly motivated by the desire to "retaliate against people of faith for not only believing in the sanctity of life—but also for wanting to do something about it."

A 2019 Ho dissent likewise illustrates a tendency to offer opinions that stray beyond the questions presented. "If we want to stop mass shootings," he declared in the opening line, "we should stop punishing police officers who put their lives on the line to prevent them." The context of that remark makes Ho's attitude especially troubling.

The case involved a 2013 fatal shooting in which police seem to have mistaken a 25-year-old mentally handicapped man on a bicycle for a suspect who had been destroying mailboxes, making threats, and firing a gun. When Kaufman County, Texas, sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene, the suspect—uniformly identified by witnesses and police as a black man wearing a brown shirt who was on foot—took a shot at them before ducking out of sight. When Gabriel Winzer, a black man in a blue shirt (or possibly a blue jacket—the accounts in the district court decision and the 5th Circuit ruling differ on that detail) appeared on a bicycle, the deputies killed him, claiming that he had aimed a pistol at them.

U.S. District Judge David Godbey dismissed the civil rights lawsuit filed by Winzer's family against the officers involved in the shooting. Among other things, he concluded that Officer Matthew Hinds was protected by qualified immunity, a doctrine that limits such claims to cases where police are accused of violating "clearly established" rights. Because Hinds had "probable cause" to believe that Winzer "posed a threat of serious bodily harm," Godbey said, his use of deadly force was "objectively reasonable" in the circumstances.

Deeming that conclusion premature, a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit sent the case back to the district court. "We conclude that a jury could find that the use of deadly force was unreasonable if it credited and drew reasonable inferences from the Winzers' account," the panel majority said. When the full court declined to rehear the case, Ho wrote a dissent that accepted the police version of events at face value and dismissed the countervailing evidence.

Winzer's father said his son wanted to show the cops his orange cap gun, which he took with him on his bicycle. But according to this account, Winzer was not holding the toy in his hand and never raised his arm or made any threatening gestures. That affidavit, combined with the fact that Winzer did not resemble the suspect and the fact that police never found an actual gun, strongly suggests that they shot the wrong man, as the 5th Circuit panel concluded.

"The person on the bicycle was Gabriel Winzer, and not the suspect who had fired at Hinds and [Officer Gerardo] Hinojosa," the panel said. "Appellants' summary judgment evidence indicates that at the time of this shooting, Gabriel Winzer, the decedent, was inside his father's house and did not fire this shot at the officers."

Dissenting from the decision against rehearing the case, Ho did not just argue that Hinds reasonably feared his life was in danger when he saw Winzer. He also asserted that Winzer was the man who had fired at the deputies after all. "The panel majority suggests that Winzer might not have been the suspect," Ho wrote (in fact, the panel majority flatly stated as much). "But as the district court noted, a forensic report later detected the presence of gunshot residue on Winzer's body."

Ho did not mention a possibility raised by a law enforcement expert who testified for the plaintiffs: The residue could have been transferred from the officers (who had just fired their guns) as they handcuffed a mortally wounded Winzer. If the case were allowed to proceed, that issue could be assessed by a jury. Likewise the conflicting accounts of the shooting and the difference between Winzer's appearance and the suspect's description. At this stage of the case, courts are supposed to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs, which Godbey and Ho conspicuously failed to do.

"It is unknown how many lives were saved by these deputies on April 27, 2013," Ho wrote, although the answer might well be less than zero, since the cops killed a man who apparently posed no real threat. "What is known, however, is that Kaufman County will now stand trial for their potentially life-saving actions—and that its taxpayers, including those who will forever be traumatized by Winzer's acts of terror, will pick up the tab for any judgment. I have deep concerns about the message this decision, and others like it, sends to the men and women who swear an oath to protect our lives and communities. For make no mistake, that message is this: See something, do nothing."

Ho's credulous acceptance of the police account, combined with his warning that allowing a jury to assess their conduct would jeopardize public safety, reflects a mindset similar to Donald Trump's uncritical "defend the police" stance. By contrast, Neil Gorsuch, Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, has been notably alert to the dangers of reflexively deferring to law enforcement.

Assuming Trump gets another chance to pick a justice, we would be lucky to get someone like Gorsuch. But we probably will have to settle for someone more like Ho.

NEXT: A New Bill Would Stop the Feds From Tossing Drug Defendants in Prison Before They’re Convicted

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  1. Christ, what an asshole.

    1. I mean, yeah the cop thing is pretty shitty, but I’d take this judge over the majority of the bench any day.

      1. Same here. 2 out of 3 is better than 1 or 0. As for the “political” commentary in his decisions, it is at least related to the issue at hand, and judges have never been impartial unbiased neutral deciders-of-law; one need only wonder why we have so many split decisions to realize that. I’d prefer having some actual commentary rather than coverup to pretend they are interpreting laws as written.

        1. For sure, and any judge who derides “big government” is at least worth a listen.

          1. “Big government” is a code word for “Blue Tribe,” just like “American” and “white” are code words for “Red Tribe.” This dude would be perfectly happy expanding the scope of government if it meets the goals of his tribe, such as increasing the police powers of the State.

            1. Ha, I never got my copy of the tribal code handbook; so I naively take people at their actual word (with the assumption that I’m being lied to by politicians a significant portion of times).

              That very well could be, but I’d much rather take my chances with someone who says they want to limit government over someone who explicitly says they want to empower government.

              1. Then I am gonna take you at you actual word and conclude that, since you want to limit government, you are voting for Jo Jorgensen!

                1. Yes, I plan to. I’ve actually stated as much multiple times on these boards. Though I don’t hold any illusions that my vote will have any discernible effect on the size and scope of government, ha.

                  1. Good for you! Yes, your vote has no statistical significance and will never ever influence the outcome of the election. So, might as well vote your conscience.

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                  2. As I reside in a “battleground” State, I will NOT be tossing my vote to a libertarian this time around. For all I know it could come down to a few hanging chads.

                    1. Yeah, it’s a pretty easy decision for me. I live in Kansas, if my state is on the fence as to whom will receive the electors… well, then the outcome of the election is pretty much a foregone conclusion.

            2. “Big government” is a code word for “Blue Tribe,”

              More of a cabal than a tribe, and the DNC earned that label.

    2. >”Christ, what an asshole.”

      That’s what we all think when we start seeing your mental farts posted all over the place.

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    3. You can’t have everything. The cop issue is far less important than a lot of the others. At this point I’m more concerned we don’t end up with another John Roberts.

    4. He could be a body double in a movie about North Korean communist dictator Krim Pill Sunk if not confirmed.

  2. Ho-hum.

  3. When 2 out of 3 is bad.

    1. Three out of four if you like his immigration opinion cited in the article. (if not, then 50/50 ain’t bad for a gov creature)

  4. I do mean this with all honestly, but what exactly is the “libertarian perspective” on police (or policing)? Is it that society should have police but police should be held responsible in the performance of their duties as any other member of society would be in his or her job? If so, how does that distinguish the “libertarian perspective” from most other perspectives (indeed, from any perspective other than one in which qualified immunity is recognized).

    1. The libertarian perspective has some variation. However, directionally, the perspective is that police have been granted too many powers in the name of “enforcing” too many laws that shouldn’t be on the books in the first place.

      As in the case of Ho’s reasoning above- even when they do the wrong thing, which would get a normal person charged at least with manslaughter, too many in authority are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

      Beyond that, most libertarians will say that too much emphasis is put on “getting the bad guy”. This leads to high speed chases, physical violence, and no-knock raids that are tragic when an actual criminal is brought to bare, and down right barbaric when (as is not uncommon) innocent bystanders are killed or even targeted. In addition to scaling back the actual scope of law, most libertarians would like to see a de-escalation of the tactics available to police. It ties their hands, yes, but I’d love police to be required to enter a residence to get a thief they suspect is hiding there, rather than feeling they have the right to tear apart a totally-non-involved 3rd Party’s house (as happened in a recent SCOTUS case).

      Further, the libertarian is generally against the government being REQUIRED to deal with Unions. Join all the fraternal organizations you want, but when you negotiate salary, benefits, or face punishments for misdeeds, you don’t get a union rep there.

      Now how far you take that depends on whether your read of the libertarian principles takes you to minarchism (small gov) or anarchism (no gov). The former *might* say to you that there is room to use private security for much of the “Peace Keeping” that we expect from cops- not because of a belief they are immoral, but instead out of a belief in market forces benefiting the citizenry. The latter would say that the government should not have a monopoly on force at all, and have all sorts of theories of how communities could band together for protection and pool resources to hire security.

    2. And herein, lies the problem that besets libertarians. Libertarians, along with hard line conservatives, pull out their purity tests in virtually every subject and refuse to take a ‘best case scenario’ or compromise to get movement in the right direction. Compound this with defining pure libertarianism as an exact point instead of a geographic region, and it is kinda no wonder that in 50 years, LP successes have a lot in common with hen’s teeth.

      Communists and socialists used to also be of this mindset, but learned about 100 years into it that they had to work with Democrats to get movement in their direction. Thus in the past 5 years, they have all but replaced the number of Blue Dogs in the Party and have for the first time ever, enjoyed a swing of politics strongly in their direction.

      Until libertarians also figure this out and drop the bullshit of being better to zero a vote than to take a partial win, they aren’t deemed worthy of engaging. Who the fuck knows…. maybe the course requires a full century to figure out and my great grandkids will reap the benefits in the 2072 elections.

    3. Others have similar conceptual views. The difference is in implementation. For example, conservatives have a hard time seeing any action by police as deserving accountability: “The job is hard” or “It turns out the perp had a record” or “He should’ve shown more respect” etc. etc.

  5. Newsflash. Every pol or jurist is going to be a mixed bag for libertarians.

    1. What about Andrew Napolitano?

      1. The guy who supports obstruction charges for someone defending themselves from an investigation of a non crime? Lol

        He justified overthrowing a president based on political requirements over legal ones. Do you really want a jurist that throws out the rule book as soon as he can? Lol.

        1. Yes, that guy. He didn’t go all apeshit insane when Trump took power, like the lot of you.

          1. Depends on your perspective. I mean I think completely betraying your principles because you dislike the president is fairly apeshit crazy. Buy we know, if Stalin himself rose from the grave and besmirched Trump you would be supporting Stalin and accusing anyone who spoke out against him as being a Trump cock sucker.

            1. Jeff would’ve spread his cheeks for Stalin even if Trump never existed.
              All that authority and power, hatred of religion and disdain for the Kulaks. It’s everything he loves.

        2. Trump committed many crimes. You’re going to be embarrassed for defending him one day.

          1. You can’t even spell ‘Biden’ correctly, so how will you vote for him?

            1. It may have been an attempt to spell ‘Obama’ too.

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      2. What about him? Seriously, can you toss around more than the same 3 names…. year after year?

        While many of his opinions are spot on, the dumb SOB permanently burned any bridges he might ever have with the current or any future administration by first, bragging about an appointment that he didn’t have [big mouths can’t be trusted], and then turning the Constitution inside out to politically target the man who he thinks is responsible for his own public embarrassment. He’s basically turned himself into Dick Morris.

        1. “turning the Constitution inside out to politically target someone”
          That’s exactly why Jeff and his gang love him. They need judges like him for the show trials.

  6. “Winzer’s acts of terror”

    In other words, “I’ll be the judge, I’ll be the jury”. Ho posthumously pronounces Winzer guilty, despite, among other things, the poor guy isn’t around to defend himself. A “judicial temperament”? I don’t think so.

    1. That was super shocking…Ho strikes me as a guy who REALLY needs to brink in some strong willed fresh recruits to clerk for him and challenge some of these statements.

  7. The 5th Circuit judge is a mixed bag from a libertarian perspective.

    They’re all mixed bags. The question is, which viewpoints are they most likely to “evolve” on and which are they going to stand firm on? And which viewpoints are they willing to own up to?

    1. The point is, the other side’s ‘mixed bags’ of judges is going to be a mix of dog shit and horse shit.

      Probably on fire, on your porch. Hopefully not blocking your door.

      Meanwhile, this side’s ‘mixed bag’ is some weird-ass charleston chews and some tootsie rolls, but it also has a few twizzlers.

  8. Pft nobody and I mean nobody cares what libertarians think in the real world. Enjoy your fantasy.

    1. Then why are you commenting here? Nice own goal.

      1. Same could be asked of you. You defend blues constantly only attacking the right. You only do so because you’re in a safe blue state where your vote means shit. You call anyone to the right of Schumer a trump cultist. You act sanctimoniously constantly. You’d rather have no steps towards liberty than a small step. You’re an amash style libertarian.

        1. I wonder if he’s got that obnoxiously bulbous nose like amash has too?

        2. I comment here because I have ever only voted libertarian. Have you EVER voted libertarian? I attack the right because the right is in power right now and because this comment section is infected with Trump cultists like you. And yes, I call you a cultist, because all you ever to is defend Trump to the exclusion of any principles whatsoever. The only principle you have is Republican good, Democrat bad. I can always predict what you are going to say, because you have no free will to speak of. You are a puppet of your tribalist mentality, a useful idiot for Trump and his entourage, a quisling to small government principles, and an intellectual piker.

          1. Ironic considering all you ever do seem to state is Trump bad everyone who opposed him good. And now you’re actually calling for purity of thought to post on here? Very libertarian of you. And you sound like a cultist as well. The cult of Trump and anyone who even tangentientally support him bad cult. You are projecting your own faults on anyone who dare challenge you or God forbid, has a different take on policy.

          2. You’ve never voted Libertarian you rotten liar.
            You’re such an obvious DNC shill, do you really think you’re fooling anyone?

    2. On the contrary, Koch / Reason libertarianism is rapidly gaining mainstream acceptance. In fact one major political party has almost completely embraced our open borders agenda.

      1. Except that’s YOUR agenda, not a libertarian agenda. And even the left doesn’t accept your personal agenda other than as it allows and only to the point where it gives them what they think are groups of people who will keep them in power. Should that happen, they’d tighten up the border just as and for the same reasons their CCP puppet masters do. The goals are political control not some stupid philosophical agenda that leads to chaos that they can’t control.

        1. OpenBordersLiberal-tarian is a parody account.
          Although it’s pretty hard telling the difference between parody and progressive nowadays.

    3. Haven’t you read democracy in chains? Libritarian are aparently the most powerful plotical group world wide.

  9. The cognitive dissonance of these people that espouse rights like speech and arms while blindly empowering and expanding the police that are THE concrete risk to those rights is mind boggling.

    1. Or people, smart people, can have different views than you and still have valid reasons for those views. The cognitive dissonance of someone calling themselves a libertarian, while degrading anyone who dares not for their definition of libertarianism is even more mind boggling.

  10. Quick question, why is Volokh never on these lists? Does he have something in his past I don’t know about. He is one of the few who when I believe one way on a legal question can persuade me I am wrong. He seems like a shoe in for the SC.

  11. So is Barrett not on the list any more? Talk about progs losing their shit if that were to happen. Best call in a brigade to guard the Senate for those hearings.

    1. Today, President Donald J. Trump announced the following additions to his Supreme Court List:

      These are additions to his shortlist, so presumably if she hasn’t been removed from the list previously then she’s still in consideration.

    2. ACB to replace RBG!

  12. Ho is just the average clinger.

    Which means he is decidedly below average.

    He runs at the mouth more than most, though, in service to backwardness and bigotry. Superstitious, something of a religious zealot. Gun nut.

    1. What a miserable wretch of a troll you are; but tell us, is contention really better than loneliness, as the Irish like to say?

      1. I think it’s great that a bunch of disaffected, marginalized clingers get to huddle together for warmth here — this respite from reality reminds me of a Ron Paul rally I once attended, at which a group of battle-scarred misfits got the chance to feel normal and experience simulated relevance for a couple of hours — but your use of “troll” betrays a profound lack of self-awareness.

        It’s about as dopey as a bunch of anti-social right-wing malcontents thinking (or at least calling) themselves libertarians.

        1. As bad as singling out one race for every ill in the modern world and declaring yourself anti-racist? As bad as using tactics straight out of the SA handbook while calling yourself Antifa and actively proposing economic principles created by fascists? As bad as calling yourself tolerant and antibigot while being the least tolerant most bigoted person on here (or maybe second KillAllRednecks is actually more bigoted than you)?

  13. While being a Ho may be a victimless crime, they probably shouldn’t serve on the USSC.

    1. Ho gotta eat, too.

  14. What does anybody expect from yet another B.A.R. Association shill trained & indoctrinated in statutory legal fiction???

  15. All the examples were dissents? And therefore nonbinding?

    “ARGLE BARGLE” – Justice Antonin Scalia

    Sadly, Judge Ho isn’t wrong. If we expect our police to react quickly to the threat of mass shootings, then we have to expect they will make mistakes.

    That’s why I think much of the hatred directed at police is just a failure to own the foreseeable consequences of shitty policies and expectations on our part.

    1. True. It is like how leftist calling for police reform never mention removing laws and regulations that create the problem in the first place? In fact they demand more laws while bashing the ones who will have to enforce those laws.

      1. I suspect they’d like to *redirect* the police…to more acceptable targets.

  16. Ok, what’s this really about? Is RBG on a death-watch again, or what?

    1. When has she been off death watch since about 2012?

      1. When you get right down to it, aren’t we *all* on a death watch from the beginning of our lives?

  17. mentally handicapped man on a bicycle

    Meaning he may not have had the judgment to stay away. It’s a tragic situation but police should not be required to account for stupid and irresponsible behavior in a charged situation on top of everything else they have to worry about. I don’t understand this adolescent rebellion against cops. I have great sympathy for mentally handicapped and criminals but we shouldn’t allow them to dictate our law enforcement policies. That’s upside-down. And I find it especially hypocritical that commenters here insult people as ‘idiot’ and now defend them as if they care. Give me a break.

    Police are well trained and professional despite a few egregious cases out of millions. If you oppose the police state (as I do) then gradually decriminalize – drugs, guns, sex, etc. And gradually reduce funding to the police. This will reduce interactions and abuses. Whereas ending qualified immunity will actually incentivize people to act like idiots so they can get injured and then a payout from the police. Which may sound crazy but many of these recent cases of police shootings are suicide-by-cop attempts.

    Anyway I like this judge.

    1. I take issue with your characterization that cops are professional. If they were, there would be at least a few instances where bad cops or bad actions by cops were outed by other cops. But it virtually never happens – the thin blue line and all.

  18. Consider an alternative. A judge that’s 100% aggressively on board with police reform, but doesn’t give one whit about your freedoms.

  19. Why do we care? Is it because this guy’s on a list that Trump recently put out? RBG ain’t dead yet. And this is Trump we’re talking about. Dude probably rewrote the damn list 5 minutes after it was released. And then promptly forgot about it.

    1. It is not just RBG who is refusing to move, but others like Clarence Thomas. There was some speculation that he might give Trump a chance at another appointment. But I am guessing Justice Thomas is not going for that idea. As for RBG even if she went into a coma tomorrow, I am guessing that her instructions are not not to remove life support until after the new President is inaugurated.

      1. So if she is in a comma she can’t vote so the result would be the same. I see that as a win win. Who cares?

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  21. A list of justices for SCOTUS? Trump is still running in 2016 campaign mode.

    1. You’re against food nutritional and ingredient labels too, right?

      Fuck yeah, let’s forget about specifics and just go with vague meaningless shit. Ya know, promising “Change” or something, but just don’t say how.

    2. So USSC nominees isn’t an ongoing issue for a president running for re-election? Don’t the appoint judges in their second term? Pretty sure that isn’t in the Constitiuton and RBG (and arguably Thomas’s) replacement is still a current issue. Fuck, your remarks just keep getting less educated every time.

      1. I would point out that President Obama was denied the opportunity to appoint a justice in his second term. So sometimes Presidents don’t get to appoint in their second term.
        My main point was that Trump seems to being repeating the pattern of 2016. He is trying to distract from a lot of bad news by putting out this list, much as he did in 2016.

      2. I would also add that I am surprised by your use of a vulgarity. I have noted that you post often and I frequently read those posts. I think you do a good job of making your point as you did here. The last line adds nothing to the point you are trying to make.

        1. He’s just making a valid observation.

  22. The right of law enforcement to cower behind a wall while kids are getting massacred must not be infringed upon.

  23. If you ever find someone who agrees with you 100% of the time, get very suspicious. The perfect should never be the enemy of the good. And if Biden ever releases his short list, can we honestly believe they would be any closer to agreeing with libertarian principles than Ho? Or is it possible they will be even worse?

    1. You are capable of having an opinion that puts you at odds with Team R. So try it once.

  24. Only a fucking nutcase could think that freedom was compatible with the US federal government forcing women to give birth against their will.

    But we were never really talking about freedom for those vagina people, were we?

    1. The law in question required dead fetuses to get a respectful burial.

      Of course, it’s telling that you regard this as a threat to the right of mothers to kill their children in the womb.

      Maybe if your premises lead to the conclusion that a respectful burial should be denied to a human being (since a proper burial would imply it had humanity before being killed), you should reconsider your premises.

      1. “the US federal government forcing women to give birth against their will”

        And the states of Texas is not the same as the U. S. federal government, but you want us to rely on you for accurate analysis?

        1. I’m referring to this zealot’s obvious pre-ordained end goal of banning abortions across the board, just as he should want if abortion is indeed the same as child murder. Don’t tell me you’re soft on child murder. I suppose murder is traditionally a state matter here, but as the Supreme Court is the ultimate vehicle for their stated and obvious end goal, why quibble?

          If abortion is child murder, the implications go far beyond cynical zealous obvious eye-pokes like burial requirements. We would have to treat possibly 25% of all women in the United States as first-degree murderers. That’s life in prison or death, depending on the jurisdiction.

          Since so many people seek abortions, while relatively few murder children, it’s simply a fact that the prevailing moral sentiment is that they are not equivalent. You can call a paperclip a rights-bearing person for all I care. What truly matters is if everyone else agrees with you.

          That’s no matter, of course, if your plan is to disregard prevailing moral sentiment and impose a religiously based doctrine on us all by government force. In practice, the government forcing women to give birth against their will because Jesus said so. Yes, the punchline is “Libertarianism!”

          1. By that logic you would have against abolition pre-Civil War and against repealing anti-sodomy laws in the seventies if one cannot go against the prevailing moral sentiment. You are not actually arguing the Pro-Life position is wrong, just that it is inconvenient to what people want.

            1. Also, if abortion is fine by some societal consensus, why be so scared of the rules governing being subject to democratic process, rather than imposition by the judiciary?

              1. That’s a good question, and the answer is because some parts of the country are so hellbent on denying basic rights to marginalized people that they need to be nudged a little so that we can have some basic decency around here.

                Maybe there is a democratic premise that disallows supermajoritarian barriers to altering certain rights, but as long as they’re rights I think are important, why am I gonna object? We seem to have selected them fairly well, with the right to own firearms being a disastrous exception.

                Let’s not forget that both sides have appealed to the courts to circumvent democratic will. I don’t want theocrats making law for me, and theocrats don’t want sane people making law for them. It’s why we have courts, I suppose.

                1. Is there any class of human more marginalized than those in the womb? Your standards are entirely self serving to your beliefs. They convince no one but those who already agree with you.

                  But the point still stands, you do not have any confidence that your consensus on abortion actually exists to the extent you need it to.

            2. I hate to break this to you, but slavery and bans on sodomy were in place thanks to prevailing moral sentiment for a very long time. Where were you guys to sprinkle your magic natural rights dust on everything? Why didn’t you sprinkle harder!?

              1. And the point that a prevailing moral sentiment can be in error goes right past your head.

              2. I hate to break this to you, but slavery ended over a hundred years before most of us were born.

    2. Only a nutcase would think a woman’s reproductive freedom extends to murdering a healthy baby.

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