By BOB BIRD
The Republican Party has used the pro-life vote for decades now, and with the exception of President Donald Trump’s judicial appointments, has given very little reason to expect pro-life voters to continue to support the GOP. This realization is dawning on many lifelong conservatives and Republicans.
Let us look at the local level, here in Alaska.
We still find the same shopworn solutions to abortion in Alaska are being offered and are nothing more than dead ends. This is true even from some of the allegedly pro-life support groups, who dutifully warn how bad things will be if pro-life elected officials are not supported. The mindless logic goes like this:
“The courts have ruled that abortion is a privacy right. We must change the courts! Or, we must have a constitutional amendment. Or we must nibble at the edges, wherein the courts permit certain restrictions. That’s all we can do for now.”
Alaska legalized abortion in 1970, three full years before Roe v. Wade … which also struck down the restrictions Alaska had in place, such as parental permission, gestation limits and so forth.
This law was passed for several reasons, one of which was a libertine view of sexuality that has ever-permeated frontier areas, but also because as a new state, misguided legislators wanted Alaska to be seen as “progressive.”
The law was vetoed by Gov. Keith Miller, which was quickly and easily overridden. But let us review the constitutional options that have never been exercised and are still in place.
For starters, the first breath of the state constitution reads as follows: “This constitution is dedicated to the principles that all persons have a natural right to life …”
So, what on earth do we need a constitutional amendment for? Who says that unborn persons are not persons? It was certainly accepted in 1955, when the constitutional convention met, and also in 1958 when the people approved statehood and the state constitution.
And it still is today when a woman is assaulted or murdered while carrying an unborn child. But the evil courts and their case law have decided, on their own warped authority, that the unborn child is protected only if it is “wanted,” or some such illogical nonsense.
It seems impossible, but let us suppose that we had a conservative state supreme court. It could have immediately declared the 1970 abortion legalization law as unconstitutional, citing Article I, Section 1, quoted above.
OK, so we didn’t have a conservative state court, either then or now. But we did have a pro-life governor, who vetoed the law. But then, it was constitutionally overridden.
Let’s play a hypothetical game: suppose the legislature and/or courts declared that Alaska Natives, Jews or other minorities were not fully human, or “persons” before the law. Then, vetoed by a governor, then the veto overridden.
Let’s check out Article III, Sec. 16: “[The governor] may, by appropriate court action or proceeding brought in the name of the state, enforce compliance with any constitutional or legislative mandate, or restrain violation of any constitutional or legislative power, duty, or right by any officer, department or agency of the state or any of its political subdivisions. This authority shall not be construed to authorize any action or proceeding against the legislature.”
You will notice that it does not say “the judiciary.”
The fiction that we have “three co-equal branches of government” is once again shattered with that omission. The Legislature has ever been considered superior over the executive and judicial branches, on both the state and federal levels. But they can make mistakes, too, just like the other branches. And enforcement is not within their purview, it is with the executive.
So, Gov. Miller might have invoked this section, refusing to allow such a hypothetically hideous law in Alaska. Yes, we would have had a constitutional crisis. Yes, they might have impeached him for it. You do not need any legal grounds for impeachment anyway, it can be trumped up on any pretense. But Miller would have had the constitution on his side, for everyone admits that this section gives Alaska’s governors a power not found in most other states.
Now Alaska Natives, Jews and other minorities enjoy sympathy and privilege in this state, so the given example would not happen, at least in the current culture. But we do have a culture that does not see the unwanted/unborn as enjoying such protections.
It is, of course, utterly arbitrary, as we have seen in regards to the death of an unborn child that is “wanted.” It is also selfish, brutal, stone-hearted, unconstitutional, and — this really infuriates the Left — utterly unscientific.
Miller lacked the full knowledge of the constitutional powers he possessed, or determined that it would be a fight not worth engaging. With the abdication of the battlefield, the Left has been emboldened to even more preposterous unconstitutional actions in the decades that have followed.
We can start with the right to privacy, enacted in 1972 for the sake of our personal electronic data being protected at the dawn of the computer age. The amendment was wisely written in anticipation of what we are now seeing, and if you haven’t noticed, it is utterly ineffective for the purpose in which it was approved.
But things get even worse: The understanding that the judiciary was often an enemy of constitutions was fully anticipated, so the amendment further reads, “The legislature shall implement this section.”
Yet, the judiciary has gotten away with impeachable offenses by deciding that they will define, and hence “implement,” what privacy means. And, naturally, abortion quickly became its pet to protect at all costs. From there, it was an easy bridge to cross when “privacy” meant, by their case law reasoning, to extend to public funding of abortion.
They apparently were not concerned at all with the privacy of individual citizens’ consciences, or their purse.
All the while, allegedly pro-life governors such as Hickel, Palin, Parnell and Dunleavy, and allegedly pro-life legislative majorities in the past, have dutifully tried to end this constitutional overthrow by following supposedly “constitutional” boundaries the judiciary invented — only to find that, after time-consuming hearings and testimony … Ta Da! … the goalposts were moved further back, negating all efforts.
We see that the arrogance of the judiciary now extends into new areas that have nothing to do with abortion, such as usurping the powers of grand juries. But the timorous, allegedly conservative legislators have done little or nothing to stop this.
Except, of course, Rep. David Eastman, who is universally detested for not being a “team player.” But Eastman never votes or acts without first asking, “Is this constitutional?” His fellow colleagues, who take the same oath, rely upon the judiciary to let them know what “constitutional” means, as if they are too ignorant or uneducated to think for themselves.
Many likely secretly agree with him, but they don’t dare cross over to his side, for fear of being “Eastmanized” by their colleagues, the media and the bureaucracy. Thus, their oath to support both the state and federal constitutions is turned over to the very people — the judiciary and the bureaucrats — that they use as a way to gain the votes and trust of their conservative constituents, to effect a change that both they and their Leftist enemies, know will never occur.
It’s a squirrel cage.
Bob Bird is chair of the Alaskan Independence Party and the host of a talk show on KSRM radio, Kenai.