Un-packing the Court, Etc.

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Un-packing the Court, Etc.

Happy autumn! Here­with a few odds and ends from my notebook.

Un-​packing the Court

As I write this, the nom­i­na­tion of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is still up in the air. What­ever my pref­er­ences and my views of the cur­rent uproar, I have my doubts about the abil­ity of 51 Repub­li­cans to agree on any­thing in this envi­ron­ment. So sup­pose the first Mon­day in Octo­ber arrives with only eight Jus­tices. Then what?

Not a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis, if the period between the death of Antonin Scalia and the com­mis­sion­ing of Neil Gor­such is any indi­ca­tion. Would it be bet­ter for an appel­late court to have a full bench? Sure. Per­haps with only eight jus­tices, the Court would slow the pace of its deci­sions in order to avoid tie votes. Per­haps cer­tio­rari would be denied in more cases. The peo­ple whose cases are past the Cir­cuit Court of Appeals stage and who are seek­ing a SCO­TUS hear­ing have rea­son to be concerned.

I’m curi­ous to know if any case dear to the hearts of anti-​Kavanaugh forces is in the pipeline. I don’t know the answer, but I won­der if delay in con­firm­ing a ninth jus­tice might have unin­tended con­se­quences for some­one who now con­sid­ers an open seat a vic­tory of sorts.

Gos­nell” Film Opens Octo­ber 12

Dur­ing the recent Val­ues Voter Sum­mit in Wash­ing­ton, I attended a pre-​release screen­ing of the fea­ture film “Gos­nell,” which will pre­mière in the­aters on Fri­day, Octo­ber 12. This is the drama­ti­za­tion of the story of Penn­syl­va­nia abor­tion­ist Ker­mit Gos­nell, sen­tenced in 2013 to life in prison for the deaths of a woman and three born-​alive children.

The movie is out­stand­ing. Find it, watch it, and tell your friends about it. The film’s pro­duc­ers had a hard time get­ting a dis­tri­b­u­tion deal. Even now, the­ater oper­a­tors are appar­ently find­ing them­selves under pres­sure not to show the movie. The list of pre­mière the­aters had two Mass­a­chu­setts list­ings a week ago; that list is down to one.

“Gos­nell” is about the police and inves­ti­ga­tors who stum­bled over evi­dence of Gosnell’s crimes. Some were pro-​choice, oth­ers not, still oth­ers had no strong feel­ings about abor­tion one way or the other. What they all agreed on was that homi­cide was a crime, and that Gos­nell had a trail of bod­ies behind him. The film shows how they saw the case through.

An Upbeat Book: “Turn­ing Mis­ery into Ministry”

And now for some­thing com­pletely dif­fer­ent. Tony Agnesi is a Catholic writer and speaker whose “Storyteller’s Guides” fea­ture short essays about putting belief into prac­tice. His newest guide, sub­ti­tled “Turn­ing Mis­ery into Min­istry,” is refresh­ing and edi­fy­ing. Easy read­ing, real-​life sto­ries, prac­ti­cal advice: a nice change from pol­i­tic­sTony Agnesi. Here’s my full review. Check out Tony’s web site as well.

Happy autumn! Herewith a few odds and ends from my notebook.

Un-packing the Court

As I write this, the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court is still up in the air. Whatever my preferences and my views of the current uproar, I have my doubts about the ability of 51 Republicans to agree on anything in this environment. So suppose the first Monday in October arrives with only eight Justices. Then what?

Not a constitutional crisis, if the period between the death of Antonin Scalia and the commissioning of Neil Gorsuch is any indication. Would it be better for an appellate court to have a full bench? Sure. Perhaps with only eight justices, the Court would slow the pace of its decisions in order to avoid tie votes. Perhaps certiorari would be denied in more cases. The people whose cases are past the Circuit Court of Appeals stage and who are seeking a SCOTUS hearing have reason to be concerned.

I’m curious to know if any case dear to the hearts of anti-Kavanaugh forces is in the pipeline. I don’t know the answer, but I wonder if delay in confirming a ninth justice might have unintended consequences for someone who now considers an open seat a victory of sorts.

“Gosnell” Film Opens October 12

During the recent Values Voter Summit in Washington, I attended a pre-release screening of the feature film “Gosnell,” which will premiere in theaters on Friday, October 12. This is the dramatization of the story of Pennsylvania abortionist Kermit Gosnell, sentenced in 2013 to life in prison for the deaths of a woman and three born-alive children.

The movie is outstanding. Find it, watch it, and tell your friends about it. The film’s producers had a hard time getting a distribution deal. Even now, theater operators are apparently finding themselves under pressure not to show the movie. The list of premiere theaters had two Massachusetts listings a week ago; that list is down to one.

“Gosnell” is about the police and investigators who stumbled over evidence of Gosnell’s crimes. Some were pro-choice, others not, still others had no strong feelings about abortion one way or the other. What they all agreed on was that homicide was a crime, and that Gosnell had a trail of bodies behind him. The film shows how they saw the case through.

An Upbeat Book: “Turning Misery into Ministry”

And now for something completely different. Tony Agnesi is a Catholic writer and speaker whose “Storyteller’s Guides” feature short essays about putting belief into practice. His newest guide, subtitled “Turning Misery into Ministry,” is refreshing and edifying. Easy reading, real-life stories, practical advice: a nice change from politicsTony Agnesi. Here’s my full review. Check out Tony’s web site as well.