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Showing posts from June, 2024

The Twisted Vocabulary of the Pro-Death Movement

  The Dobbs decision, two years old next week, was a bomb dropped on American womanhood. The fallout from the explosion is being felt in so many ways — both overt and insidious — that it’s hard to keep track, even for those of us who keep track. Fortunately, we have Jessica Valenti to keep track for us. Ms. Valenti’s newsletter,  Abortion, Every Day, is now an important resource for understanding how the various states — mostly red, but also blue — are dealing with the very quintessence of a hot-button issue. I’ve been particularly impressed with how she illuminates the through-the-looking-glass language of the anti-abortion forces, a rich vocabulary of euphemisms and code words that celebrate the unborn while threatening the lives of the born. Much of this vocabulary is worth passing on, as it gives us all a glimpse into the mindset of what I’ve taken to calling the pro-death movement. At the risk of repeating myself from past posts, I’ve italicized a few

It Isn’t Easy to Hang a Jury

In the short time it took the jury to convict Donald Trump — ten or so hours — there was ample time, between Ozempic commercials, for cable TV’s legal pundits to speculate on the harrowing possibility of a hung jury. Surely, the thinking went, there would be a plant on the jury who would insist on acquittal, force a mistrial, and Trump would skate yet again. It didn’t happen, not this time. But as we look forward to a long trail of trials over the next several years, the subject will surely come up again. I’m here to tell you it’s not likely. Deadlocked juries are rare — roughly six percent of trials — and most of those are the result of poorly prepared cases. Even if a diehard Trump fan were to get on the jury, the chances of that person deadlocking it — or even wanting to — are not high. I had the chance to hang a jury once, and it created an ethical dilemma that I might have failed — or not. It isn’t often one is thrown into a room with eleven total strang

The Origin Story of the Pro-Death Movement

  Two weeks ago, I excoriated the New York Times for its heavy hand in election coverage, for compulsively favoring the horserace over the survival of the American Experiment. Of course, no sooner had I done that then they published the sort of eye-opening exposé that few journalistic organizations have the resources to pull off anymore. Which only served to underscore what we’ve been missing from the Times in this year of hair-raising silliness. It was a long and depressing article about the behind-the-scenes machinations that led to the fall of Roe v. Wade . It tells of a loose but vast movement of religious zealots, reactionary lawyers, and red-state legislators who saw the election of Donald Trump as the moment they’d been waiting for. Think of them as the pro-death movement: [T]hey had built an elite legal and ideological ecosystem of activists, organizations, lawmakers and pro bono lawyers around their cause. Their policy arms churned out legal argument