• We do the Bridge-Walks on Saturday mornings assuming no rain or other commitments. We meet at 7:45 a.m. and begin walking to the Golden Gate Bridge at 8:00 a.m. It's okay to arrive late; you'll just have to catch up or meet us after the turn at Fort Point. 7:45 a.m. SFYC-Marina parking lot to GGB & return, assuming a decent weather forecast. This is a walk TO, not over, the bridge, and back.

  • Description: Unless otherwise noted, all walks proceed as follows: we begin at the parking lot shown as Yacht Road on Mapquest adjacent to the north end of the Marina Green next to the St. Francis Yacht Club. We meet at 7:45 a.m. and at 8:00 a.m. ambling towards the Golden Gate Bridge, which is about a mile-and-a-quarter away. If you're late, it's easy to catch up. The round trip takes about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. There are comfort stations at each end. Snacks and a bookstore are at the Warming Hut near the Bridge. Plenty of birds and boats to see along the way. Bring a friend or child, a camera or binoculars. Dress for wind and weather. Drizzles don't bother, rainstorms will cancel. We talk about something, nothing, birds, plants, boats, whatever, and if it relates to Con-Law, so much the better, but that's not required. We enjoy ourselves, basically, by getting fresh air and taking a more or less brisk walk, depending on what stops we make to smell the flowers or view a bird.


  • Choose a work that you love and you won't have to work another day. Confucius
  • A sound mind in a sound body under a sound Constitution, that's our motto. rs
  • The key to nearly everything is a competent investigation, which means one conducted with integrity, an attempt to see where you might be wrong. RS w/ thanks to RPF
  • The key to creating an illusory world is a biased selection of facts according to a preconceived notion. - Thomas Sowell
  • The past isn't dead, it's all around you... rs
  • The past isn't dead. It isn't even past. -- Wm. Faulkner
  • If Constitutional Law doesn't get your dander up, you're not getting it. -- R. Sheridan
  • The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, but remember, you are the easiest person to fool. -- Richard P. Feynman
  • No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. -- U.S. Constitution, Amends 5, 14
  • No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned,...or in any other way destroyed...except by the lawful judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land. - Magna Carta
  • The only thing new under the sun is the history you don't know. -- Harry S Truman
  • Study the past if you would divine the future. -- Confucius







April 26, 2005


Jeff F

First, I disagree with your premise "Suppose someone gave you a constitutional right and then treated you like a felon for trying to exercise it?"

Re: abortion, the Court has recognized a Constitutional right that its says has existed since the 14th Amendment. The Court would never claim to have given anyone a right. Regarding abortion specifically, I agree with President Clinton: abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. The problem with proscribing abortion is, once you get past the slogans and emotions, it simply doesn't make sense.

First, why is abortion illegal? In Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey, the dissent claimed the State could proscribe abortion to further the state interest in the life of the fetus. It also found no constitutional right because, although the court may look to tradition and history to find rights implicit in our concept of "ordered liberty", J.Scalia noted that the nation had long since proscribed abortion and, though he admitted that a woman does have a liberty interest in her own body, as a society we must not value that choice/right and therefore it is not protected. There were other arguments but these were two of the big ones that wound through most of the dissents in the abortion cases. In a blog comment, I must necessarly be limited in scope.

Two problems with these arguments.

Re: Scalia's argument to tradition that we because the nation has always proscribed abortion, we do not value the choice a woman can make in this regard. When the first abortion law was passed (I believe in the 1820s in Conn & NY but don't quote me), abortions were dangerous to the woman's health. Very dangerous. In fact, any medical procedure at the time carried a measure of risk but abortions especially so. Scalia doesn't examine why abortion's were proscribed. If for example, the legislative history noted that the reasons they wrote the law was to discourage women from taking those risks, those reasons are not part of the 21st century. No longer are abortions necessarily a risk-your-life procedure, in fact abortion is actually safer than carrying a baby to term. At least not as long as they are legal and able to be performed by competent medical professionals. A second reason abortions may have been proscribed is, in America, circa early 1800s men controlled everything and women were property. A married woman could not decide what to do with her body because in the law, her body belonged to her husband. Thankfully, our values, medical processes and legal attitudes have changed and Scalia's reliance on laws written during this period bear little resemblance to the reality of today.

Re: "Value of Life". Let me take the argument a little further. If society and the law feel the destruction of a non-viable fetus is murder, then we must not make an exception in an anti-abortion law in any cases. For example, if a 12 year girl is raped by her trogoldytic father, she must carry the baby to term, right? After all, if the law allows her an abortion, the law, according to some, is sanctioning murder. But if the law forces her to carry the baby to term, society is forcing her to live with the shame of the incest-rape. Even if she puts the baby up for adoption, the whole world now knows she has been raped by her father and she must live with that for... how long? Yes, this is an exceptional situation but if we make an exception for this girl and allow her to abort a healthy fetus, we have admitted that the life of this fetus isn't "valued" or that we value other interests higher. Now, in a debate I would push down the slippery slope until we find the not-so-bright-line of our values.

And then I would start pushing to address the health of the mother situation where an anti-abortion proponent claims to have the right to make a values decision wherein a family decides if a mother should be willing to risk her health to give birth. Even Rehnquist, Scalia and his hand-puppet Thomas would make an exception for the "health of the mother" which makes me ask: just how firm are they on the "value of fetal life". Does the health requirement mean "life or death" or does "risk of serious depression" qualify? And how much of a risk is required? And, if one is willing to make an exception for the health of the mother for what some call murder, then, in a sense, you are recognizing what becomes a self-defense claim for the mother: "but my fetus was going to kill me so I had to defend myself and kill it." That quickly becomes ridculous.

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