Nevertheless, Obama has his pro-life Catholic supporters. I’m not of their number, but I don’t find them any less Catholic or pro-life for their support of Obama’s candidacy. Of his Catholic pro-life defenders, constitutional law scholar Douglas W. Kmiec has received a fair share of media attention. He hasn’t backed down since his March piece endorsement of Senator Obama for president. On May 3rd, he reaffirmed his endorsement.
Professor Kmiec, who served Presidents Reagan and Bush I as head of the Office of Legal Council, supports Obama not despite Obama’s abortion stance, but rather because he believes Obama would be better at decreasing abortions in these United States. I don’t know whether or not Kmiec is right about Obama in this. I remain skeptical. Nevertheless, his position is reasonable.
To be sure, Douglas Kmiec doesn’t think Obama is more likely than McCain to appoint strict-constructionist or pro-life judges. Whereas McCain may appoint a Supreme Court Justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade, Obama is sure not to appoint such a judge. Rather, Kmiec sees his less than sufficient courses regarding abortion as follows:
(a) the continuation of an effort to appoint men and women to the Court who are thought willing to overturn Roe through divisive confirmation proceedings that undermine respect for law and understate the significance of non-abortion issues in a judicial candidate’s evaluation; orKmiec defends his choice of course thus:
(b) working with a new president who honestly concedes the abortion decision poses serious moral issues which he argues can only be fully and successfully resolved by the mother facing it with the primary obligation of the community seeing to it that she is as well informed as possible in the making of it.
If it’s a choice between giving a boost to the work of my fellow parishioners who week after week in thinly-funded, crisis pregnancy centers, open their minds and their hearts and often their homes to pregnant women (and Obama has spoken approvingly of faith-based efforts) and a Supreme Court Justice to be named later who may or may not toss the issue back to the states, I think I know which course is more effectively choosing life.In short, Kmiec doesn't hold up overturning that awful court decision as the primary, non-negotiable means aimed at bring an end to abortion. With that, at least, I agree.
My own thoughts on an Obama presidency are mixed. I like his politics of hospitality, which he projects without being wishy-washy or lukewarm about his principles and positions. I fancy his focus on personal responsibility. Unlike Professor Kmiec, however, I remain skeptical of what good Obama will bring to the unborn. I also smell the scent of imperialism in his foreign policy, a repugnant scent to this peacenik’s nose. His opposition to the Iraq War seemed to hinge on where we should focus our martial might, a might he wants to increase and position elsewhere around the globe. And, of course, he seeks the now tyrannical power of the presidency, which if not an evil inclination, is just downright nutty.
Jay Anderson of Pro Ecclesia and Feddie of Southern Appeal respond to Kmiec. Both take issue with the professor's insistence that Obama is not pro-abortion, and Jay chastises Kmiek for misrepresenting the McCain campaign and for the disingenuous way in which he's gone about endorsing Obama. To quote Jay:
"For the record, I am critical of Kmiec, not so much for endorsing Obama, as in the disingenuous way in which he's gone about it.
As I've stated before, I think it entirely reasonable for someone to come to the conclusion that there are "truly grave moral reasons" that would justify voting for a "pro-choice" candidate like Obama. I might disagree with that assessment, but I don't think it a necessarily unreasonable conclusion for one to reach.
Again, however, my problem with Kmiec lies not in a belief that his endorsement of Obama is inappropriate, but rather that Kmiec is being dishonest."
In response to Jay's response to this post (in the combox and on his blog), I've updated the first update to clarify Jay's position.