Ellis Washington is a former staff editor of the Michigan Law Review and law clerk at the Rutherford Institute. He is a professor of Constitutional Law, Legal Ethics, and Contracts at the National Paralegal College, a counselor at the American College of Education, and a founding board member of Salt and Light Global. Washington is a co-host of "Joshua's Trial," a radio show of Christian conservative thought. A graduate of JohnMore ↓Less ↑
From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.
~ Justice Harry Blackmun, dissent “Callins v. Collins” (1994)
President Obama’s naked frontal attack upon Christianity (not just the Catholic Church, but against all religious faiths) via his latest policy moves by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and their arrogant attempts to mandate that all religious and Christian-based hospitals, charities, colleges, universities and nonprofit organizations give away free contraception, abortion, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services on demand is both a patent violation of the separation of powers doctrine of the U.S. Constitution as well as the free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment. Constitutionally speaking, neither President Obama nor Secretary Sebelius has the authority to force the church to violate the Bible and the collective consciences of millions of Christians and religious people in America who vehemently disagree with this unprecedented policy.
Although it appears that President Obama has backed down, don’t believe the hype. Historically, fascists never back down. Obama simply shifted the provider of free contraceptive, abortion, abortifacient drugs and sterilization services from church-based organizations to the insurance companies who will simply pass along these blood-money costs back to the church-based organizations that are paying the insurance premiums for their employees in the first place.
Obama didn’t repent or retreat – he reloaded! His HHS policy is both cynical and genocidal and must be stopped.
President Obama’s fascist tactics reminds me of an earlier, radical age 80 years ago and the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany. No, I’m not saying Obama is Hitler; however, writer Eric Metaxas, a biographer of Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in chapter 12 of his revelatory new book on Bonhoeffer, wrote these prophetic words describing the demonic and consensus Zeitgeist that dominated Germany in the early 1930s:
At first the German Christians were careful about hiding their most radical beliefs from the German people. To the casual observer, their conference in April 1933 was a model of theological soberness. But the German Christians were vocal that the German church must be united as a Reichskirche. Anything else smacked of the fractured Reichstag and the Weimar Republic. Everything must now be synchronized under the Fuhrer’s leadership and under the idea of Gleichschaltung – and the church must lead the way.
Gleichschaltung is the Nazi philosophy of “coordination,” “making the same” or “bringing into line.” This was the Nazis’ systematic, cynical and evil intent to Nazify the German church. Throughout history, perverting the good has been the Weltanschauung (worldview) of all people with evil intent. Whether you call them atheists, Darwinists, Marxists, Nietzscheans, liberals, progressives, feminists, communists, fascists, eugenicists, or socialists, their policy initiatives and conclusions, demonstrative by every unbiased legal, historical and political analysis, always ends in death for the masses.
Enter Justice Harry Blackmun.
It was the progressive Republican President Richard M. Nixon who nominated Blackmun to the U.S. Supreme Court on April 4, 1970. Blackmun was confirmed by the Senate on May 12, 1970, by a 94–0 vote. This Senate vote demonstrates to me how invisible and irrelevant conservative ideas and conservative jurisprudence was 40 years ago even by a supposedly “right-wing radical conservative” like President Nixon. Blackmun’s confirmation followed controversial battles over two preceding, failed nominations forwarded by Nixon in 1969–1970, those of Clement Haynsworth and G. Harrold Carswell.
To study the jurisprudence of Justice Blackmun is an excursion into a complex labyrinth of the hypocritical, duplicitous and genocidal. Blackmun, a lifelong Republican, was expected to adhere to a conservative interpretation of the Constitution; nevertheless his true progressive colors were soon revealed.
In 1973, Blackmun wrote the majority opinion for the Court in Roe v. Wade, invalidating a Texas statute making it a felony to administer an abortion in most circumstances. Both decisions in Roe and the companion case Doe v. Bolton were based on the judicially spurious right to privacy doctrine so decreed in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), and continued the specious liberal activist jurisprudence for the constitutional right to abortion in the United States.
Although Roe caused an immediate public upheaval, and Blackmun’s opinion made him a target of derision by pro-life organizations, receiving volumes of hate mail and death threats over the case, nevertheless Blackmun remained stubbornly unrepentant and doubled down to rise as a zealous advocate for abortion rights, frequently giving lectures and speeches promoting Roe v. Wade as vital to women’s equality and health, while criticizing Roe’s critics. Defending abortion in the 1986 case Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Blackmun wrote:
Few decisions are more personal and intimate, more properly private, or more basic to individual dignity and autonomy, than a woman’s decision – with the guidance of her physician and within the limits specified in Roe – whether to end her pregnancy. A woman’s right to make that choice freely is fundamental. …
When after two decades of voting to uphold the Eighth Amendment constitutional right of the death penalty, in his 1994 swan song case, Callins v. Collins, Justice Blackmun, in a famous dissent, decreed in exasperation: “From this day forward, I no longer shall tinker with the machinery of death.” Never in the annals of American constitutional jurisprudence has a more tragically ironic statement been made, with the possible exception of my personal favorite: Justice Taney’s 1857 majority opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford, a case that upheld slavery and denied all black people American citizenship. Taney infamously wrote, “The negro has no rights that the white man is bound to respect.” Those hateful words essentially lit the fuse to the bomb that would explode four years later called the Civil War.
The tragic irony of Justice Blackmun’s tenure on the Supreme Court and ultimately his jurisprudence legacy is that no matter how liberals, progressives, feminists and revisionist historians try to elevate him as a champion of “women’s rights,” in reality Blackmun will go down in history as the author of Roe v. Wade, the bloodiest majority opinion in the history of the Supreme Court, a decision that, since 1973, has legalized the infanticide of over 54 million innocent babies in America … and counting.
Indeed, this is the indefensible, irredeemable and unconstitutional legacy of Justice Harry Blackmun.