Helena Silverstein

Recent Articles

Justice Bypassed

The Senate decided Tuesday that it should be a crime to take a minor out of state for an abortion in contravention of state laws mandating parental involvement in the abortion decision. This action follows House passage of a similar measure last year, and the president will surely sign the product of House/Senate reconciliation. With all that is going wrong for Republicans these days, it is perhaps too obvious to point out why the so-called Child Custody Protection Act (CCPA) is being advanced at this time. (Hint: It's not due to a new epidemic of cross-border incursions by pregnant-minor-toting hooligans.) But whatever shameless change-the-subject, rally-the-base, embarrass-the-Democrats politics may be in play, there remains the question of CCPA's substantive merits. As it happens, there are fewer of those than appear at first glance. Thirty-four states have laws in effect that require either parental consent or notification before a minor can get an abortion. The official purpose...

All Eyes on Kennedy

After more than a decade of stability, the Supreme Court was overdue for a makeover. Impatient conservatives, long plotting a high-court coup to match their lower-court triumphs, had their eyes on poor old liberal Justice John Paul Stevens. Then, last July, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced she was stepping down. He does have His ways. O'Connor, the swing justice on a closely divided court, had been a bee in the Federalist Society bonnet for some time, siding with the liberals on issues from affirmative action to public religious displays. With her out of the way and the more conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy taking over as “the decider,” you could just about hear alarm bells sound on the left and church bells ring out on the right. Nowhere does the ideological balance of the Court inspire more hope and woe than among the combatants in the abortion debate, the veritable Super Bowl of the culture wars. During O'Connor's tenure as the swingstress, the Court significantly eroded...