augusta free press news

Bad money after good to play to the base

The Politics Beat column by Chris Graham

More of your taxpayer dollars are headed toward the wastebasket.

“It is my belief that Virginia’s partial-birth abortion ban, passed overwhelmingly by the people’s elected representatives in the General Assembly, is constitutional. Given the significance of the issues at stake, and the fact that the United States Supreme Court recently upheld a very similar federal ban on the procedure, the full court should review the ruling by the divided three-judge panel,” Attorney General Bob McDonnell said today in a statement announcing that his office will ask the full Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the decision of a three-judge review panel that struck down Virginia’s ban on partial-birth abortions.

The panel voted 2-1 on May 20 to strike down the 2003 law. The court had also voted by a similar 2-1 margin to overturn the law.

The U.S. Supreme Court had ordered the court to review its decision last year.

The move by McDonnell to continue the case was not a surprise. His office had indicated to reporters last week that the only decision to be made regarding the future of the case was whether to appeal to the full Fourth Circuit or to bypass the appeals court and take the matter to the Supreme Court.

Another approach would be to concede that the law – which bans a procedure that can occur during standard abortions in a way that under the terms of the law “every time a doctor sets out to perform a standard D&E, he faces the unavoidable risk of criminal prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment,” Judge M. Blane Michael wrote in his majority opinion – is an overreach in its current form and needs to be tweaked.

Or we can go this route, which we can only assume will take us to the full Fourth Circuit, then to the Supreme Court, then back to that square one that I outlined above.

I know that we’re heading into a gubernatorial election next year, and that this issue is important to the base that McDonnell needs to energize to get elected, but seriously. I don’t know that we can cry and moan about how we don’t have enough money for basic road maintenance when we’re throwing bad money after good to play to the base.