In her own hand: Kagan’s manipulation on partial-birth abortion; Update: Senate Republicans ready to ask about it?

posted at 10:11 am on June 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday I wrote about Shannen Coffin’s fine reporting on Elena Kagan’s apparent manipulation of testimony that convinced the Supreme Court to strike down a Nebraska law banning partial-birth abortion.  Today, we have a look at the actual evidence.  Here is the screen shot that Coffin took of the edits made by Kagan to the statement from the ACOG on partial-birth abortion:

Note the deletion of the word “not” in the original statement, which originally read (emphasis mine), “This procedure, however, may not be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman, and the doctor should be allowed to make this determination.”  However, even with that edit, the doctors’ statement did seem to indicate support for the partial-birth abortion position, as does the subsequent sentence in the original statement, which is almost entirely a restatement of the first:

“A doctor, however, may determine whether this procedure is the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman.”

In that sentence, Kagan wants to replace “may” with “must be allowed to,” a much stronger statement of principle than ACOG had made on their own.  Kagan also indulges in some term-swapping by replacing the dry and clinical “procedure” with the even more dry and clinical “intact D & X,” which stands for “dilation and extraction” of the baby. It’s a sales job, attempting to replace the descriptive and accurate “partial-birth abortion” with medical jargon.

None of these changes seem to change the basic thrust of the ACOG argument, but they do show that Kagan was deeply involved in selling this as a much stronger statement than ACOG first produced — the better to manipulate the courts.  It’s not a lie, and may not even breach ethical canons for lawyers working as advocates for a cause.  They do, however, call into question Kagan’s ability to be independent and her judgment as a potential jurist, and Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee should be asking Kagan to explain herself in today’s hearing.

Update: Human Events says get ready for this to come up in the next round of questions:

Republican Senators are “fully expected . . . to make an issue of this an iussue int he second round of questions this afternoon,” a Senate source tells Human Events, referring to Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan’s reported involvement in drafting a1996 document on partial-birth abortion. …

The first round of questioning ended about 11 a.m. ET, and Senate Republicans appeared “very interested” in the questions raised by Shannen Coffin’s report atNational Review, the first source said.

Stay tuned!  (via Stacy McCain)


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and Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee should be asking Kagan to explain herself in today’s hearing.

please, someone pounce on this!! sessions? kyl?

cmsinaz on June 30, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Good luck getting anyone to ask questions like these.

Vashta.Nerada on June 30, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Forward this to the senate judicial committee. We have to start screaming at these people. This will be exactly how she will govern from the bench.

Kissmygrits on June 30, 2010 at 10:16 AM

and Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee should be asking Kagan to explain herself in today’s hearing.

As if…..

thomasaur on June 30, 2010 at 10:18 AM

Hear that sound? That was the GOP rolling over for Kagan like the little poodles that they are, this will get passing mention and the Pubs will continue to lick her feet on the way to confirmation.

Bishop on June 30, 2010 at 10:18 AM

This is a done deal. I know I sound defeatist but I’m afraid I’m right. I did admire Coburn yesterday, but we don’t have enough votes to keep her out. I heard on the top of the hour news that two Republicans have already signaled that they are going to vote for her. She’s not going to be the last pick Obama gets either. Ginsberg is going to retire. Yes they are ultra liberal so their replacements shouldn’t make that much difference, but it does. The new Justices are young. They will be there for a long time.

sandee on June 30, 2010 at 10:19 AM

There’s hope for us, I guess. After all, Germany and Japan bounced back nicely from WWII.

Akzed on June 30, 2010 at 10:19 AM

It’s a lie. Which makes her the perfect choice for democrats.

Daggett on June 30, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Kagen said yesterday that Orin Hatch gave her advice on what not to say in order to gain confirmation.

Akzed on June 30, 2010 at 10:20 AM

continue to lick her feet on the way to confirmation.

Bishop on June 30, 2010 at 10:18 AM

I read that after the Russian spy thread and almost yakked.

thomasaur on June 30, 2010 at 10:20 AM

There’s hope for us, I guess. After all, Germany and Japan bounced back nicely from WWII.
Akzed on June 30, 2010 at 10:19 AM

Or we could end up like the former Yugoslavia (I’m betting on the latter).

Bishop on June 30, 2010 at 10:21 AM

When you scratch the word “not” from a statement, that seems to me to “change the basic thrust of the ACOG argument”.

aquaviva on June 30, 2010 at 10:22 AM

“By whatever means necessary” is not an attitude that I look for in a Supreme Court justice. Even if I’d agree with their decision, I want them to play it straight. If they don’t, they won’t have much lasting influence anyway.

RBMN on June 30, 2010 at 10:23 AM

I recommend reading Coffin’s own follow-up to the right’s potential overraction to Kagen’s involvement in this report…. I think Coffin is correct in his approach. This type of politics should be exposed and explained, but it probably does not rise to ‘tampering’ in a legalistic sense.

chaswv on June 30, 2010 at 10:24 AM

It’s not like the President was ever going to nominate anyone who was a strict constructionist. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are an impediment to their agenda…not a basis for it.

The point of these hearings is to tie nominees to the people who nominate them by asking these very kinds of questions. It’s a public hearing by proxy on the party in power.

That’s assuming of course that the minority party actually puts up the effort.

Asher on June 30, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Judge Kopf asserted that the ACOG policy statement was entitled to judicial deference because it was the result of an inscrutable collaborative process among expert medical professionals. “Before and during the task force meeting,” he concluded, “neither ACOG nor the task force members conversed with other individuals or organizations, including congressmen and doctors who provided congressional testimony, concerning the topics addressed” in the ACOG statement.

That quote is from yesterday’s post about Kagen’s role in this.

What I want to know is if the judge was aware of Kagen’s role in writing the ACOG policy statement (and, therefore, his statement that ACOG had not been influenced by anyone but doctors was a lie) or if he erroneously concluded they hadn’t received non-doctor input or if he asked and someone lied to him.

The statement from ACOG was given a lot of weight by at least that judge (and possibly) others due to the belief that it was a medical and not political statement. That it was edited by politicians is now a given. Now we just need to know if the politicians lied aobut it, the judge lied about it or the judge was just uninformed (and the politicians didn’t feel it necessary to inform them).

JadeNYU on June 30, 2010 at 10:25 AM

There’s hope for us, I guess. After all, Germany and Japan bounced back nicely from WWII.

Akzed on June 30, 2010 at 10:19 AM

They had us to help them; now we have one hand tied behind us and leg-irons on.

gstep58 on June 30, 2010 at 10:26 AM

An example of what to look for the next time you see the Constitution at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Electrongod on June 30, 2010 at 10:27 AM

Does the Justice she is replacing Stevens agree with her?

This may be nothing more than a swap out.

Dr Evil on June 30, 2010 at 10:29 AM

It is a manipulation of evidence to be used at a court trial. One can make a stronger argument at bar for the judge(s) to consider, but one cannot deliberately withhold evidence. Deleting the word “not” is withholding evidence.

One can very easily make the argument that the ACOG says that D&X is a necessary option when the woman’s life/health is in danger, I think the PBA ban was unconstitutional on that grounds alone (no exception for life of the mother). But this goes beyond that. Kagan deliberately misrepresented what the ACOG said (gee, and with Dear Liar’s regime misrepresenting what the off shore oil drilling experts said. . .) to the courts.

Further, she has denied knowledge about her progressive view of legal education. One does not get to be a law school dean (and I work in legal education) let alone dean of Harvard Law School without serious study of various theories of legal education. For her to pretend to not know what’s going on is purely a lie.

Kagan is not qualified. Just imagine if we had a president who during the campaign told blatant lies and was absolutely unqualified to hold the most important executive office in the world. Oh, wait. . .

rbj on June 30, 2010 at 10:29 AM

Dr,Evil, he’s just as bad but he is OLD. Kagan is young in terms of age in the SCOTUS. She’ll be there a long,log,time.

sandee on June 30, 2010 at 10:31 AM

OT: Hillary Clinton is visiting Krakow, Poland and has elected not to pay her respect at the tomb of late president Kaczynski. Recall that the O missed his funeral. What a disgrace.

year_of_the_dingo on June 30, 2010 at 10:32 AM

the MSM is sitting on this with both…. er, feet.

golfmann on June 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM

JadeNYU on June 30, 2010 at 10:25 AM:

Interesting point. I have faced this in my practice. If a judge is mistaken on his own (and not misled by counsel directly or indirectly) in making a written dispositive ruling and the judge’s mistake was about a factor that may have affected weighing of ‘facts’ but not a dispositive fact, then does counsel (or a stranger to the litigation who is an officer of the court) have a duty to attempt to ‘correct’ the judge’s mistake? My research showed under our state’s rules that there is no such duty, despite duties of candor to a tribunal….

chaswv on June 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Just the term itself “partial birth abortion” is so abhorrent to me. How anyone can defend this practice is beyond me.

thevastlane on June 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM

How can Kagan, who is NOT a doctor, determine that partial-birth abortion intact D&X may be the appropriate procedure to save the life or health of a woman when the AMA determined that such a procedure is NEVER necessary to save the life or health of a woman?

Steve Z on June 30, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Partial birth abortion is never necessary. I repeat NEVER necessary.If the health of the Mother is jeopardized a C-section is much quicker than this “procedure.” Trouble with a C-section is you usually get a live baby. That’s clearly not the outcome someone who opts for partial birth abortion wants.

sandee on June 30, 2010 at 10:38 AM

I know this is a swap out but frankly this manipulation of information should disqualify her from the SC for both parties.
If it is brought up thoroughly (big if) and if she is then confirmed the Democrats have an even bigger problem than the incompetent leadership of The One.

ORconservative on June 30, 2010 at 10:38 AM

Would anyone expect anything less from the hell which is Obama’s vision for this country?

Hening on June 30, 2010 at 10:39 AM

This is the issue that Democrats are willing to stick their neck out for. Well, this and giving condoms to kindergarteners.

LibTired on June 30, 2010 at 10:39 AM

How can Kagan, who is NOT a doctor, determine that partial-birth abortion intact D&X may be the appropriate procedure to save the life or health of a woman when the AMA determined that such a procedure is NEVER necessary to save the life or health of a woman?

Steve Z on June 30, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Kagan wants the right to murder infants to be available to any woman. Why? Because she is a twisted, distorted, sick individual, who should be shunned by a healthy society.

Hening on June 30, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Hear that sound? That was the GOP rolling over for Kagan like the little poodles that they are,

The Portland masseuse called Al Gore a sex-crazed poodle, so it depends what kind of poodles we’re talking about here. Kagan probably won’t sex-craze many Senators, but a few of them should be a little less poodle and a little more Dobermann.

Where are the Blue Dogs when we need them?

Steve Z on June 30, 2010 at 10:44 AM

From Coffin’s first article:

The task force’s initial draft statement did not include the statement that the controversial abortion procedure “might be” the best method “in a particular circumstance.” Instead, it said that the select ACOG panel “could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.

This statement isn’t on the screenshot. My interpretation of Coffin’s account is that Kagan’s version removed that part and edited the rest, leaving a statement which attests that partial birth abortions can have a therapeutic value for women. She knew that was not the case.
Maybe I’m reading this wrong?

Pundette on June 30, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Isn’t this illegal?

At the least it seems to be quite unethical.

tarpon on June 30, 2010 at 10:45 AM

She is ugly.

DDT on June 30, 2010 at 10:46 AM

Kagan is replacing Stevens, period. There is no difference. One liberal replacing another. Start worrying if something happens to one of the five justices that form the majority that prevent a socialist takeover of the SCOTUS.

Big Nicholas on June 30, 2010 at 10:47 AM

DDT, inside and out…

sandee on June 30, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Partial birth abortion is never necessary. I repeat NEVER necessary.If the health of the Mother is jeopardized a C-section is much quicker than this “procedure.” Trouble with a C-section is you usually get a live baby. That’s clearly not the outcome someone who opts for partial birth abortion wants.

sandee on June 30, 2010 at 10:38 AM

+1000000000000

Steve Z on June 30, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Just the term itself “partial birth abortion” is so abhorrent to me. How anyone can defend this practice is beyond me.
thevastlane on June 30, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Yah, the term and the procedure give me the creeps, a nightmare come to reality, even the thought of it depresses me and I’m not the type to get all teary-eyed over things.

Bishop on June 30, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Where are the Blue Dogs when we need them?
Steve Z on June 30, 2010 at 10:44 AM

A fantasy concocted by the ‘rats to make stupid conservatives believe they were electing demorats in name only. I’m hoping that right now they are busy perusing the want-ads in preparation for November.

Bishop on June 30, 2010 at 10:50 AM

Good luck getting anyone to ask questions like these.

Vashta.Nerada on June 30, 2010 at 10:15 AM

Coburn. He’s a doctor and, in his state, he’s absolutely invulnerable. I hope he goes for the throat.

And I disagree with Ed. From what I’ve seen, Kagan assisted in making a material misrepresentation to a court. I can’t believe that she’s not answering ethical inquiries.

BuckeyeSam on June 30, 2010 at 10:53 AM

They do, however, call into question Kagan’s ability to be independent and her judgment as a potential jurist, and Republican Senators on the Judiciary Committee should be asking Kagan to explain herself in today’s hearing.

Elena Kagan: dependently independent liberal socialist

As a lifetime appointment, what could go wrong?

Rovin on June 30, 2010 at 10:55 AM

We need go perform an abortion of liberalism from this country, to save the life of our nation. Just suck it right out.

Damn liberals.

ErinF on June 30, 2010 at 10:55 AM

Can you describe the partial-birth abortions you witnessed? What did you see?

“He turned the baby around [in the womb] and brought it out feet first. That’s one of the worse things for the mother that you can do. I was helping the doctor hold the baby [to keep it in the birth canal]. The other nurse got the instrument [a large syringe with a large needle], handed it to the doctor, and he inserted it into the base of the skull. Then he pulled the baby out. Its little hands were grasping. When the baby quit grasping, then he delivered it. He used the syringe to suction out the brains. That’s more traumatic on the mother than if she had given a normal birth.”

“They took the [dead] baby and wrapped it up in a receiving blanket and asked her [the mother] if she wanted to hold it. She said she didn’t want to. Neither one of them wanted to see them.”

“They were sent to the morgue.”

A Witness to Partial-birth Abortion

In September, 1993, Brenda Pratt Shafer, a registered nurse with thirteen years of experience, was assigned by her nursing agency to an abortion clinic. Since Nurse Shafer considered herself “very pro-choice,” she didn’t think this assignment would be a problem. She was wrong. This is what Nurse Shafer saw:

” I stood at the doctor’s side and watched him perform a partial-birth abortion on a woman who was six months pregnant. The baby’s heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen. The doctor delivered the baby’s body and arms, everything but his little head. The baby’s body was moving. His little fingers were clasping together. He was kicking his feet. The doctor took a pair of scissors and inserted them into the back of the baby’s head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall. Then the doctor opened the scissors up. Then he stuck the high-powered suction tube into the hole and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby was completely limp. I never went back to the clinic. But I am still haunted by the face of that little boy. It was the most perfect, angelic face I have ever seen.”

What the Nurse Saw…

CDeb on June 30, 2010 at 10:58 AM

From Coffin’s first article:

The task force’s initial draft statement did not include the statement that the controversial abortion procedure “might be” the best method “in a particular circumstance.” Instead, it said that the select ACOG panel “could identify no circumstances under which this procedure . . . would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman.”

This statement isn’t on the screenshot. My interpretation of Coffin’s account is that Kagan’s version removed that part and edited the rest, leaving a statement which attests that partial birth abortions can have a therapeutic value for women. She knew that was not the case.
Maybe I’m reading this wrong?

Pundette on June 30, 2010 at 10:44 AM

–Something may not be the only option but it still might be the best or most appropriate one.

I’m having a real hard time seeing what she did wrong here because this is what lawyers do all the time. She rewrote the statement but didn’t change the meaning because ACOG (as indicated by their subsequent court challenges to the bill Bush passed) clearly thought this determination should be left up to the doctor. But this was done before it was adopted by the ACOG. It was not done in connection with litigation and she never made representations about this as far as I can tell to any court.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 10:59 AM

For the love of all that is Holy, please have someone read the titles . Kagan, hand, manipulation AAARGGHHH.

borntoraisehogs on June 30, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Rushing headlong into judgement. The time for grace may be short.

Inanemergencydial on June 30, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Writing what you want to be written and hearing what you want to hear, that’s how it works. She’s going in with preconceived notions and agendas. It makes her lies about impartiality more obvious.

Cindy Munford on June 30, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Where are the Republican Senators talking about “Kagan’s America”?

Grow a pair.

Mojave Mark on June 30, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Ed, I sure hope by your up-date, this will come up this afternoon! I do wonder if any r will have the guts to do so?
If this does come up, it sure will be interesting to hear this gals response.
L

letget on June 30, 2010 at 11:40 AM

There is a special place in Hell for anyone who performs, requests, or acquiesces to an abortion.

Vashta.Nerada on June 30, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Kagan is not amom
Kagan is not a doc
Kagan is also shown in this case to not be an honest lawyer.

seven on June 30, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Oh boy, the Republicans are really gong to give her the comfy chair treatment this time.

Kagan and the Dems will be in tears afterward … unfortunately.

Dusty on June 30, 2010 at 11:47 AM

She just made it more perfectly clear. There is no such thing as an honest lawyer.

Kissmygrits on June 30, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Maybe I’m reading this wrong?
Pundette on June 30, 2010 at 10:44 AM

I read it that way too, but then again, I’m not a lawyer.

BTW, let’s recall some germane, morally relative claptrap from Kagan’s opening statement (which seems to have passed without comment from the blogsphere):

“And what I’ve learned most is that no one has a monopoly on truth or wisdom.”

Buy Danish on June 30, 2010 at 11:49 AM

I just can’t help it… how does an IPS driver get nominated for the Supreme Court?

Man, it’s uncanny.

reaganaut on June 30, 2010 at 11:53 AM

hopefully, they won’t dance around it, but go directly for the jugular…no more mr. nice guy, ya hear?

cmsinaz on June 30, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Hatch is asking about it right now.

labwriter on June 30, 2010 at 12:03 PM

She’s filibustering the answer. Hatch finally broke in to tell her to answer his question.

labwriter on June 30, 2010 at 12:08 PM

She went back to filibustering. She’s very good at playing out the clock.

labwriter on June 30, 2010 at 12:09 PM

dang it…someone pounce on her filibustering…

cmsinaz on June 30, 2010 at 12:10 PM

The sad thing is that in the end it doesn’t matter. The Dems do not care if the people want her or not. They gave us healthcare and are looking at their financial reform takeover bill that no one wants.

jeffn21 on June 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM

She could drown a kitten in her water glass during the hearings, and these senators would barely blink.

labwriter on June 30, 2010 at 12:15 PM

It’s not a lie, and may not even breach ethical canons for lawyers

Of course it is. She fundamentally changes the meaning of the sentences in the original statement from downplaying the legitimacy of partial birth abortion to declaring the procedure a “necessary” option for doctors. The doctors had originally said the exact opposite, that it was almost never necessary.

Jaibones on June 30, 2010 at 12:15 PM

No, it doesn’t matter in the end but it is very important to me that the public see what incredible sleaze Obama wants on the court for the next zillion years.

ORconservative on June 30, 2010 at 12:16 PM

I respect Hatch, but he’s far too tentative in his questioning here. I hope someone else will bring it up.

labwriter on June 30, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Is this the chink in her armor? If so, it is the responsibility of EVERY Senator to fully explore it. We know the demrat8astards wont, but they are constitutionally required to do so.

csdeven on June 30, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Yes, I agree with Orconservative: this is going on the record, and at least that’s something. It’s the best that we can hope for at this point. However, the hearings are being “rushed,” supposedly so they can get to Byrd’s memorial. Leahy (committee chair) is a real slime, IMO.

labwriter on June 30, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Let us not forget that while Kagan — the ethical lawyer — was elbow-deep in the sales job Clinton’s hacks were performing, they also determined to simply lie outright about the frequency of the procedure, a lie that came to light later and hasn’t even caused a blush among the liars.

Jaibones on June 30, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Viable babies being murdered. Just reminds me of Obama saying that he would kill a baby who survived because he didnt want to “burden the original choice”
Ask the question about Obama wanting to kill a surviving baby you girly senators!

PrezHussein on June 30, 2010 at 12:22 PM

If she will cook that data she will most assuredly cook Constitutional intent.

JIMV on June 30, 2010 at 12:24 PM

I hope they follow this line of questions all the way down the rabbit hole.

ted c on June 30, 2010 at 12:25 PM

labwriter on June 30, 2010 at 12:18 PM

i sure hope so…hatch and graham are not going to rattle any cages…

cmsinaz on June 30, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Republican Senators are “fully expected . . . to make an issue of this an iussue

The legalized killing of children ought to be the #1 SCOTUS issue, as well as the #1 political issue. It’s not, obviously, which says a lot about the awful state of our nation.

itsnotaboutme on June 30, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Her willingness to lie for the ProgLibarxist cause will endear her even more to these to those sitting on the show-panel.

ClanDerson on June 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM

Bright light………..this woman needs bright hot light shone on her and her past.
A confirmation fine, but fully shine that light on the filth you are saddling that court with.

ORconservative on June 30, 2010 at 12:49 PM

I tire of these hearings, as the GOP always disappoints.

Sotamayor makes racist comments, uses egregiously bad grammar, exchanges words like imminent and eminent (which might not be bad if Kelo get s retrial… she won’t know what it all means), and then the GOP VOTES TO CONFIRM. Grahmnesty wants to be nicey nicey and show everyone how magnanimous the GOP is, so you Dems, be nicer to our guys next time around, mmm kay?

Obama is trying to stuff the Court with radicals and we’re more interested in appearances and not looking ‘mean’ than being direct and principled. It’s as if the GOP doesn’t realise the stakes are higher now – we’re closer to the point where it is nearly impossible to turn this situation around and reduce government’s role and people like Grahmnesty just grandstand and conjure up a few good soundbites but then they cave in.

Why even bother? Where is Kyl, anyone, asking Kagan how she feels about adding diversity to the court as opposed to experience and acumen? Bring it out, show people what a bloody joke Obama has made the Supreme Court. This is a potential Supreme Court justice, you have an obligation to drill down, and you can do it without being insulting.

linlithgow on June 30, 2010 at 12:55 PM

I’m having a real hard time seeing what she did wrong here because this is what lawyers do all the time. She rewrote the statement but didn’t change the meaning because ACOG (as indicated by their subsequent court challenges to the bill Bush passed) clearly thought this determination should be left up to the doctor. But this was done before it was adopted by the ACOG. It was not done in connection with litigation and she never made representations about this as far as I can tell to any court.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 10:59 AM

The nature of a report like this is to state the strongest accurate case in favor of the requested procedure. So this report presumably went as far in defense of partial birth abortion as the doctors involved felt they reasonably could. And then Kagan modified it to go further.
If this is true, then Kagan — a lawyer in a highly political case working directly for the Clinton Administration, not a doctor — took a hand in changing this report to manipulate it into saying more than the original authors intended. If, as you say, this is “what lawyers do,” then lawyers deserve their reputation for mendacity.

The defense that it didn’t change the meaning of the report is insupportable. Of course it did. If it hadn’t changed the meaning of the report, the edits would not have been needed.

tom on June 30, 2010 at 1:02 PM

I stood at the doctor’s side and watched him perform a partial-birth abortion on a woman who was six months pregnant. The baby’s heartbeat was clearly visible on the ultrasound screen. The doctor delivered the baby’s body and arms, everything but his little head. The baby’s body was moving. His little fingers were clasping together. He was kicking his feet. The doctor took a pair of scissors and inserted them into the back of the baby’s head, and the baby’s arms jerked out in a flinch, a startle reaction, like a baby does when he thinks that he might fall. Then the doctor opened the scissors up. Then he stuck the high-powered suction tube into the hole and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby was completely limp. I never went back to the clinic. But I am still haunted by the face of that little boy. It was the most perfect, angelic face I have ever seen.”

What the Nurse Saw…

–Something may not be the only option but it still might be the best or most appropriate one.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 10:59 AM

I’m curious – in what instance would this be the best or most appropriate option?

thevastlane on June 30, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Orrin Hatch raised the question bluntly: “Did you write that memo?” After some dancing around, Kagan finally admitted, “The document is certainly in my handwriting,”

Passive voice, still not taking responsibility for it. “in my handwriting”? how about “Yes, I wrote that.”

rbj on June 30, 2010 at 1:12 PM

I wish the GoP would actually fight her tooth and nail.

Tim Burton on June 30, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Lemme help you out here, Sen Hatch:

Q: Can you see anyway that this memo could be in your handwriting without you having actually written it?

or maybe

Q: Do you know of anyone, other than yourself, who writes memos using your handwriting?

Sheeh, go for the kill already.

Mr. Pickles on June 30, 2010 at 1:37 PM

The nature of a report like this is to state the strongest accurate case in favor of the requested procedure. So this report presumably went as far in defense of partial birth abortion as the doctors involved felt they reasonably could. And then Kagan modified it to go further.
If this is true, then Kagan — a lawyer in a highly political case working directly for the Clinton Administration, not a doctor — took a hand in changing this report to manipulate it into saying more than the original authors intended. If, as you say, this is “what lawyers do,” then lawyers deserve their reputation for mendacity.

The defense that it didn’t change the meaning of the report is insupportable. Of course it did. If it hadn’t changed the meaning of the report, the edits would not have been needed.

tom on June 30, 2010 at 1:02 PM

–The report said that a doctor could determine that this is the best or most appropriate procedure. I still don’t see her changes as having altered the substance of that statement (or the earlier sentence). And the executive board of the ACOG did agree with the changes.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 1:54 PM

–Something may not be the only option but it still might be the best or most appropriate one.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 10:59 AM
I’m curious – in what instance would this be the best or most appropriate option?

thevastlane on June 30, 2010 at 1:06 PM

-I’m not a doctor. But if you go back into some of the related links, there were apparently two instances where it was.

Jimbo3 on June 30, 2010 at 1:55 PM

Read it without the changes, then with the changes. Which makes a stronger case? Did Kagan have the medical expertise to change this report? If it had been a conservative lawyer in the Bush administration altering a report on partial birth abortion to make the procedure look more dangerous, would you be so unconcerned?

Kagan obviously made the changes because the report didn’t help her side enough. Questionable at best.

tom on June 30, 2010 at 2:20 PM

I am not an animal.

I am an animal.

Virtually identical statements. On planet Bizaro.

BobMbx on June 30, 2010 at 4:53 PM

Detention of enemy combatants without charge may not be a good idea.

Detention of enemy combatants without charge may be a good idea.

You make the call.

BobMbx on June 30, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Ed, as much as I question Obama’s implicit declaration that this nominee is the best available mind to sit on SCOTUS, I fear you are in error in your analysis in one critical respect. Your assumption is that the blacked out word is “not”. If that assumption is based solely on the image you’ve posted, I think the greater likelihood is that the word struck out is “well”. Note the two uprised letters, and the width of the struck word.

itobo on July 1, 2010 at 4:39 AM