While I’m criticizing Thursday op-eds, Charles Fried of Harvard Law School has a column in the New York Times titled “Supreme Confusion” in which he argues that the Supreme Court’s recent partial birth abortion decision doesn’t fit with precedent.
Still, this most recent decision is disturbing, because in 2000, in a similar case, the Supreme Court struck down a Kansas partial birth abortion ban. The Kansas law was unacceptably vague, but the principal reason for the court’s earlier decision was that there was responsible medical opinion that sometimes the procedure was less risky for the mother, and therefore in such cases the ban posed an undue burden.
I have no direct quibble with Fried’s analysis, but the fact that the law at issue in the 2000 case came from Nebraska, not Kansas, hurts the professor’s credibility.
Maybe there was a companion case involving a Kansas law, in which case Fried could be correct, though I see no indication of that in my Googling. Once I see a basic mistake like this, it’s hard for me to take the rest of what an author has to say seriously.
UPDATE: They changed the online article to say Nebraska instead of Kansas. Not sure what appeared in the print edition today.