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Saturday, February 7, 2009
WND's Washington Seizes on Ginsburg's Illness to Bash Her
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Anyone whose main sources of comfort are "the Bible, WorldNetDaily and the Michael Savage radio show" has problems dealing with reality. And Ellis Washington comes through again with his whacked-out right-wing stylings in his Feb. 7 WND column marking Ruth Bader Ginsburg's recent cancer surgery by spreading lies about her.

Washington cites "an interesting article on Justice Ginsburg by Edward Whelar," and proceeds to repeat alleged "facts" in the article that Washington makes no apparent attempt to fact-check -- even though they have been debunked long ago. Let's examine a few, as quoted by Washington:

1. Protecting prostitution. Citing Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972), and Roe v. Wade (1973) as judicial precedent in support of prostitution, Ginsburg theorized that federal laws against prostitution "are subject to several constitutional and policy objections. Prostitution, as a consensual act between adults, is arguably within the zone of privacy protected by recent constitutional decisions." Ginsburg proposed that the federal laws against prostitution be repealed.

In fact, Ginsburg merely stated that an argument could be made that the act of prostitution is constitutionally protected. When the issue arose during Ginsburg's 1993 confirmation hearings, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch agreed that the sentence could not be construed as a stated position, much less a belief: "You were making an academic point. I understand. I'm not trying to indicate that you were justifying prostitution."

Certainly, as a law professor, Washington understands what an academic legal point is. Uh, right?

2. Protecting bigamy. Throughout her long legal career, Ginsburg has considered laws prohibiting the rights of bigamists "of questionable constitutionality since it appears to encroach impermissibly upon private relationships."

In fact, Ginsburg questioned the constitutionality of legislation that restricted the right to vote or hold office of bigamists or "persons cohabiting with more than one person." Ginsburg wrote that the provision "appears to encroach impermissibly upon private relationships" and recommended that it "be narrowed to avoid conflict with constitutionally protected privacy interests."

6. Reducing the age of consent to 12. Ginsburg had recommended legislative changes that would reduce the age of consent for statutory rape under federal law from 16 to 12.

In fact, Ginsburg advocated no such thing. Ginsburg's report noted a 1973 Senate bill as an example of legislation that rejected the "traditional sex discriminatory fashion" in which the United States Code defined rape. The bill laid out three circumstances as constituting rape, including that "the other person is, in fact, less than twelve years old." But Ginsburg cited the bill only for the purposes of noting its gender-neutral language and did not address the merits of the clause regarding "age of consent."

As we noted above, Washington does indeed claim to be a law professor. Anyone unfortunate enough to have to learn law from him has our sympathies.

Posted by Terry K. at 9:36 AM EST

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