Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/12/2018: The Cleveland Indians, “On The Waterfront,” And Garza v. Hargan

Good Mornin’!

(I know I’ve posted this “Singin’ in the Rain” showstopper more than once, but it makes me happy, so there.)

1. From the Cleveland Indians, a Robert E. Lee moment: As the Cincinnati Reds were threatening, with two outs, the bases loaded and the Indians clinging to a 4-3 lead, Tribe manager Terry Francona wanted to bring in left-hander Oliver Perez to face left-handed Reds slugger Joey Votto , the book move, a classic left on left matchup.  But pitching coach Carl Willis thought he heard Francona tell him to summon right-hander Dan Otero.“He thought I said O.T.,” Francona said, using Otero’s nickname. “I said O.P.” With the advantage of facing a right-handed pitcher (most lefties hit righties better) Votto promptly hit a three-run double off Otero, giving the Reds a 6-4 lead.

Even though it would have made no sense for Francona to ask for Otero, the manager emulated Robert E. Lee’s fine leadership moment, meeting with his battered troops after they were shot to pieces in Pickett’s Charge and telling them, “It was all my fault.” “It falls on me,” he told the press. “I actually talked to the team and told them that I thought I messed up.”

Some wags have suggested that the decline of creative baseball player nicknames was really at fault. If Francona had called for Vinegar Bend, The Big Train, , The Monster or “Death to Flying Things,” nobody would have been confused.

2. Forget the dishonest narrative and spin: here’s what really happened in Garza v. Hargan: No, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s eminently qualified nominee to fill retiring Justice Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court, did not try to block an illegal immigrant teen from having an abortion, as the desperate fear-mongering Democrats are claiming. 

In October 2017,  the ACLU filed suit against the Trump administration on behalf of “Jane Doe,” a pregnant teen from Cnetral America who had been arrested while entering the country illegally. Through  her guardian, Rochelle Garza, “Doe” sought release from the federal shelter where she was being detained to obtain an abortion. Eric Hargan, the acting secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services at the time, took the position that the government   had no obligation to facilitate Doe’s abortion.  She had the option of returning to her native country—where she belonged anyway— or being released to a sponsor. A federal trial judge ruled for Doe and the abortion, saying that the government’s refusal to release a minor from custody constituted an “undue burden” on Doe’s constitutional right to an abortion. HHS appealed to the D.C. Circuit, and on appeal, Judge Kavanaugh authored the majority opinion that reversed the lower court’s decision. Here is the crux of the opinion:

The Government argues that, pursuant to standard HHS policy, a sponsor may be secured for a minor unlawful immigrant in HHS custody, including for a minor who is seeking an abortion. The Government argues that this process by which a minor is  released from HHS custody to a sponsor  does not unduly burden the minor’s right under Supreme Court precedent to an abortion. We agree, so long as the process of securing a sponsor to whom the minor is released occurs expeditiously. … The District Court is directed to allow HHS until Tuesday, October 31, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time for a sponsor to be secured for J.D. and for J.D. to be released to the sponsor. If a sponsor is secured and J.D. is released from HHS custody to the sponsor, HHS agrees that J.D. then will be lawfully able , if she chooses , to obtain an abortion on her own pursuant to the relevant state law. If a sponsor is not secured and J.D. is not released to the sponsor by that time, the District Court may re – enter a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, or other appropriate order, and the Government or J.D. may, if they choose, immediately appeal. We note that the Government has assumed , for purposes of this case, that J.D., an unlawful immigrant who apparently was detained shortly after unlawfully crossing the border into the United States, possesses a constitutional right to obtain an abortion in the United States.
Got that? The opinion did not dispute Jane Doe’s right to an abortion. Nor did it act to prevent her from having an abortion. Kavanaugh’s majority opinion is spare and free of dicta. It simply states the law.Then the ACLU asked the whole Court, rather than the panel, to reconsider the case, and predictably, the overwhelmingly liberal court reversed itself without a new hearing or briefs.

The two dissents in the case, from Kavanaugh and Judge Henderson, are persuasive. From various angles, both question whether an illegal alien minor has a constitutional right to abortion on demand under current law. They do not challenge the constitutional right to abortion; the representations of the case that suggest that are, simply, lies. As for the issue of what degree of constitutional rights accrue to an illegal alien, it is a gray area, and ripe for Supreme Court resolution. The Supreme Court, however, did not concur with the D.C.Circuit’s ultimate ruling, for it the Supreme Court unanimously vacated  Garza once Doe had been hustled off to an abortion clinic before the government had the chance to appeal.  The National Review notes,

“Had the justices had the opportunity to weigh in on the Garza case, they might well have vindicated Kavanaugh’s actual view of controlling precedent — and not the distorted sound bites abortion activists are peddling.”

Verdict: True.

3. “On the Waterfront.” It’s time—past time, really— to update the Ethics Alarms master list of ethics movies. I was reminded of this languishing task as I watched Elia Kazan’s masterpiece “On the Waterfront” all the way through for once. (My late, lamented theater company in Arlington Virginia had produced the stage version of Budd Shulberg’s script, which unlike the film, ends with Terry, Marlon Brando’s punch-drunk protagonist, being beaten to death). It deserves to be on the list, even though the hero’s decision to turn whistle-blower on the New York docks corruption is motivated by revenge rather than moral duty. Kazan wanted to make the film in part as his own defense against Hollywood claims that he had turned “rat” against fellow travelers in the industry who had embraced Communism when he “named names” before Congress in 1952.  Kazan abandoned a project he had begun with Arthur Miller, who wrote “The Crucible” as a rebuke to those who “named names,” a group that included Schulberg as well as Kazan. Neither “The Crucible” nor “On the Waterfront” are  fair allegories for Kazan’s dilemma, for Communists, unlike witches, were real, but they were not the moral or ethical equivalent of the violent gangsters of Schulberg’s script.

10 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/12/2018: The Cleveland Indians, “On The Waterfront,” And Garza v. Hargan

  1. #2 The political left is lying with their accusations and innuendo? I’m shocked that a morally-bankrupt political-advocacy-driven, social-justice-warrior laden anti-Trump left would do such a thing. It’s another example of the left’s ends justifies the means driving their Salem Witch Trial School of Thought.

    P.S. I’ve been trying all morning to figure out how to word what you wrote so eloquently but I just don’t have the legal background required to put into words what my mind was swarming around. Thanks for making it clear!

    • Sue Dunim wrote, “By the time the court would have re considered the case, any abortion would have been illegal under state law.”

      I can see them sneering, drooling and hear the mantra of the activist drones now…

      We must kill, kill, kill these inconveniently intrusive human beings before it’s illegal. Kill…. kill…. kill….

      Quick, kill that human being before it becomes illegal; nice.

      #4 “If it isn’t illegal, it’s ethical.”

  2. 1. Why didn’t the Manager see who was going to the mound and stop it? Was he not paying attention? Or is there some rule that once the relief pitcher walks on the field, he has to pitch?

    2. Common Americans are watching, and they no longer trust the media to tell the truth. This means the freak out is working against progressives.

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