4.9.05

On the one hand

A judge in Tennessee refused to hear a teenager girl's application for an abortion. Bad, right?
The actions, similar in some ways to pharmacists' refusal to dispense drugs related to contraception or abortion on moral grounds, have set off a debate about the responsibilities of judges and the consequences of such recusals, including political ones when judges are elected rather than appointed.

McCarroll's decision prompted 12 experts on judicial ethics to write to the Tennessee Supreme Court in late August. The experts called his action lawless and said they feared that his approach could spread around the nation and to subjects such as the death penalty, medical marijuana, flag burning and even divorce.
However, there is a valid reason to consider this a responsible action on the part of the judge (and any judge recusing themselves):
"If you require judges to hear these cases when they are morally and, maybe, religiously opposed to abortion [or medical marijuana or flag burning], they are likely to impose their views on the minor. And that happens."
So now I'm torn between wanting the judicial system to do it's job properly and the knowledge that no matter how hard we try, sometimes it's difficult to be impartial. It's hard enough as a librarian to give students both sides of an argument; I can't imagine trying to do that knowing it "really" counts.

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