Life is Precious

Gun Violence
Probably on the other spectrum of risk-taking is the random gun violence that we continue to see in the United States. So, far this year, there have been 20,808 Americans who have died secondary to gun violence. As a trauma surgeon, as a Christian, and as a human being, I just hate seeing gun violence.

There is a video that is going around on Instagram; it shows a woman getting out of her car and firing a gun at a car that was speeding away. At the same time, her boyfriend/husband was trying to wrestle the gun away from her. He finally gets the gun, and they jump back in their car and drive off.

The video was labeled as an act of road rage, but this was more. Come on. Let’s be serious. Unless the person in the first car tried to run you over and kill you, there is no reason to pull out a gun. If someone cuts you off or swerves into your lane, that should not ever escalate to pulling out a gun. If you think bad driving should be confronted with gunfire, you should probably see a specialist. You need help, and we need less guns. We must get control of gun violence.

It would seem that my love of life and support for abortion is incongruous. It is not. I don’t believe that life begins at conception. I believe that life, human life, begins at birth. If you decide that life begins before birth, the mother becomes secondary to the fetus. This just does not seem right. There should be no time in a woman’s life that she is subservient to anyone or anything. If we truly believe in the freedom and liberty in our Constitution, then every woman, like men, should be free to decide what is best for her.

It is past time to write a Constitutional amendment stating that Americans are free to make our own healthcare decisions. No state can limit an American’s ability to decide what healthcare he/she should get.

The Supremes
Well, it is time for us to roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of caring for our democracy. Our responsibility is to make sure that the Supreme Court is above reproach.

Judges cannot take private planes to far-off lands. They must NOT take free fishing trips in Alaska.

Pro Publica just published a well-sourced story stating that Samuel Alito took a really nice trip paid for by a rich GOP donor. It does not matter if the donor has business in front of the Court or not. It just looks worse if Moneybags has business in front of the Court. (which, in fact, he did!)

Meanwhile, Justice Neil Gorsuch netted up to $500,000 in profits by selling a property just days after his confirmation—a property that had been on the market, unsold, for two years before that. Who bought it? The head of a major law firm with extensive business before the Court.

Chief Justice Roberts’s wife earned over $10 million as a headhunter, placing lawyers with DC law firms—many of which had cases before the Court. Justice Coney Barrett’s husband opened a Washington, DC, branch of his law firm, shortly after his wife joined the Court.

It is time for Congress to wake up from its slumber and do some work. We have three equal branches of government. Do not tell me that Congress cannot place ethical restrictions on the Supreme Court. The very language of the Constitution (Article III, Section 1), reads: “The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour.” “Good behavior” is not defined; since the Court won’t bother, Congress has every right to define it.

And Section 2 continues, “… the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction … with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.” Those exceptions and regulations are also not defined; Congress has every right, even an obligation, to define them, too.

Alito and Thomas, especially, need to be held accountable. Impeachment? I doubt that we can practically impeach either justice. Perhaps it is time for us to remove this lifetime appointment. A lifetime appointment may have made sense in 1776, but it does not now. Twenty years is plenty of time to be on the Supreme Court. Looks like we need to amend the Constitution again. Let’s do it!

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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