an unanticipated consequence of
Jack M. Balkin
Jack Balkin: jackbalkin at yahoo.com
Bruce Ackerman bruce.ackerman at yale.edu
Ian Ayres ian.ayres at yale.edu
Mary Dudziak mary.l.dudziak at emory.edu
Joey Fishkin joey.fishkin at gmail.com
Heather Gerken heather.gerken at yale.edu
Mark Graber mgraber at law.umaryland.edu
Stephen Griffin sgriffin at tulane.edu
Bernard Harcourt harcourt at uchicago.edu
Scott Horton shorto at law.columbia.edu
Andrew Koppelman akoppelman at law.northwestern.edu
Marty Lederman marty.lederman at comcast.net
Sanford Levinson slevinson at law.utexas.edu
David Luban david.luban at gmail.com
Gerard Magliocca gmaglioc at iupui.edu
Jason Mazzone mazzonej at illinois.edu
Linda McClain lmcclain at bu.edu
John Mikhail mikhail at law.georgetown.edu
Frank Pasquale pasquale.frank at gmail.com
Nate Persily npersily at gmail.com
Michael Stokes Paulsen michaelstokespaulsen at gmail.com
Deborah Pearlstein dpearlst at princeton.edu
Rick Pildes rick.pildes at nyu.edu
Alice Ristroph alice.ristroph at shu.edu
Brian Tamanaha btamanaha at wulaw.wustl.edu
Mark Tushnet mtushnet at law.harvard.edu
Adam Winkler winkler at ucla.edu
An unrepentant Eric Rudolph gave an impassioned defense of his murderous bombing of a Birmingham abortion clinic Monday as a judge sentenced him to two life sentences and victims confronted him in court for the first time.
The wife of a police officer killed in the blast and a nurse maimed in the storm of shrapnel described him as a cowardly, bumbling American terrorist.
"I faced five pounds of dynamite and hundreds of nails yet I survived," said the nurse, Emily Lyons. "Do I look afraid? You damaged my body, but you did not create the fear you sought."
"In the name of faith, you hate," said U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith, who imposed the life terms worked out in a plea deal. "For the professed goal of saving human life, you killed. Those are riddles I cannot resolve."
Standing before the judge in a red jail uniform and with shackles around his ankles, Rudolph jabbed at the air and spoke in a deep, firm voice as he compared legalized abortion to primitive rituals of killing newborns.
"Abortion on demand is a return to the ancient practice of infanticide," said Rudolph, 38.
The death of the Birmingham police officer and the grave injuries suffered by the nurse were justified because both worked at an abortion clinic, Rudolph said. Abortion, he said, must be fought with "deadly force."
He pleaded guilty to all the cases in April in a deal that let him avoid the possibility of a death penalty. As a key part of the agreement, he directed authorities to about 250 pounds of dynamite hidden in the woods of western North Carolina, where he spent more than five years in hiding before his capture in 2003.
He also faces life sentences in Atlanta for the 1996 Olympics bombing that killed one woman and injured more than 100, as well as 1997 bombings at an abortion clinic and a gay bar in Atlanta.
In sentencing Rudolph to life in the federal government's "supermax" prison in Colorado, the judge compared Rudolph to the killers of Nazi Germany and the Ku Klux Klansmen who bombed a Birmingham church a few blocks from the courthouse in 1963, killing four black girls.
Smith ordered Rudolph to pay $1 million in restitution to victims but acknowledged that the serial bomber was broke. A fraction of the money, plus $200 in court fees, will come from the $1,600 in cash found in Rudolph's trailer after he disappeared into the woods in 1998, Smith said.
In Rudolph's statement -- his first extended comments in public -- he lashed out at abortion and the women's clinic that performs the operation.
"What they did was participate in the murder and dismemberment of upward of 50 children a week," he said. Abortion is murder, Rudolph said, adding: "I believe that deadly force is indeed justified in an attempt to stop it."
Diane Derzis, the owner of the clinic that Rudolph bombed, sat in the witness box a few feet from Rudolph and talked about creeks, trees and all the little things in life the outdoorsman would miss while spending the rest of his life in prison.
"I think you chose a fate far worse than death," Derzis said of the plea deal. "So my wish for you is that you live a very long life."
This is an inapt comparison. The overwhelming majority of Americans, including dedicated antiabortionists, do not believe that bombing abortion clinics is justified. Rudolph is a fringe lunatic under any plausible description of this country.
This is not true of Islamic fanatics. What makes radical Islam dangerous is that it is mainstream in many societies and a thriving subculture in many societies that are not themselves radicalized. The mere fact that Rudolph and Islamic terrorists are religious fanatics does not mean that antiabortion religiosity and radical Islamic religiosity are in any way comparable.
I think they are comparable. The radical religous right really deserves the name the "American Taliban". Dobson, Falwell, and Robertson all your leaders of the radical movement are fanatics that give me religon of Christiantiy a bad name. I'm glad that the religious left is starting to wake up and realize that these people have had their say for too long.
If left unchecked the radical religous right will turn this country into a theocracy. They are attacking the supreme court as we speak.