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Reid Has Second Thoughts

Harry Reid doesn't seem overly thrilled with the Supreme Court's abortion decision yesterday: "A lot of us wish that Alito weren't there and O'Connor were there." That's nice, and I agree, but then why did Reid vote for the D&X ban in the first place? Had he been hoping all along that O'Connor would still be there and the Supreme Court would strike it down?

Actually, I'd be curious to know if any of the 90 Democrats who voted for the ban did so because that was the politically safe move--the procedure is, after all, quite unpopular even if the ban itself was sloppily written, arbitrary, and fairly clearly designed to weaken abortion rights across the board--but were hoping the Supreme Court would overturn the law. That isn't unprecedented: George Lovell's book, Legislative Deferrals, has all sorts of examples of Congress passing laws they don't necessarily agree with on the assumption that the courts will sort things out. But it's a fairly dishonest way to do business--and ends up backfiring if, say, the swing vote on the Supreme Court ends up retiring.

--Bradford Plumer