Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes.

David K DeWolf, Abortion: The Clash Of Absolutes, 26 Gonz. L. Rev. 257 (1990).

As a renowned constitutional scholar and lawyer, Laurence Tribe garners the attention of many, including the judiciary, when he speaks or writes. His frequent, usually successful, appearances before the United States Supreme Court have earned him a reputation as a formidable advocate as well as a scholar. In another recent book, God Save This Honorable Court,1 he traded traditional scholarship for a popular format, taking his constitutional views to a larger audience.

His latest book, Abortion: The Clash ofAbsolutes (Abortion), will be read by those who are in search of answers to the troubling questions about how the legal system, particularly the Supreme Court, should treat abortion. Like his earlier work, Abortion purports to be a fair-minded, objective appraisal of a controversial subject. Indeed, the title and the chapter headings between two poles of more or less comparable attraction.

Upon closer inspection, however, the book reveals itself as an extended brief in favor of the woman’s right to abortion. In contrast to his carefull developed pro-choice arguments, which are accompanied by ringing moral conviction, Tribe states the pro-life position in much the same way that a court refers to arguments of the losing party that it finds unpersuasive. Indeed, perhaps the better analogy is the way in which a reply brief addresses the arguments made in the respondent’s brief–every effort appears to be made to leave the reader with the feeling that there is only one logical outcome to the debate. . .

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