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Dean of Boston College Law School Calls Out Coakley's Flier

Plus: More endorsements

2:33 PM, Jan 18, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Where's Madisonianism when you need it, asks Boston College's law school dean?

Forcing a nurse with religious scruples to provide such a pill is a more extreme measure than the one Madison remonstrated against. It is a case of forcing her not to cooperate with evil, but to do evil herself (as she sees it). It’s not like taxing Quakers to support the army; it’s like drafting a Quaker into the infantry and ordering him to shoot the enemy.

Political ads by nature are not sensitive to nuance. Coakley’s ad charges Brown with a lack of “understanding or seriousness” because he “favors letting hospitals deny emergency contraception to rape victims.” But suggesting that we protect the right of conscience does not show a lack of understanding or seriousness. It does not even show a lack of support for abortion - any more than it shows a lack of support for the armed forces to say that we should exempt Quakers. What both show is a decent respect for religious liberty, as admirable and American as the author of the First Amendment.

Former Quincy, Mass. Mayor James Sheets, a lifelong Democrat, has endorsed Brown:

"Despite being a lifelong member of the Democratic Party, I am endorsing Scott Brown for Senate, as I know he will always represent Massachusetts with an independent voice in Washington," Sheets said. "Martha Coakley has repeatedly stated she would cast the critical 60th vote for the current health care proposal that would slash Medicare funding by nearly half-a-trillion dollars and dramatically impact the care so many seniors rely upon in their final years. As our United States Senator, I am confident Scott Brown will only support legislation that will benefit his constituents, and this is why I will be voting for him on Tuesday."

As Red Mass Group notes, Quincy is the seventh-biggest city in Massachusetts, with a population of about 90,000.

I'm not familiar enough with local politics to say how big a deal this is, but signals from local long-time Democrats that voting for Brown is socially acceptable can't hurt.

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