Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

Issue: "The Sudan crisis," June 10, 2000

Man knows not his time
A fighter for life
Robert P. Casey, former two-term Democrat governor of Pennsylvania (1987-1995), fought many bitter battles concerning abortion and then titled his autobiography Fighting for Life. Last week he lost his own fight for life at age 68. In and out of the hospital over the last year, Gov. Casey succumbed to a severe infection following radiation treatments for prostate cancer, which was diagnosed in 1997. In 1991, he announced that he suffered from a genetic condition that attacks the heart and other vital organs; the disease nearly killed him. But following a grueling heart-and-liver transplant, he beat the disease and finished out his term of office. In his public service, the governor battled the abortion industry. He fought Planned Parenthood lawyers all the way to the Supreme Court in 1992 for the right to restrict abortion. He once brashly introduced himself to a pro-life audience, "You've heard of Planned Parenthood vs. Casey? Well, I'm Casey." But while Casey was, technically, a victory, the high court used the case to strengthen legal protection of the right to abortion. According to the court, state legislatures could pass pro-life laws only if they did not pose "an undue burden" on a woman's right to kill her unborn child. In politics, Gov. Casey warred with his own pro-abortion party. The Democrats who nominated Bill Clinton for president gagged Mr. Casey, refusing to allow the sitting governor even to speak at the party convention in 1992 and again in 1996-even though a pro-abortion Pennsylvania Republican spoke at the '92 convention. Mr. Casey made no secret of his contempt for Mr. Clinton and fellow politicians who were enthusiastic about abortion: "If you can pass lightly over wrongs done to your neighbor, if you can shrug off the suffering of others-especially children-then you are miscast for any position of public responsibility," Mr. Casey wrote in 1992. In 1994, near the end of his gubernatorial term, Mr. Casey entertained thoughts of challenging Mr. Clinton in 1996. He had done crazier things-like defying advisers who suggested he downplay his opposition to abortion in his campaigns for governor. He won in 1986, even after dropping 10 points in a poll when he clearly stated his position during a televised debate. In 1990, his pro-abortion Republican opponent tried to make hay out of Mr. Casey's belief that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape or incest. Advisers pleaded with him to lighten up; Mr. Casey replied, "If I lose, I lose." He won by a million votes. In an interview with WORLD (March 12, 1994) a year after the double transplant, he laughed at the prospect of running against Mr. Clinton: "Who knows? I didn't have any plans to be around this year either, but here I am. I've got a good pump and a good liver, and I'm ready to go." Gov. Casey leaves behind his wife Ellen and eight children, including Pennsylvania Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr., along with a brother. Ups & Downs of the Week
Baseball attendance: Major league baseball attendance this season hit the 20-million mark faster than any time in history, passing the plateau on the day before Memorial Day. It took 727 dates for the 30 teams to go over 20 million, according to the commissioner's office. The previous record was 764 dates, set in 1998. Attendance is up 5.9 percent over 1999. F. Lee Bailey's career: Once the most famous lawyer in America, now F. Lee Bailey faces possible disbarment in Florida over charges that he helped himself to millions of dollars in stock intended for the government and lied about it under oath. The case involves the frozen assets of international drug trafficker and Bailey client Claude DuBoc. Mr. Bailey, who represented Dr. Sam Sheppard and Patty Hearst and was on the "Dream Team" defending O.J. Simpson, denies any wrongdoing. Oregon law sustained
Anonymous no more
Oregon recently became the fifth state-joining Alaska, Kansas, Delaware, and Tennessee-to allow adopted children access to their original birth certificates. Last week, Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor rejected an emergency request from an anonymous group of birth mothers to delay Oregon's adoption records law from going into effect. About 2,230 Oregon adoptees have paid $15 and filed applications with the state Health Division to get their original birth certificates. appeals panel rejects relatives' plea for an asylum hearing
Court: No hearing for Elián
While Elián Gonzalez was taking in the dolphin show at Baltimore's Inner Harbor, federal appeals court judges in Atlanta were refining a long-awaited decision in the 6-year-old boy's appeal to the government for an asylum hearing. The three-judge panel responded June 1, deciding that Elián is not entitled to a procedure that could allow him to remain in the United States. That decision acquiesces to the position taken by the Clinton administration and Attorney General Janet Reno. It was another blow to the Miami relatives who have defended Elián's right to pursue asylum apart from his father's stated wishes. Those relatives lost custody of the boy in an April 22 raid, when federal marshals forced their way into the home of Lazaro Gonzalez and delivered Elián to his father, who arrived in Washington April 6. The appeals court ordered Elián to remain in the United States until the case was decided. Miami relatives immediately announced that they would ask all 12 judges of the 11th Circuit to hear the case. According to the ruling, Elián must stay in the United States for 14 days pending such an appeal. The Miami relatives asked Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who handles emergency matters from the 11th Circuit, "to assure that Elián will remain in the United States" until the high court can hear the case. The request to Justice Kennedy read, "No child, whatever may be his immigration status, deserves fewer judicial rights than hardened criminals." Already six months have passed since Elián's dramatic Thanksgiving Day rescue from an inner tube off the Florida coast. Potentially, a Supreme Court appeal could extend Elián's stay until the high court's fall term. By November 26, Elián will be eligible to apply for permanent residency, or a green card. Roman Catholic and Protestant clergy from Miami's Little Havana district, where Elián has spent most of his time in the United States, met just after the verdict. Presbyterian pastor Manuel Salavaria told WORLD that those clergy believe "a decision against Elián is a decision against many Eliáns all over the world.... Nonetheless, we can be united as a community and respectful of the law." Fires rage in New Mexico
Southwest scorched
Hot, dry, windy weather plagued firefighters last week as a dangerous wildfire blazed its way through New Mexico. Flames leaped hundreds of feet into the air, blackening more than 22,000 acres in northern New Mexico and forcing the evacuation of cabin owners and vacationers. Dave Tubbs, director of El Porvenir Christian Camp, said more than 130 campers had fled. "It looked like there was a bomb going up behind us," Mr. Tubbs said. People from Los Alamos and White Rock were among those evacuated from the camp; they had been evacuated several days earlier because of the Los Alamos fire 45 miles northwest of the camp (see WORLD, May 27). "I feel the fire is following me, and the thought of losing everything before was scary, and now this," said 15 -year-old Grace Hargreaves. Fire-friendly weather has left huge sections of the region vulnerable. Elsewhere in the West, wildfires have scorched parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, and Utah. Some New Mexico officials fear the fires could hurt the tourism industry, which draws about 13 million travelers to the state annually. The No-Comment Zone

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