Sunday, June 3, 2007

Monopoly Definition Discourse 2: New & Revised

Many of you remember my exposition on the definition of a "monopoly." Having gone through a more serious reflection on the topic, I am posting a new & revised version of the original article. Enjoy!

The word “monopoly” seems to be thrown around more often these days than the hand grenades of Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. It’s enough to walk into a city library to hear talk of the rising Google monopoly, of the abuses of the Wal-Mart workers, and of market takeover by Verizon, T-Mobile, and Home Depot. In the midst of the debate, however, one very quickly looses a sense of direction and balance, especially when it comes to such far-reaching economic subjects as monopoly and market control.

This article is intended to clear up any confusion as to what truly constitutes a “monopoly.” When I first introduced the question to a fellow scholarly enthusiast, , the responses ranged from "a business that can do anything it wants to" to “a business that's the best in whatevever it is that they do."

Public perceptions of monopoly power aside, let us examine the varying notions of the term “monopoly,” in both economic and popular (public) perspectives.

Modern as well as classic economists will not disagree that “true” monopolies (under strict economic interpreation) are harmful to the consumers, the economy, and the welfare of the state as a whole. If we opt to use a definition introduced by Mike Moffatt and define “monopoly” as an economic context in which “a certain firm is the only one that can produce a certain good,” naturally, this definition will produce a certain sense of aversion and animosity. After all, if only one firm is able to produce a given product, wouldn’t this mean that it can charge arbitrary prices and therefore be of detriment to the consumers and the public at large?

Other existing definitions have little degree of variance from Moffatt’s definition. The FreeAdvice Business Law Dictionary, for example, defines “monopoly power” as “the ability of a business to control a price within its relevant product market or its geographic market.” With this pretext in mind, and for the purposes of extended objectivity, let us then define monopoly as a single seller in a given field.

Even with a seemingly-“evil” definition in place, let us consider that the definition does not take into account several important variables:

(1) How the monopoly came into existence;

(2) The extent of powers and advantages that it has over its competitors; and

(3) The venue for obtaining the advantages mentioned in point #2.

At first glance, number two seems to be redundant. After all, how we can question the “extent of powers and advantages” that a firm may have over its competitors if there is only one company that can sell a given product? Wouldn’t the firm have absolute control in the marketplace and therefore exclude all of its competitors? In a few cases, this is true, though if we’re to talk about monopolies in a pure laissez-faire society (a fancy term for an economic state where there is little government intervention in the economy), we see that all three questions must be answered to determine whether (1) a firm with monopoly power can even be formed and (2) if it can, are its apparently-inherent desires to hurt the consumers limited by some other entity than the government?

In order to answer the questions before us then, we need to shift into a discussion of monopoly power in the context of a social and public perspective.

Many would say that Rockefeller's Standard Oil company was a monopoly. It did, after all, refine 90% of America's oil by 1899. Now, by a strict economic interpretation, Rockefeller did not actually have monopoly power, since he only controled 90% percent of the refining process, implying that he was not the sole seller in a given field, just the most powerful one. As argued by Dominick T. Armentano, however, modern economists have come to accept at least 70% control of a given market as constituting monopoly power. Under this adjusted economic definition then, Rockefeller did have a monoply (90% is more than 70%). To continue with our list, Microsoft Corporation's operating system (Windows) is said to run on 95% of the modern computer systems--as with Rockefeller, Microsoft is considered a monopoly in the modern economic and largely public context. At this point then, it seems that a business that controls at least 70% of the given market (computers, cereals, cars, etc.) can be termed as having a “monopoly power.”

Does this mean then, that the strict economic definition of a “monopoly” is obselete? Absolutely not. In fact, in a small town of 3000 people, the single pharmacist can be classified as holding a monopoly under both of our current definitions (being a single seller, he controls 100% of the pharmacy market, which is greater than 70%). In perhaps a more practical case, consider the United States Postal System, which has exclusive rights to sell first and third class mail without any threat of private competition. In this case, exclusive rights implying that it is given the power to hold a monopoly by the government (in an alleged effort to provide a necessary and valuable service to the public). Though the public would seldom call the USPS a monopoly, it does fit the definition of one under both of the definitions that we have so far introduced. To further corroborate our discussion, consider Amtrak, the federally-owned railroad company that has never made a profit in its 32 year old history. As with the USPS, it is an official monopoly decreed by the United States Federal Government.

Just to recapitulate: We’ve introduced two definitions of a monopoly:

(1) A business that controls at least 70% of its relevant market and

(2) A single seller in its market field

We’ve also concluded that by popular notions, many people often use the first definition when defining a monopoly (though, in many cases, this classificaiton process can be as rudimentary as deciding that a company is a monopoly because it has the most amount of advertisements and it seems as if everyone always goes to shop there.)

At this point in time then, let us shift into an objective evaluation of determining whether the "monopoly" is "evil," or, as Nathaniel Branden, author of Question of Monopolies, put it, whether it has "exclusive control of a given field of production which is closed to and exempt from competition, so that those controlling the field are able to set arbitrary production policies and charge arbitrary pries, independent of the market, immune from the law of supply and demand." Theodore Roosevelt took a similar approach when he distinguished between "good trusts", or, the ones that helped the people, and "bad" trusts, the one that exploited the public (The Northern Securities Company was one of such trusts. It controlled Northern Pacific Railway, Great Northern Railway, Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad and was subsequently dissolved by a government decree).

Without getting into the economic jargon, let us look to Mr. Lawrence W. Reed, a scholar at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. According to Reed, "When governments, by one method and to one degree or another, limit competition by means described above, the result is a coercive monopoly for producers who benefit from the limitation of competition." In contrast, the "efficiency" monopoly is one that gets its "high market share not because of any government grant of exclusive privilege, subsidy, special tax treatment, or the like, but because it simply does the best job."
What this means, according to laissez faire scholars like Lawrence Reed, Nathaniel Branden, and Dominic Armentano, a “coercive” or the “evil” monopoly is one that has been authorized to exist as a monopoly by the government OR one that exists because of some sort of government intervention in the market (setting tariffs, limiting mergers, establishing price controls, and other restrictive measures). In contrast, the “good” monopolies are ones that emerged as the business leaders in their relevant markets because of their ingenuity and ability to simply “be the best.” Some would say that under the strict economic interpretation, pure monopolies can’t arise (even Rockefeller wasn’t a monopolist under the definition.) In rebutting the 70% definition, many (including Armentano and a Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman) argue that even if a firm is able to reach this position, it isn’t inherently a bad thing (it benefits the consumers, in fact) and it certainly does not have the power to abuse the customers. We’ll examine the validity of these arguments later on.

Using our coercive v. efficiency standard, we can thus conclude that USPS is a coercive monopoly--it has exclusive rights to sell and deliver 1st and 3rd class mail not because of its ability to do so at the lowest price, but because the United States government has granted exclusive privileges to the corporation. Though I will introduce a more coherent analysis of the USPS later on in the book, because of the government benefits, USPS lacks accountability, is victim to arbitrary price shifts, and is a burden on the U.S. revenue. An efficient monopoly, in contrast, is one that has reached its dominant position on the market through its efficiency and ability to lower the means of production. Walmart is one such monopoly, it has achieved its market position because of its ability to provide the lowest prices, driving the competitors out of business.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

USPS: New animosity?

In the milieu of the publishing of my last article, focusing on the inadequacies and failures of the United States Postal System (i.e. the post office), I just finished reading Wendy McElroy's excellent account of the USPS as a system of constitutional injustice and aversion. Written for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), McElroy pulls most of her information from Dorothy Fowler's Unmailable: Congress and the Post Office, one of the many literary discourses available that seek to address the constitutional, economic, and philosophical faults of a state-based monopoly in the postal system. For convenience purposes, I am providing a few of the article highlights:

The idea of a state-based monopoly in the postal violates constitutional rights in at at least three ways:

  1. Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution authorized Congress to "establish post offices and post roads," but it didn't bar others from doing so as well. The power to create was not a power to prohibit.
  2. Because the freedom of press includes and requires the right to privately distribute material to whoever wishes to read it, a government postal system can ban periodicals from using "virtually the only legal channels of distribution."
  3. The USPS Monopoly can be used for individual, political vendettas of those in power.
McElroy continues to provide tangible examples, corroborating each of the aforementioned constitutional arguments. In the case of presenting an affront to the freedom of press, we we look to the late 1780s, prior to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. To quote, "The Federalists dominated in the cities through which mail flowed. As a result, Anti-Federalists' communications seemed to disappear or be strangely delayed. The Federalist Postmaster General Ebenezer Hazard came under particular attack for allegedly stopping the flow of Anti-Federalist information."

It does not, however, stop there. In 1872, the USPS decided to grant second-class postal rates (cheaper than the first-class), to newspapers that had satisfied an array of requirements, most notably that the information be "of public character or be devoted to literature, the sciences, or some special industry." Because of this requirement, Moses Harman, editor and publisher of Lucifer the Light Bearer, was denied meeting the lower-rates because his publication included a letter that identified forced sex within a marriage as rape.

Following the 1960s era, the Post Office Department began to keep a list of everyone who received "questionable" mail, most predominantly one that seeks to disseminate radical information (i.e. communist propaganda). Other examples include the banning of the mailing of "unmailable" material as un-American political doctrines during World War I and "subversive propaganda" during World War II.

The editorial additionally puts significant focus on economic abuses. In the September of 2000, for example, the corporation "launched a $12 million campaign to advertise a new Internet service, eBillPay, through which customers could pay their bills electronically." Ironically, because of the legal monopoly that it holds, in conjunction with the fact that it is a state-funded (i.e. paid by regular citizens) monopoly; the owners of firms that would compete with eBillPay, including Paytrust and Billpay, are now required to pay taxes to support their competition. Our federal government truly has a questionable view of the idea of "public benefit," which the system is supposed to maximize.

In another instance of blatant corporate injustice, the postal department decreed that those wishing to send mail to private mail boxes (often used by small businesses and those wishing to preserve their privacy) must indicate that the box is a Private Mail Box (PMB) on the line preceding the box number itself, allegedly as to reduce mail scams, though as argued by Jere Glover, chief counsel of the Office of Advocacy of the small Business Administration, "There is no indication that using a '#' or 'PMB' in an address will in any way deter fraud." What are the repercussions of this decision?

  1. The government has now a comprehensive list of the people (including their addresses, given that the government ordered in a different decree that private mail box providers have to keep track of this information) who own the private mail boxes, hampering people's trust in the security that the company provides.
  2. As McElroy explains, "many small businesses are discourage from using private mailboxes with a designation--PMB--that stigmatized them as a 'second class' ventures. Thus another competitor of the USPS is placed at a disadvantage in the marketplace."
It truly does fascinate me that our system of economic regulation, based on the archaic and ideal neoclassical theory of perfect competition, would allow this kind of injustice to occur. Again, only one solution presents itself: abolish and privatize the postal system.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Great Debate 2007 Cases

Some time ago, I made a reference to competing in the Great Debate, sponsored by the Clearwater Bar Association. More specifically, I promised that I'd public my cases subsequent to the debate taking place. Well, for all it is worth, Derrick and I did not win. We received high marks, though a 3-judge jury decided in a 2-1 ruling that a team from Lakewood won. It is interesting to note, however, that the jury generally agreed that we had a more through understanding of the topic. On the other hand, according to one of the lawyers in the jury, we "read too much from the paper." I do have to question why you'd look at something as technical as this rather than weighing the competency of one's argument (our presentation style as a whole was commendable), but, what can you do...we shall attempt next year. In the meantime, these the cases that I wrote (we had up to 4 minutes for each):

For those of you who don't remember, the resolution was as follows:

RESOLVED: The Florida Department of Education's mandate that school administrators should actively search information posted by students on MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites on the Internet for use as evidence in students' disciplinary proceedings is an impermissible invasion of privacy.

The following is my affirmative case, where I argued that the search is, in fact, an impermissible invasion of privacy:

“If schools spend as much time teaching as they spend telling parents how to parent, maybe we’d have smarter kids coming out.” It is because of our accord with the words of Kristin Larson, a concerned parent whose daughter was unrightfully removed from the school cheerleading team after posting derogatory statement about other cheerleaders on her blog that we stand in support of today’s resolution. We’ll begin our argument by addressing a crucial inadequacy of the resolution itself, demonstrating its impact on the course of debate to follow.

Let us begin with a discussion of the lack of restraint on the scope of information being sought by the school administrators. Though cases as Beussink v. Woodland School District have suggested that school authorities have the power to punish students for speech that materially and substantially disrupts school, even if the speech occurred on student’s private Internet account, several civil advocates have expressed concern for the escalating trend of schools seeking to punish students for offensive speech that criticizes the school administrators. According to Neal McCluskey, a policy analyst at the center for Educational Freedom, there is general concern that schools will extend their power to limit other types of off-campus speech. With several other examples available for corroboration, we point your attention to a Pittsburg high school, where a student was kicked off the volleyball team for an Internet message that criticized an art teacher.

Thus, because of (1) the lack of restraint of the scope of evidence being sought in the resolution itself and (2) the rising threat of the schools’ increasingly active involvement in students’ off-campus activity, we move onto our next point: the Tinker analysis.

As articulated by the Student Press Law Center in 2004, the Tinker v. Des Moines case is important to off-campus Internet speech for several reasons. First, Tinker's implied view of education was that schools should encourage the free exchange of ideas among students. Second, the Court imposed a significant burden on school officials to justify silencing student speech, despite officials' interest in maintaining full control and discipline over students while at school. Finally, Tinker's "schoolhouse gate" language largely has been interpreted to imply that administrative control of student speech does not begin until the student arrives at the school and ends as the student leaves. As the court argued, [T]he First Amendment forbids public school administrators and teachers from regulating the material to which a child is exposed after he leaves school each afternoon. As further articulated, “In our system, students may not be regarded as closed-circuit recipients of only that which the State chooses to communicate.” Through the recognition of a student as a rational human being, it becomes indisputable that the society must continue to provide venues that allow students to express and develop creativity, rational objectivity, and freedom of thought, unrestricted by the collectivist tendencies of the U.S. public school system. The United States judicial system has upheld this view in milieu of the settling of 7 judicial disputes, 6 of which have ruled in favor of the student. In the case of Beussink v. Woodland School District, federal district court in Missouri ruled that the school officials violated Buessink’s First Amendment rights by suspending him for a website criticizing the school, teachers and administrators. In Emmett v. Kent School District, the court ruled that the school had crossed its constitutional boundaries by suspending the 18-year-old Nick Emmett for creating an Unofficial Kentlake High Home Page. In analyzing the results of these judicial conflicts, it becomes clear that in purporting to be acting in the interest of in loco parentis, school officials are clearly overstepping their constitutional boundaries when failing to recognize students as free, private citizens when outside the school gates. Because of these reasons we affirm.

Next is the negative case (it is not an impermissible violation):

The undoubted freedom to advocate unpopular and controversial views in schools and classrooms must be balanced against the society’s countervailing interest in teaching students the boundaries of socially appropriate behavior. Even the most heated political discourse in a democratic society requires consideration for the personal sensibilities of the other participants and audiences. It is because of our accord with the words of the U.S. Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger that we stand in negation of today’s resolution. In presenting an array of several contentions corroborating our claim, we’ll begin with a resolution analysis.

Because the resolution encompasses a lack of restraint on the scope of information being sought, if affirmed, it can be well argued that the use of any information, whether offensive or one that may disrupt the school learning environment, constitutes an impermissible invasion of privacy. As our case will demonstrate, however, such an interpretation would entail several negative implications on the school environment and would undermine the fundamental principles of social interaction.

According to the First Amendment Center, “from a legal perspective, schools can restrict student speech in the name of safety if (1) they can reasonably forecast substantial disruption under the Tinker v. Des Moines standard, or (2) the student expression is a true threat. Because the basis of any free society is the pursuit of individual will, as long as others’ rights are not impeded upon, it is crucial that we look to the legal precedent exemplifying such a philosophical outlook. In the case of Lavine v. Blaine School District, the court ruled that the schools did not violate Lavine’s First Amendment rights when they temporarily expelled him on emergency basis for writing a poem that depicted violence from a first-person perspective, as the schools could have reasonably forecasted a “potential for substantial disruption”. As the court further noted, “Tinker does not require school officials to wait until disruption occurs before they may act.”

Let us look to the case of Beussink v. Woodland School District, in which the court ruled that school authorities have the power to punish students for speech that materially and substantially disrupts school, even if the speech occurred on student’s private Internet account. Because the failure to respond to these threats with prompt expediency may inevitably result in the undermining of the safe educational atmosphere within a school environment, encroaching upon the rights of others, it is clear that we must negate.

In the second area of analysis, as articulated by the Supreme Court, [T]he First Amendment forbids public school administrators and teachers from regulating the material to which a child is exposed after he leaves school each afternoon. The statement, having been made in 1979, requires modern day reconsideration. Because schools generally contain professionally-trained IT staff and law enforcement agencies specializing in teenage interaction, it can be argued that schools have the capacity needed to effectively dictate child’s Internet activity, especially if that activity conflicts with the school’s purpose of preserving a safe and suitable learning environment for all pupils alike. As contended by Jim White, director of information services at the Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation, “so we want the students to learn they have First Amendment rights, but there’s a responsibility that comes with that speech.” Because schools provide the venues necessary for creating an environment where students can develop a sense of personal responsibility, we can conclude that schools are the optimal players in regulating child’s off-campus Internet habits.

Having established the requirement of schools to adhere to their ascribed mission of preserving a safe learning environment, in conjunction with a thorough analysis of the school’s ability to act as an appropriate regulator of students’ off-campus Internet activity, we stand in negation.

Any feedback is fine. As mentioned, my posting frequency will be scarce throughout the next few weeks, given that I have to prepare for the NCFL Houston debate, CONA (Conference on National Affairs in North Carolina), and, of course, continue research pertaining to monopolies.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Recent lack of activity

For those of you who are somewhat regular readers, you may have noticed a significant decline in the frequency of my posts. Allow me to explain: thought my efforts of studying monopolies, I've encountered a point in which I am seeking to understand why it is a general perception among economists that monopolies are harmful to the consumer and the market in general, using mathematical, not theoretical, reasoning.

More specifically, I've spent over 20 hours researching the idea of the perfect market model, exploring its intricacies and questioning every assumption (why does the marginal revenue have to equal the marginal cost, why is the demand line flat in contrast to being a downward slope, why is the marginal cost curve also the supply curve, why would a firm want to enter if it only makes zero economic profit in the long term, how is it possible to make profit in the short term). Contrary to popular belief, my knowledge of actual economic functioning was severely limited, and, as such, it has taken me a great while (and a great deal of aid from the folks over at Yahoo! Answers) for me to begin to understand the neoclassical Austrian economic theory that seems to be permeating our society today.

That being said, I am hoping to be able to be finished sometime this week, so expect an abundant post focusing on the topic.

On a personal note to Lauren: I'll lend you the book as soon as I can; I really need it right now!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Antitrust: The Case for Repeal

I just received the long-awaited Antitrust: The Case for Repeal today in the mail. It's only about 112 pages long, so I'll be providing a detailed analysis of the works as soon as I am done. The book will also serve as to facilitate some of our discussions on here pertaining to capitalism, modern economic principles, and, of course, the theory/theories of antitrust and its role in the consumer, business, and industrial society.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

St. Pete Times Editorial Response: Mexico City Abortion

After reading an article published by the St. Petersburg Times, expounding on the recent vote in Mexico City (a predominantly Roman Catholic region, as with the rest of Latin America) to legalize abortion in the first 12 weeks, this is the (brief) response that I sent to the editorial board:

A step in the right direction

Mexico City's decision to legalize abortion should be commended by the United States as well as the international community. Coming only a few days after the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the ultimate test of individual freedom and autonomy will be when the case reaches the Supreme Court in Mexico. Let us hope that the Mexican government will embrace the principles of privacy, individual will, and protection against the collectivist tendencies that permeate through the mostly Catholic region.

I'll try to provide a more detailed analysis of the history of abortion constitutionality, both in United States and Latin America, as soon as I can.


I received the following response in the comments section:

"That is also happening in many European countries that are also traditionally very conservative on such issues, it's a world wide trend, although in Europe it's more due to secularization than anything else."

Actually, from what it seems, in contrast to the major European nations, Mexico is fairly far behind in legalizing abortion, even to the most minimal extent.

In England, abortion has been available up to 24 weeks since 1967; in Denmark, it has been legal until the 12th week ever since 1973; in Italy, abortion though the 12th week has been legal since 1978 (was backed by a popular referendum in 1981); in Spain, though the regulations are substantially stringent, it has been legal to get abortion until the 12th week since 1985.

Either way look at this however, Mexico City should still be applauded for taking a step in the right (err, or is it left) direction.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Abortion Comment Answered

In response to my post focusing on the latest move of the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act as constitutional, I received the following response from an anonymous commenter:

"just to clarify, from what I understand about this article, you're simply saying that the Supreme Court's desicion against abortion was made in order to keep them out of hot water by trying not to upset the majority of the U.S. population and was not influenced by the constitutionality... However, what happens when nothing about a topic is included in the constitution; how would they decide the outcome? right now, we are facing a new millineum, and it's accompanied by a new culture and overall new views on many different things, including the never ending arguement over what exactly is moral... The Supreme Court's interpretation of a subject like abortion obviously must change according to the time era, seeing as something that may seem unconstitutional a couple decades ago may seem constitutional now, and vica versa (like slavery)... And seeing as for the second time in a row the Supreme Court upheld its desicion regarding the banning of partial birth abortions (the first time being with different justices), it is obvious that they do not find it to be moral, but overall and most importantly, they do not find it to be constitutional..."

I'll go though this comment, point by point, offering my opinion and analysis of the issues that were raised and that need to be addressed.

you're simply saying that the Supreme Court's desicion against abortion was made in order to keep them out of hot water by trying not to upset the majority of the U.S. population and was not influenced by the constitutionality"

Not at all; the premise of my argument lies in the principal that the role of the United States Supreme Court is not to interpret collective morality nor to uphold the will of the majority. The Framers, predominantly Madison and Jefferson, were very clear about the role of the judiciary in our constitutional republic. I was directly responding to Steve Kennedy, who contended that the ruling is justified as it has a support of the popular majority of this country.

"what happens when nothing about a topic is included in the constitution; how would they decide the outcome?"

The correct answer to this question would require several pages of discourse, so, let's focus on the issue of abortion, as that is our topic of discussion. Though the Framers certainly did not make any Constitutional provisions pertaining to abortion, the debate over abortion lies within the question of whether its prohibition would violate the citizens' right to privacy through the Due Process clause, enumerated in the 14th amendment, which is in the Constitution.

"right now, we are facing a new millineum, and it's accompanied by a new culture and overall new views on many different things, including the never ending arguement over what exactly is moral... The Supreme Court's interpretation of a subject like abortion obviously must change according to the time era..."

As the U.S. Supreme Court Justice George Southerland proclaimed, "A provision of the Constitution...does not mean one thing at one time and an entirely different thing at another time." Though constitutional perception by justices in cases as Plessy v. Ferguson surely reflected the views of the contemporary era, there is such a thing as an "incompetent judge." Am I stating that the current judiciary is incapable of carrying out their impartial duty of providing a check against the encroachment of the majority and the legislative/executive power? Perhaps so. By "incompetent," however, I mean one that does not utilize the process of textualism in interpreting constitutional law. In the words of Clint Bolick, "textualists start with the plain meaning of the text, but if it is ambiguous, they will consult the structure, purpose, and history of the provision." It seems to me that several of the current justices are endeavoring in what some call legal realism, essentially dictating laws from the bench. After all, how can it be justified to argue, as the majority of the court did, that
"The Act’s failure to allow the banned procedure’s use where ” ‘necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for preservation of the [mother’s] health,’ ” Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New Eng., 546 U. S. 320, 327-328, does not have the effect of imposing an unconstitutional burden on the abortion right."?

"And seeing as for the second time in a row the Supreme Court upheld its desicion regarding the banning of partial birth abortions (the first time being with different justices), it is obvious that they do not find it to be moral, but overall and most importantly, they do not find it to be constitutional..."

I am a little bit curious as to which cases you're referring to. The only other case that specifically dealt with partial abortions and that included a different lineup of judges was in April of 2000 ( Stenberg vs. Carhart), when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Nebraskan law that prohibited the procedure.

Hopefully this will serve as a medium for facilitating further debate. Thanks for your input!