Today's NYT magazine has an article by Jeffrey Rosen on the questions legislators should be asking John Roberts. Rather than limit the scope of their digging to the nominee's reading of Roe v. Wade, Rosen suggests that the panel ask--you guessed it--bioethics questions:
What does he think about the use of functional MRI in criminal investigation, and what might be the implications of such "brain fingerprinting" for the right to privacy?
Where does he come down on genetic screening and procreative liberty? Should social sex selection be banned outright, or is "family balancing" acceptable? If parents have the right to use prenatal screening to select against fetuses with Down syndrome, why would they not have the right to use the same technology to select for higher intelligence?
As our growing understanding of genetics collides with our already cloudy concepts of race, what will be the implications for affirmative action and nondiscrimination policies?
What about access to, and payment for, the genetic therapies that are likely to emerge from the laboratories at precisely the time the demand will increase--as the Boomer generation enters its twilight years? And how about the same question, only with narcotics and marijuana for relief of chronic pain, say, for severe arthritis?
And how about intellectual property rights and living things? Ought investigators and industry be granted patents on DNA and genetically engineered organisms?