Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Bill (1971-1974)

1. What does this past Kansas debater look like now?

2. What does this ex-debater now do for a living?

Bill is a vice president (and spokesman) for Bartlett and Co., which is an agribusiness firm.

3. Has this former debater been "in the news"?

Yes. This is from the Kansas City Business Journal, August 10, 2001:
"We're a strong grain company," said Bill Webster, vice president of Bartlett. "But we're very independent. And very private."

"It's a long-standing, very financially strong agribusiness," said Bill Webster, Bartlett's vice president.

"We have a long and proud tradition here," he said. "We have a strong balance sheet, a strong financial position. We're a good company."
Oh, and every now and then, the newspapers mention his former political career. He was once the Attorney General of Missouri and a gubernatorial candidate (he lost to Mel Carnahan in 1992).

4. What else do we know?

Bill, with former Attorney General John Ashcroft, argued for Missouri in the famous Supreme Court abortion case Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989).
The Court, sharply divided along ideological lines, voted 5–4 to uphold the Missouri law. The Court ruled that Missouri was within constitutional bounds in passing legislation to withhold public funding for abortions and in prohibiting pre-abortion counseling by public employees. Three of the five-member majority sought to take the decision one step further by striking down Roe's blanket protection of abortions in the first trimester, but the other two justices refused to go that far. The second-trimester testing requirement was upheld, the majority having accepted the arguments for a "compelling State interest" in the second trimester.

Webster narrowed the constitutional protection of Roe v. Wade. The decision indicated that some degree of State regulation (and criminalization) of abortion was consistent with the Rehnquist Court's view of privacy rights.
Webster was admired by former President George H.W. Bush.

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