Friday, April 15, 2005

Stackin' The Judicial Deck

Judges beware! The Republican revenge posse is juiced up and angrier than ever. And they're comin' to get ya. It's a two-man tag team in Washington leading the charge. On one front, House Leader Tom "The Devil" Delay is attacking the existing judiciary and on the other front Senate Majority Leader Bill "The Video Diagnoser" Frist is paving the way for the new crop of Christian conservative judge-puppets who'll sail through the nomination process once the age-old filibuster disappears faster than Karl Rove's integrity. You see, these feisty Republicans--the same group of hard-line Federalists who normally champion states' rights and an independent judiciary--just don't like what the judges are deciding these days. Be it abortion, gay marriage, prayer in school, religious objects in public places and government buildings, or the Schiavo case, these renegade judges somehow did not get the memo titled "How the Republican Jesus Freaks Want You to Vote." So instead of abiding by the strict dogma that fuels the religious right, these judges have had the audacity to be independent and impartial, framing their decisions against the U.S. Constitution instead. The nerve! So now we have Delay making not-so-thinly-veiled threats against the judges in the Schiavo case, calling for punishment, impeachment and other as-yet-unnamed harsh treatment alluded to in his reprehensible comments these past few weeks. And we have Frist, who in the coming weeks is sure to force a battle on the Senate floor over the filibuster issue, seeking unprecedented rules changes that would all but result in the Senate being a mere rubber-stamp for President Bush's radical conservative judicial appointments. The showdown between The Frist Gang and the Democrats could embroil the Senate in a brutal, protracted partisan war that virtually brings the legislature to a grinding halt. Let's hope our Republican friends heed the advice of the usually pragmatic Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who said "I will vote against the nuclear option . . . because we won't always be in the majority." Now there's a smart politician. Andy

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What we are observing is the latest in a string of attacks on the judiciary over the course of the last 20-30 years.

To see a well- written article on this, I refer you to the L.A. Times op-ed section for a submission entitled, "Latest Assault on Judges Threatens Rule of Law" by Cass R. Sunstein who teaches law at the University of Chicago.

Those who have been following the attrition of power in this, our third branch of government have been waiting for this shoe to fall.

The first 2 attacks were categorized under theories called "judicial restraint" and "strict constructionism". The point was that the courts were interpreting laws in a manner which did not sit well with a vocal minority who didn't like concepts that went by the name of, among others, "workplace rights", "environmental rights", and the focus on "individual rights" in general.

We have seen the inroads made by that minority in the judicial sphere due to the ability of President's to appoint judges. Aside from Clinton, who bent over backwards for center- right candidates, we've had a string of rather conservative judges appointed.

A point to be made here, the Supreme Court is not the only prize. A far larger prize is the Federal bench in general. They serve for life, and have huge control over what even gets heard in a courtroom, much less works its way to the Supreme Court.

This latest attack places aside all pretense as it has to be obvious to any sane person that there will be a backlash as the economy collapses and it dawns on people that the party was fun but the middle-class and the poor will have to clean up the mess (think Alternative Minimum Tax for one way of cleaning up a little).

Ultimately, even if the Legislature and the Presidency were to change hands, the Judiciary, if designed as the plans call for now, will serve as an insurance policy for those in power today for many decades to come.

I urge you to read the article. As Mr. Sunstein points out, this is an attempt to radically change the very foundation that this nation stands upon and for: the fundamental belief that we are a nation of laws.