Jul 1, 2005

Watch The Fireworks But Mind The Thieves Around You

Sandra surprised us by leaving the Supremes before Renquist, but it was a matter of time before we faced the music. We knew what was in store for us on November 3rd, 2004. Renquist, a very conservative justice, may be replaced by another arch-conservative so this wouldn't change the balance on the high court. But, with O'Connor retiring, the balance may shift. The Democrats in the Senate have to stick together and try to get someone "moderate" to replace her. Unfortunately, we are not dealing from a position of power, as the Republicans control all branches of the federal government, so, friends, don't expect anyone even remotely close to our progressive views. That's why I called the last election the Armageddon election. The federal justices get life-time appointments, and their rulings can shape politics, law, and our own social agenda for generations.

Bush has had plenty of time to think about these possibilities. This is going to be a well-planned, orchestrated effort from the right. Watch their talking heads for the next couple weeks. It will reveal their strategy. They've already started by painting O'Connor a "liberal!" In my estimate, the rhetoric will escalate and several names of extremists will float around as potential nominees. Those extremely conservative persons will enable Bush to "play fair" and to nominate a less extreme but nonetheless a very conservative judge to the Supreme Court.

Clinton consulted with the Senate Republicans before appointing Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), then senior Republican on the Senate's Judiciary Committee, appreciated the president's candor and said of Ginsburg, "she's going to make an excellent justice!" The Senate confirmed her by 96-3! Later, Hatch expedited Justice Breyer's appointment too. In his autobiography, Hatch even takes credit for suggesting these two to Clinton! The big Bubba tried to build a consensus and nominate persons with a greater acceptance, not lunatics of any stripe or inept jurists. Don't expect the same from the current president. Bush deals in-your-face politics. We've seen this already. He has renominated previously-defeated extremist judges for federal courts; he has shown that he has no interest in consulting with the Democrats. And, he's using his minions, like Hastert, Delay and Frist, to shove legislation through, operate in secret, pass laws with no congressional review, and evoke the "nuclear option" to destroy the opposition and the Senate's role as a deliberative body.

Despite all the crazy talk about the flaming liberals who want leftist extremists on the federal bench, the fact is that the Democratic presidents have nominated mainstream, able jurists. That's not the case with Republican presidents. Do you remember Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas? Or, the recent appointment of extremists like Pryor, Brown, and Owen? Now, the name of "Mr. Torture is OK" Alberto Gonzales is being mentioned to replace O'Connor or, later, Renquist. Who's bringing in the lunatic fringe? But, unfortunately, the lunatic fringe is not marginal any more. It has influence and power and it is increasingly becoming the sturdy political base for Bush and the far right Republicans. It will remain so until the American voters render a severe verdict next year and move the country back to the center.

I've learned that last week the fundies established a "war room" to push for a religious conservative nominee! Coincidence? I don't think so. At any rate, the far right has been preparing to change the Supreme Court. We have to respond. Be creative, get involved. Here's how you can contact your senators, and here's how you can help the campaign to Save the Court as well as links and information from the People For The American Way.


Anonymous said...

This is it. The battle we knew it was coming. The fight will consume the political scene, and take the pressure from other failures of the Bush presidency. Perfect timing. And don't forget, they can throw another chip in the game when Renquist leaves... which is soon.


Anonymous said...

I've heard Borg, and Tony Perkins and several other conservatives, religious figures have already begun diconstructing O'Connor's legacy as "too liberal"!!!!
You're so right, er, correct... They're trying to move the center further to the right so when Bush appoints someone he/she will SEEM moderate...
I hope the Dems in the Senate are ready for this sneak.


Anonymous said...

Sandra wasn't a liberal by far. Yes, she sided with the pivotal majority on some women's rights issues, but she often tipped the majority to the conservative side.

Alan Gershwin

Andros said...

Well, she was a moderate by America's standards, not by ours (liberals/progressives). But, as it stands now, getting another justice like her is the best case scenario for us.

I've been listening to the cons talking about the evil of the "activist judges"... The cons are conveniently forgetting that if it weren't for those activist judges, Bush wouldn't be president today!
O'Connor was the pivotal justice who joined the conservatives on the high court to stop the vote count in Florida in 2000. Gore was gaining on Bush, and had all the voted been counted, history would have been different.
To show you that it was a strictly political move by the supremes, they said that their ruling was NOT setting precedent, but applied ONLY to Gore vs. Bush!!! (so in a similar but reverse situation, the court can rule the other way!)

Anonymous said...

that's right... i just read that O'Connor had expressed dismay at a Gore win... of course, soon she had the chance to right things up!


Andros said...

Yeah, she did. I've heard the same from several sources. Even if it weren't true, the bottom line is that she voted to stop the vote count.

By the way, I just remembered.... what happened to the states' rights???!!!! Weren't the Repubs who had been arguing for more state rights and limited federal government?

Back to the legal issue, the Supreme Court should not have intervened. The elections is a state issue, as every state decides on the procedures and sets the rules. The Florida Supreme Court was the supreme authority in the case Gore vs. Bush... It ruled in favor of Gore, but Scalia, first, intervened and stopped the count, waisting precious time, until the supremes ruled that there wasn't enough time to finish the count!!!! [of course there WAS plenty of time]

Also, things could have been different if Scalia wasn't the justice of the SC to supersee the southeastern US... If it were, say, Ginsburg, she would have turned down Bush in seeking an emergency order to stop the vote count!

History is full of accidents. Unfortunately, some of them can be fatal.....