Jan 18, 2006

It's High Noon at the Supreme Court & The Three Amigos are Looking for a Fourth Hired Gun

The Axis of Evil Closer Than You Think

As a liberal I’m happy that the Supreme Court decided (by a 6-3 margin) to uphold Oregon’s right-to-die law. Interestingly enough, there are six justices who are willing to look favorably toward individual rights, and, in extension, state law. It is a personal right to leave this world on one’s own accord, preventing the unnecessary suffering of a prolonged and terminal illness. Yes, the state has an interest to preserve and protect life, but it is the individual who should be in charge of his own self, including his own life.

Of course, there have to be certain safeguards to prevent abuse, but the ultimate decision should remain with the individual. When a person is dead, or near death we generally accept that his wishes should be respected and carried out, that is, about his own affairs. The opponents do not respect this right. We’ve seen it with the Schiavo case in Florida. I won’t rehash that case [hit the link if you like to read my archived post], but the circus played out by the opponents shows that they aren’t interested in the welfare of the patient. They want to promote their own religious point of view—a view that’s not up for revision or discussion. And, it is about a point of view that isn't arrived by reason--hence no discussion allowed--but by revealed "truth."

Chief Justice Roberts’s sided with the minority (along with Thomas and Scalia) that holds the federal government has the right to oppose state law, arbitrarily, in the absence of an applicable law by Congress. Roberts is beginning to reveal his true colors—at least to those who wanted to be color-blind during his confirmation. As I said in a recent post, Alito’s appointment may make some justices on SCOTUS sit up and take notice, and not to allow the country to swing too far to the conservative extreme. Justice Kennedy may become the new swinger up there. I wouldn’t be surprised if the conservatives begin a new campaign to impeach Kennedy! Of course, we can’t rest easy, because I have no doubt that Alito will be the fourth vote on the very conservative side of SCOTUS. What makes these people extreme is that they don’t have the possibility to “evolve” and change their hard-core conservative ideology.

Furthermore, Kennedy is no liberal, and can’t be relied upon to protect the rights of the individual especially when such rights are paired against corporate rights. Let’s not forget that Kennedy voted to give the presidency to Bush in 2000. Unfortunately, the nation compounded this mistake by electing Bushco in 2004, and subsequently allowed Shrub to get two shots at SCOTUS. This is what happens when the Dems fail to win the presidency and lose control of the Senate. Elections have consequences. The federal judiciary has a conservative majority today. Law is important and has a direct effect on the quality of live of the "average" person. Even in a nation of laws [this is up to debate nowadays] where no president & our government aren't above the law, it doesn't mean that bad law is not enacted or it is the consequence of lobbyists with very narrow interests [as in the banking/bankruptcy law which was written by the industry's lobbyists].

We are on borrowed time because if Bush gets another shot at SCOTUS, then there will be a clear conservative majority on the high court that will shape the affairs of this country for several decades. The centrists & liberal of SCOTUS are much older than the three [soon to be four] amigos who shoot from the hip and claim to smite us on behalf of God. Liberals are pro-life! We believe in protecting life and enhancing it with quality, and individual choice! We are humanists and therefore we hold the position in favor of life when it clearly matters, not use theatrics to show that we care when it's too late.

Perhaps we won't see any time soon a court like the one under Chief Justice E. Warren, but we have to explain to all Americans what's at stake here. They have to understand that the role of the government is not just to make war and safegurad our borders, but also to improve the quality of our lives. I'm taling about establishing a social and legal framework where the individual has a reasonable opportunity and the means to reach his potential. The way we organize our society should reflect this, but unless most of us realize that in order to be in charge of our own affairs--collectively and individually--we have to be responsible too. Take the time, invest some effort, cultivate an interest in the affairs or our nation, otherwise the banditos will roam unchecked. Now let's start by making sure El Presidente understands who's the boss here.