Wednesday, July 20, 2005

SCOTUS Nominee Thoughts

Bush's nomination of Roberts is surely part of a broader agenda: Get rid of the women on the Supreme Court, overturn Roe, overturn Brown v. Board of Education, and finally, overturn Marbury v. Madison. The conservatives will not be happy until they have a Supreme Court with the courage to rule itself out of existence.

Nowhere in the Constitution, as I recall from the time I glanced at it in the Rotunda of the National Archives, does it say that the Supreme Court should be the final arbiter of the aforesaid Constitution. That's something John Marshall invented, to vex Jefferson. The Supreme Court has been on the road to extreme activism since that gloomy day in 1803. The Roberts Court will let the president decide the important Constitutional questions, such as how many terms he should serve (two being laughably too few), and who should be his successor. Bush clearly cut a deal with Roberts: "I'll give you a lifetime appointment if you give me one too."

All true. This is why people should read >Joel Achenbach more. (I first started him with his book Why Things Are in high school.)

Anyway, gotta say this would endear me to Bush’s judicial philosophy if true. As a populist friend of mine says “We don’t need a Supreme Court. Just a Sorta High Up Court.”

I continue to despair about the abortion discussion. It is true that Bush was elected with the support of people who want a pro-life justice. This would seem a democratic mandate at the very least. It is also true that pro-Roe is a majority position in the country, and a lot of people were pro-choice but voted for Bush because they thought it wouldn’t really matter. Even some liberals I know are starting to feel “oh, just overturn it already so we can have a vote on the law and really hash things out.”

It will be very interesting to see if this battle causes NARAL to have to un-endorse Chaffee, and how it affects “moderate Republican pro-choicers” in general.

Addendum: There seems to be a lot of surprise in Bush's nomination of Roberts, that he's more moderate and likeable than people expect. Bush's judicial nominations are often pretty reasonable, from Texas and DC. Look at his Atty Gen. The crazies who have gotten lots of news (Owens, etc.) were the 10 most crazy and most objectionable of the 216 federal judges that Bush had nominated. I doubt Bush even gave them a second thought they were so low down. Of course, the GOP's willingness to go to the mattresses even for the 5% most crazy, is part of what made Bush seem extremist in this regard.

I do believe he will vote to overturn Roe, if only because of the hidden information problem. Bush could pick anyone. I'm sure there are some judges out there who would vote to overturn Roe. And a judge who would tell him this. And wouldn't tell the public. Why wouldn't this guy overturn Roe, is really the question. Although, that doesn't mean there will be an anti-Roe majority on the court.

I think the advisable Democratic spin is "this guy is well-qualified, and deserving of a competent hearing. The only reason Bush nominated a sane guy who would get plaudits was... to get Rove off the front page. Let's talk about Rove some more."


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