Monday, June 27, 2005

Moderates/liberals, man your battlestations!

I just got home, so I haven't had time to look around online and see if the right-wing nuts are foaming at their collective mouths yet, but I'd bet they are. Today, the Supreme Court upheld the most basic separation of church and state. They wimped out a little, but at least they said that blatant attempts to inject Christianity into the courts were improper.

With that, I can guarantee outrage from the nitwits who think this is a "Christian country" and have no respect for the most basic protections in our Constitution.

Writing for the majority, Justice Souter cited precedent after precedent, explaining that the clear efforts of two Kentucky counties to endorse the King James version of the Ten Commandments (by posting them in courthouses!) was an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Well, I should think so.

Sadly, this was a 5-4 decision. Even sadder than the split was the unprofessional, disrespectful tone of the dissent written by "Justice" Scalia. He was personal and sarcastic.

He even had the nerve to invoke the 9/11 terrorist attacks at the outset of the dissenting opinion. "On September 11, 2001, I was attending in Rome, Italy[,] an international conference of judges and lawyers..."

He then goes on to say how a foreign colleague thought it was great that our President could invoke God in what he said. Yes, that's a good basis for a Supreme Court opinion. Pinhead.

And his tone? Thoroughly disrespectful of the Justices voting in the majority. "[T]he Court acknowledges that the 'Establishment Clause Doctrine' . . . 'lacks the comfort of categorical absolutes. What the Court means by this lovely euphemism . . ."

This lovely euphemism? This and other phrases drip sarcasm from this opinion. If this is the behavior of a right-wing Supreme Court Justice, what can we expect from right-wing individuals in less lofty positions?

Oh, and if you happen to be a member of a non-monotheistic religion (or, if you'll pardon the phrase, God forbid, an atheist), don't bother looking to this Court for respect. Responding to Justice Souter's reference to the "more than 7 million Americans who adhere to religions that are not monotheistic," and the conflict created by favoring the religion of the majority over these other minority religions, Scalia writes, "Our national tradition has resolved that conflict in favor of the majority."

Could he be any more oblivious to the history of our country and the need to protect against religious intolerance? How about tyranny of the majority?

Okay, so sanity more-or-less prevailed today, but just barely. Worse, we may be one new Justice away from things turning completely around. With his first appointment, President Bush may be able to turn this Supreme Court completely around. Things are that close.

In today's New York Times, there's a lengthy article on how conservatives want to be sure that this President doesn't nominate the kind of not-conservative-enough conservatives that Ronald Reagan did, like Justice Kennedy (who, by the way, voted with the dissent today). No, they want real hard-core conservatives only.

So brace yourselves, people, and be ready for a fight. Not even e-mails and online petitions will do. We need to be ready to write real letters to Senators and Congressmen/women (you know, on paper!), make phone calls, protest and give large sums of money to organizations that will help fight right-wing nominees getting on the Court.

The battle is coming, and our most fundamental rights are on the line.


SAMerican Revolution said...

The anticipation of a Supreme Court fight makes me nauseous. Rehnquist, ok, the right can't nominate anybody more conservative than him. But it's the thought of who Bush would nominate as Chief that gets me worried. And if O'Connor goes, or another "swing" justice, then we're fucked.

Andy said...

My question -- and for those who don't know me, this is coming from a Christian -- is WHEN are we getting Bibles out of courtrooms?

Mr. H.K. said...

I find over and over that I am inherently opposite to every view this Supreme Court puts forth. It makes me wanna scream!

Mr. H.K.
Postcards from Hell's Kitchen
And I Quote Blog

Andy said...

Mr. H.K., I'm confused by your comment. If you're opposed to "every view" put forth by the SCOTUS, does that mean you typically disagree with both the majority and the dissents? Or just the majority rulings? Because if you just disagree with the majority, mostly that makes you Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. Which frightens me.

Martijn said...

What's so scary is that Islamic countries on one side want to introduce the Islamic rules into their systems on the hand hand and the USA that wants to do the same with Christian rules.

Hatred towards each other is growing by the day.

What's next? A new crusade? A religious version of the Cold War? New analysis in The Economist on where and when Europe becomes a battleground?

If you read the book "The Poverty and Wealth of Nations" bu David Landes (a historic perspective on the allocation of wealth on this globe) you'd know that increased religous aspects in government always preludes the downfall of a system: China in the early centuries, Middle East in the centuries after, Spain and Portugal in the Middle Ages.

Jess said...

Mr. Landes' views notwithstanding, many things have led to the downfall of a system. However, the United States has been through some horrific times over its history and has demonstrated an unique resilience. Besides, there's a faction in this country that wishes to swing us into Christian conservatism, but things will swing back the other way. They always do.

I think there is reason for concern and for action, but there's reason for hope, as well. The US has made errors as a country, but what country hasn't? Overall, no country has done more for freedom than this one, so I'm not counting us out just yet.