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.