Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Republicans and other crazies

If anyone has any doubt about what a McCain win would mean for the country, just read this. Mr. McCain says that "Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. 'would serve as the model for my own nominees, if that responsibility falls to me.'" I do love the code people like this use. He doesn't want activist judges. He doesn't want judges who legislate.

In other words, judges like the ones who ruled, in Brown v. Board of Education, that separate black and white schools were unconstitutional, or the judges who ruled in Loving v. Virginia that laws against blacks and whites marrying were unconstitutional, or those horrific activist judges who, just a few years ago in Lawrence v. Texas, ruled that it was unconstitutional for Texas to outlaw consensual sodomy.

Yes, in the view of people like Mr. McCain, we should have waited until the legislatures got around to deciding on their own, "why, yes, we have been trampling minority rights for all these years. We should stop that." Sorry, but the legislature is just one branch of the government. The judicial branch has always been there to right injustices and guard against tyranny of the majority. It's part of what has made the American republic so great.

Now, on to more immediate issues:


(*Yeah, I know it's not Burma now, it's Myanmar. So would that be Myanmarese? Anyhow...)

The United States Navy is standing by to rush relief in. The US has pledged millions of dollars of aid, but you don't want to let us in?

Yes, I know W is an asshole. Yes, he and his people have said mean things about you. The club that can't stand W is a big one, but let us help your people! (The word from W-land is that they're even lifting sanctions that were put in place because of that repressive regime in order to allow aid to flow more freely.)

I was just reading an article in a Chinese publication that one of the ships standing by to go there is the USS Essex, an amphibious assault ship that carries 23 helicopters, three landing craft, and a contingent of 1,800 marines who can quickly bring a lot of manpower to rescue efforts. The military has a long history of using their muscle for rescue and recovery efforts. They know how to do these things!

The US government has pledged $3 million in aid, and, if history is any guide, that number will increase with time and pressure from the US populace, as we see more reports of the scope of the disaster. Aid organizations, including one we've supported over the years called Americares are gearing up, as is the UN, the International Red Cross and agencies from other countries.

But no one can move things like this country, so let us! Is the junta in Myanmar so frightened that they can't even let help for their own people get to them? Do they really think the US military is going to decide to attack as long as they're there?

Yes, I know, the war in Iraq. And yes, I know our government screwed up the New Orleans response right here in our own country. True but irrelevant. We're trying to send help. Let us! Your people are dying!


Jeff Chidester said...

Few points you need to know:

1- It was the Warren Court that upheld the Brown decision. Warren was appointed Chief Justice by a Republican (Eisenhower). In fact, Warren himself ran as the Republican Vice-Presidential nominee in 1948.
2- Brown made its way to the Supreme Court due to laws created by Democratically controlled governors and legislators.
3- The judge for lower appellate court, that forced the Supreme Courts hand, was appointed by a Democrat (Roosevelt).
4- One of the strongest supporters of Brown was a gentleman named Robert Bork. You might remember him because he was “deemed” to conservative to be appointed to the Supreme Court.

If you do your research instead of speaking from your own narrow view of the world, you will find that there is enough blame to go around for both parties. But when it comes to a strong judicial position, Republican appointees have always been the strongest Justices.

Additionally, the statement “judicial branch has always been there to right injustices and guard against tyranny of the majority” is blatantly false. For every decision such as Brown, there is a Scot, which show what happens when the Supreme does not follow the letter of the Constitution, and invents “rights”. The Supreme Court is an appellate court whose sole purpose is to “strictly” interrupt the law as it relates to the US Constitution. It is the people and the Constitution that exist to guard against tyranny.

Jess said...

Wow, to have such a world-renowned expert leave a comment and correct me. Such an honor. In fact, I see from your profile that you work in "Software Analysis." Being an attorney myself with extensive experience working in government, it's so nice to have you cite individual, irrelevant snippets from the strict construction playbook to try to tell me about judicial history. While none of my three degrees is in computers, I do have a degree in History from one of the top universities in the country. So again, thanks for the lesson. If only you made sense and really knew what you were talking about.

I am aware of all of the things you wrote. I'm surprised that you didn't throw in Lincoln being a Republican, since that's as irrelevant to today's GOP as the rest of your argument. If you actually read the writings of those who formed this nation, you will learn that the courts are meant to form a balance with the other two branches. The purpose of life tenure for Article III judges was to try to immunize them from political influence and keep them from being held hostage by legislative prejudice. Now the GOP has found a way around that, at least in part, by pre-screening for dyed-in-the-wool right-wingers. This will encourage the same type of extreme behavior on the other side of the aisle and just make things worse.

Your equating past Republican jurists to the youthful neo-con true believers being nominated today is an insult to those jurists of the past. If those jurists took your view, we still would have "separate but equal" and a host of other discriminatory laws in place.

If you can look yourself in the mirror and live with that "just following orders" approach to the law and the Constitution, that's pretty sad. Oh, that's right; you say the Constitution protects us, but the courts should only apply what's specifically written in it. Good old strict construction. So if the landed white gentlemen of over two hundred years ago couldn't anticipate something today, then the protection doesn't exist unless the majority of the people think it should. Ridiculous! Or have you never heard of protection against tyranny of the majority? That is part of the plan, in case you missed that history lesson. That's also why the Electoral College exists, but I doubt you understand that concept, either.

If you read the writings of the great men who founded this nation, you will find that your view wasn't their view. Even so, they were brilliant men, but they weren't perfect. That's why so many safeguards for individual liberty are built in, but they built them on good faith and citizens respecting each other's beliefs, or the lack thereof.

Or do you think only white land-owning men should have power? If that's the case, then strict construction really is for you. Let's live with the rules from 1789 exactly as they were written!

I don't like either of the major political parties, but I know which one is more dangerous to freedom! The degree to which religion has permeated politics would stun the Founding Fathers. Try reading Madison or Jefferson. They would be nauseated by the degree to which Christianity has become so intertwined with government. Or do you also think this country was founded as a "Christian nation"? If so, then you really need to go back to primary historical source material and read! Don't listen to your conservative buddies. If you really care, then read what the Founding Fathers wrote. Read their writings. Read their letters to each other. Plenty is available, if you care to read it.

One last thought. If you want to make a really good argument, why don't you try to disenfranchise the Supreme Court completely? After all, if you've read the Constitution, you'll find that the power the Court wields isn't set forth there--not the way it is used today. Just three brief sections. So they just made off with that power, based on some silly notions of English Common Law and the intent of the Founders. You and your strict construction friends can strike a blow in support of tyranny of the majority. Just what you want!

Jeff Chidester said...

Hey Jess, don’t get your panties in such a ruffle. I guess your three degrees trump my two degrees (also from fine institutions); you sure did show me. It does not take someone with a degree in computer engineering to know how to use a computer, but next time try clicking the “send” key once instead of three times. I already get enough e-mail from angry liberals (oh, I am sorry…I meant Progressives), people trying to sell me cheap viagra and fake Rolex watches.

You failed to mention you were a mind reader as well, because you read way too much into my response. But your reply did reveal one thing about you; you my friend are an elitists “neo-progressive (look ma, I can use the word neo in a sentence to!).”

Next time try reciting your resume less and stop assuming that I haven’t taken the time to study the issues. It makes you look arrogant and pompous. As you noted I am an analysis; by the nature of my being I excel at the science of investigation and research. As far as your suggestion that I read the writings of Founding Fathers, thanks for the advice, but I have and will continue to do so.

Jess said...

Oh, are we upset? Such a shame. In the end, all that really matters is that you are using specious, factually incorrect arguments to support a political approach that disenfranchises minorities. Some of us are more patriotic and respectful of our country and Constitution than that, not to mention being more concerned about our fellow citizens than to support political views that would strip them of their individual rights.