Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Most Judicious Matter

Get the message? The Progressives obviously don't.

My friend, Maria McGowen, alerted me to this article in Slate, which illustrates perfectly the fact that the Republicans, even in extremis to the far Right, still get how government functions and how to make the most out of the proper constitutional functioning of government to get the legislative interpretation they want to further their agenda.

For the uninitiated, Congress makes the laws, the President ensures that they're executed legally, but it's the Supreme Court, and the system of U S Federal judges, who are also appointed by the President, who interpret the laws enacted by Congress. Remember, it was the Roberts Supreme Court who decided that corporations are people too, just like Mitt Romney says. So when Mitt's saying that, legally he's speaking the truth.

Supreme Court decisions have a habit of changing life significantly. On the negative side, Plessey vs Ferguson set up the perfidious "separate-but-equal" Jim Crow laws. On the plus side, Brown vs the Board of Education began the de-segregation of public schools.

Take a look at the current Supreme Court, arguably the most corrupt Supreme Court in the history of the nation, with most - if not all - of the conservative Justices having direct ties to the Brothers Koch. The current conservative-liberal break-down is 5-4, in favour of the dark side. One of their members should seriously be impeached for non-disclosure of income and for refusing to recuse himself on various cases in which is was shown his wife's work resulted in a conflict of interest on his part.

But this is why 2012 is so important. Most certainly, one Associate Justice will resign. Possibly two. Maybe three. Most likely, the one that will resign will be Ruth Bader Ginsberg. An Obama Presidency ensures the status quo. Another liberal will be appointed (depending on who controls the Senate and the House - fingers crossed). Yet think about a President Perry or a President Romney or even - heaven forbid!- a President Cain. The 5-4 inequality is suddenly 6-3.

Tell me, what are the chances of securing a liberal interpretation to any law challenged with that make-up? What if Ken Cuccinelli succeeds in getting his challenge that ACA is unconstitutional heard at Supreme Court level? And if you don't think that an ueber conservative Supreme Court won't whittle away at women's reproductive rights, think again.

But it doesn't start and end with the Supreme Court. They're the last resort. Judicial interpretation, that could affect a national scale, can begin in any of the Federal courts, whose judges are also Presidential appointees.

As the Slate article states:-

Last week, for example, President Obama nominated yet another highly qualified, intelligent, and competent attorney, Paul Watford, to fill one of several openings on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. This was just the latest in a string of the more than 30 nominations he’s made to the federal courts in the last six months. Yet most Democrats have paid no attention to this news, and those who have are already throwing up their hands and declaring the nominations doomed. In other words, progressives now seem to respond to news of the war on Obama’s judges by doing nothing more than whining about how they have lost the war on Obama’s judges.
The lack of concern about or willingness to fight for judicial nominees by one party is a serious weakness in our current political system. If one side cares intensely about the courts and the other side doesn’t, what you get is a long-term bias in one direction. This growing imbalance shouldn’t just worry progressives. It should alarm anyone who believes a range of voices on the courts is essential.
Yet Democrats have a nagging blind spot for fully comprehending that when it comes to advancing the issues they care about, judges aren’t just important but indispensible. If disillusioned Democrats are wondering whether it matters whether President Obama gets a second term, they should look no further than the aging faces of the nine justices at the Supreme Court. And the thousands of demonstrators at Occupy Wall Street need to understand that many of the very things they’re protesting against are the direct consequences of decades spent by progressives deprioritzing judicial appointments.
When it comes to the importance of the courts, modern Republicans just get it. Sure, there was a time long ago when Democrats battled for the courts, too. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously sought to pack the court with progressive judges who would uphold his New Deal legislation. But for the last 30 years it has been the GOP demonstrating the laserlike focus on taking over the courts. And it’s worked. Their strategy was simple and effective—aggressively push through large numbers of nominees who are to the far right of their predecessors, while defensively blocking as many left-leaning nominees as possible.

Once again, it's the Republicans playing the long ball. Kicking their objective down the field and then working obsessively, for however long it takes, until they reach the goal they have in mind. Thirty years? This shit started fifty years ago.

But to the extent the Progressives are concerned, it happened overnight. Taking out country forward is going to be a hard slog. You don't take a step in the right direction by taking out the man who's going to lead you there.

Or maybe you believe in "property rights."

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