Sorry, We're Closed

Monday, October 31, 2005

Desperate Times

Well, now that George Bush has nominated Alito to the Supreme Court, the righties are all atwitter. Yes, someone else in their idea of the "mainstream" will get onto the court.

The rest of us know, of course, that Alito is far from the mainstream. He could do significant harm to many laws enacted within the past 50 years that have benefitted the majority of Americans, not the least which is the right to a legal and safe abortion.

But let's not forget the prelude to Alito. Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers to the court was a joke, a cynical piece of pandering that stood no chance of succeeding; look at how quickly the right-wingers in the media picked up on the lady's absolute lack of qualifications to serve on the nation's highest court. (They picked up on it suspiciously quickly, as a matter of fact. Republicans never usually care about unqualified people in positions of power if they're on the right wing; look at who they chose to be President.)

Not only had Miers never even been a judge, she showed little to no interest in constitutional law in her less-than-impressive round of interviews with U.S. senators.

It's a good bet, then, that Miers was a straw man (sic) put out there by Bush and his minions to allow him to claim that he'd tried to appoint a woman. A less likely view is that Miers was Bush's genuine choice, subverted by the knights of the keyboard of the right wing.

Of course, it is completely insulting to the hundreds of qualified women judges in this country that Bush saw fit to nominate--rather than any of them--a political hack with no qualifications.

Either way, despite what a lot of people on the left are saying, IT IS NO GREAT LOSS THAT HARRIET MIERS WITHDREW HER NOMINATION, OKAY? Just because someone with more extreme views MIGHT be coming down the pike is not a reason to embrace someone like Miers who was completely unfit for one of the most important jobs in the country.

I have no doubt that Alito, if he is confirmed, could do this nation a lot of harm. But that doesn't excuse putting anyone as unqualified as Harriet Miers even close to the Supreme Court.

Time to see if the Dems truly have spines.


Anonymous Jonathan said...

I'm going to be partially contrarian. I agree Meirs is no loss, in fact, I suspect that she would have been every bit as conservative as Dobson et. al reassured she would be (no way would someone that close personally to Dubya embarass him by becoming another David Souter).

But as to Alito, consider there may be some butterfly wings dynamics here. First, I think that the left became overly dependent on the judiciary from the 70's through the mid 80's to protect civil rights at the expense of building popular consensuses, something we still haven't recovered from. Second, I'm very cynical about what the parties really think about this nominee. The Dems would like nothing more than to have Roe overturned and have the abortion issue front and center in every state election. So watch for their best play: a symbolic fury to be sure the GOP takes ownership of Alieto but nothing to block him from the bench. Finally, unless the senate hearings show that he subscribes to the "Constitution in Exile" jurisprudence, I'd probably let him in, else we're setting a standard that says "noncontroversial, low paper trail judges need only apply" -- I have faith that someday there will be a Dem president and I want, say, a Lawrence Tribe or Patricia Wall to be eligible too.

7:24 AM, November 01, 2005

Blogger Stuart Shea said...


In theory, I agree with you--the dems have become too dependent on the judiciary to solve problems.

But given that the legislative process, due to constant gerrymandering and the ridiculous excesses of campaign funding, have been corrupted by big-money interests, who tend to skew conservative, what's anyone supposed to do?

The popular consensus for Roe v. Wade is there; it's the righties that are out of step on this one. Popular consensuses have existed on gay rights, integration, voting rights, etc. long before legislatures adopted them, largely because a small but wealthy minority controlled the legislative process.

The republicrats talk about "states rights," but they're really hypocrites--they want to use federal laws to get things done just like they accuse lefties of doing. Their idea of big government is even more intrusive than anything in Ted Kennedy's wildest dreams.

I'm not one to advocate suffering now in order to bring about some great change, and if the Dems let Alieto in just to further their own ends--some of which I agree with--that's just as craven as anything the repubs can do. Somebody, for Christ's sake, has to show some fucking principle sometime!

9:51 AM, November 01, 2005

Anonymous Jonathan said...

The point is well taken on sacrificing real and present suffering for future gain and/or standing on principle. I don't know how much stamina the Dems would have for more than one go even if they block Alito -- Justice Edith Jones is every bit as bad.

Re: your other post today, somebody did have to show some fucking principle sometime -- who would have thought it would be John Densmore?

3:19 PM, November 01, 2005

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The New York Times devoted several articles today to Alito's life and career, his record, and comments and speculations from several quarters. While he certainly comes across as a conservative judge, Alito does not strike me as an ideologue in the mold of Scalia or his shadow, Clarence Thomas. People who have worked with him say that he treats respectfully those who disagree with him; everybody seems to agree that he is an entirely decent person. (By the way: the citation given by the Times about Alito's later-overturned opinion in the spousal notification case seems to indicate that he was concerned about brutal husbands but that he believed the state law provided for exceptions in such cases--in other words, his opinion is not insensitive to women, at least not in the way it has been characterized. He also seems to believe in the right to privacy.)
Bush promised to appoint qualified conservative candidates. (Then he nominated Miers; what was he thinking?) Alito has experience and intelligence. He might even be open to persuasion. He is about the best we can expect from this president, and I think Democrats should avoid coming across as shrill even as they oppose him, as many feel they must.


9:53 PM, November 01, 2005

Anonymous Amy said...

I agree with some of what Jonathan said, I think this (Alito) is the best we can expect from this "president". He's going to end up getting confirmed because the senate has other things to worry about.

I also think that your average American is fairly overwhelmed by politics at this point (and really doesn't understand what all this fuss is about a judge). With too many big issues saturating the news - the impending bird flu pandemic, the probe into "why the hell did we go into Iraq anyway?" and the newest buzz surrounding proposed changes to the fed tax code, I think most people just don't have the time or energy to think about it (plus, there is this overwhelming feeling of powerlessness you get when you start to really think on this).

I honestly think that as a country we're headed towards a scenario of (to borrow a quote from Frank Zappa) "while your children are sleepin your puppy is crapping". Most people have no clue as to what's really going on in government right now.

There are these little seeds of change planted by the current regime that will grow into the giant kudzu of socially intrusive laws and policy that are oh so gently strangling things like first amendment rights, equal rights (oh thats right, we never did pass that thing), freedom of reproductive choice, gay rights (or rather, a right to privacy), etc.

In other words, most of us are just kinda fucked. Its just going to take a while before most people notice.

7:09 AM, November 02, 2005

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all know what is going on in government right now. We have a President from Hell. And a Vice President that is just as nuts. I hope this guy doesn't get appointed to the Supreme Court. I hope the Democrats delay things and go down fighting on this one. I agree with Mr. Shea on this one.

5:43 PM, November 03, 2005


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