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October 05, 2005

Lest Ye Be Judged

People should stop carping about Harriet Miers’ lack of judicial experience. Nearly 40% of all Supreme Court justices (and there’s an obnoxious title for you) were never judges prior to their appointment, and there’s no clear trend to indicate whether that’s good or bad. Better we should get us a few appointments of folks who were never lawyers. This judge thing is a red herring.

Here’s another.

The so-called conservatives are fond of saying “we want justices who will not legislate from the bench.” This is a complete and utter lie. What they want are justices who will not legislate from the bench against their point of view. They’d want to push their agenda through wherever they can, and the Supreme Court (I even hate typing that phrase in initial caps) does have the air of finality to it.

Until, of course, they change their minds. This doesn’t happen all that often, but the every people who detest judges legislating from the bench want exactly that to happen when it comes to civil rights. The Constitution does not speak to whether life begins before birth – although it does talk about not making any laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Constitution does not speak to whether same-sex marriage should be okay-dokey, in fact, the Constitution does not talk about marriage at all. But it does talk about not making any laws respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with it; the government should not be in the business of regulating marriage – let alone taxing it.

The Constitution also talks about securing “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves.” In fact, it starts right off with that little bit. Let’s see if the strict constructionists start off with that as well.

Posted by Mike Gold at October 5, 2005 02:31 PM

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The constitution does not mention "God" at all -- although it does refer to "Lord" in the context of "year of our Lord".

The Declaration of Independence mentions "God" exactly once, as "Nature's God". Not exactly a rousing endorsement for the Christian diety.

The founders deliberately avoided anything resembling endorsement of some "official" religion. They were not yet far removed from the religious oppression that led many of their forebears to the new land.

How quickly -- and conveniently -- we forget.

As for Harriet Miers, she not only lacks judicial experience, there is absolutely nothing to indicate that she has any particular experience in constitutional law.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 5, 2005 08:22 PM

It doesn't mention "separation of church and state" either. But I'm constantly amazed at the number of people who will INSIST that those words actually appear.

Posted by: eclark1849 at October 6, 2005 06:25 PM

Article VI:
"No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

First Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 6, 2005 08:56 PM

Regarding Article VI ... At least four states require their governors to swear an oath to god. Maybe more; I only checked out four. Technically, a governor-elect could probably go to federal court to get it overturned, but s/he would never get elected to office again.

Then again, there are "Justices" who interpret the Constitution to mean states can impose a religion statewide.

As if it matters. If this fundamentalist isn't installed, another one will be.

Posted by: Mike Gold at October 6, 2005 09:21 PM

Apparently leading members of the religious right consider Harriet Miers far too "moderate" for their tastes.

Personally, I think she's a straw man candidate. The democrats will filibuster, and then she'll withdraw before any republicans have to actually vote for her. Then we'll get Bush's real choice for the job, making us wish the senate had confirmed Miers. If the dems complain, the republicans will say, "Hey, we offered you a moderate woman -- but she wasn't good enough for you."

Then again, maybe I'm giving Bush too much credit. Maybe he simply can't see any farther than his inner circle of Texas cronies.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 7, 2005 08:49 AM

I would have agreed with you a couple months ago Rick. But I firmly believe he can not see past his circle of cronies -- the same folks who have circled him since Sammy Sosa was in Texas. These folks have their puppet performing for them for one, and I really think only one, purpose: to make them as much money as possible over the course of eight years by handing them contracts and changing laws -- particularly environmental laws -- to their benefit.

From reports, the relationship between Bush and Miers is genuine, and I have a bit of trouble believing George would set her up as a straw man. The Bushites, certainly, but George, probably not.

Posted by: Mike Gold at October 7, 2005 09:32 AM

Back to religion and government:

If it's true, as some Palestinian leader is claiming, that Bush's real reason for invading Iraq was because God told him to do so, then there's little difference between Bush and David Berkowitz, who went out and killed innocent people because his neighbor's dog told him to do so.

And if divine communication led him to encourage others to manufacture a case for war based on a fabric of lies, then he should be impeached.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 7, 2005 12:48 PM

Rick..if voices in his head led him anywhere, forget impeachment, he should be comitted.

Posted by: Scavenger at October 7, 2005 01:59 PM

I'm willing to live with leaders guided by voices in their heads, as long as their heavenly advice is supported by Earthly evidence that can be shown to those of us without the blessing of divine guidance.

As some comedian once said: "Pat Robertson is runnning for president because God told him to...and if God ever tells me to vote for him, then I will."

Or something like that.

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 7, 2005 02:59 PM

This just in:

Jerry Falwell has endorsed Harriet Miers, and says that Democratic opponents would "vote no on Jesus."

To which I would respond: "I'd have to examine his knowledge of constitutional law first -- and maybe ask him how he feels about the rights of those who don't believe in him."

Posted by: Rick Oliver at October 7, 2005 05:01 PM

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