Wednesday, April 13, 2005
You want the truth!? You can't handle the truth! No, truth-handler you are! I deny your truth-handling abilities!
The recent attacks on the judiciary by the GOP are nothing new. And in fact, in a perverse way, such attacks serve as a check and/or balance on the power of an unchecked judiciary - our checks & balance system, after all, is not just limited to procedural actions like "ability to make laws" versus "duty to enforce them" and so forth. Rhetoric, propaganda, words words words are just as important a part of our constitutional system.
Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas would seem to agree with me:
But it's up to the Democrats to call this particular surge in anti-judiciary sentiment what it is -- part of a long-standing power grab to turn a country that seems to be about 50-50 into a one-party state. This is not about one chamber of the government striving to outshine another. It's not about "culture of life" or "judicial activism" or any of those things. It's about winning a long-term majority on the U.S. Supreme Court, the Federal Courts, and everywhere they can. By doing so, they'll be able to further the Republican Agenda, which, I think we all know by now, has a lot more to do with corporate hegemony and making sure the highest up keep their coin than it really does with abortion, gay marriage, or even the United Nations. These Republicans really don't care a whit over whether Tom and Arnold marry, they'll gladly disconnect their own relative from a feeding tube if they feel like it, and I'm guessing 90% of them would look the other way if someone in their own family got an abortion. And they don't really care who in the hell their kids' college professors vote for.
The justices' comments came during a congressional hearing on the Supreme Court's budget that turned into an unusually wide-ranging discussion of the role of judges. Thomas noted that federal judges are appointed for life, which means that although they might be criticized by politicians, the judges are insulated from real retribution.
"I think the reason we have lifetime appointments is that we are supposed to be criticized," Thomas said.
Kennedy said criticism of the federal bench is part of "the democratic dialogue," and he dismissed a suggestion by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., that the Supreme Court should be concerned about public dissatisfaction with its decisions. Kennedy noted that the most controversial rulings begin with dissent among the justices themselves.
Those are side shows -- effective side shows, with real, meaningful implications for those of us in the middle of the culture wars -- but ultimately distractions from their anti-labor, anti-regulation, anti-safety net, anti-tax mandate from God.
I just wanted to make sure we all kept that in perspective as discussions about "judicial activism" continue to escalate.