Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: dubya cream: no Joy in Mudville .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

dubya cream: no Joy in Mudville

So the rumors were wrong when they predicted that Edith "Joy" Clement would be Bush’s nomination to the Supreme Court yesterday. Sure, she was anti-choice, pro-death and anti-consumer, but not as much so as some of the other candidates like Michael Luttig or Janice Rogers Brown. But we should have known better, since the first GOP "experiment" in female Supreme Court Justices (Sandra Day O’Connor) turned out so disastrous for them.

In their mindset, sure, Edith is a conservative. But being a woman, she’s also more likely to be swayed by those bleeding-heart issues like human rights and personal freedom.

Instead we get - surprise, surprise – a White Christian Rich Male (WCRM). And not just any WCRM (pronounced "dubya cream"), but one with a track record on personal freedom (""We continue to believe that Roe (v. Wade) was wrongly decided and should be overruled."), the environment (sympathetic to arguments that wildlife regulations were unconstitutional as applied to a California construction project), religious freedom (supports school prayer), and the police state (vehicle searches and most recently using military tribunals to try terrorism suspects held at Gitmo).

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention his most talked-about decision: the infamous french fry decision. To be fair, though, he didn’t arrest the 12 year old for eating in a Washington Metrorail station, he just ruled that police didn’t violate her rights by cuffing her and taking her downtown for it. After all, it’s the rules that were screwed up, and as we all know, Judges don’t make the rules, they interpret them. It also brought attention to the absurdity of zero-tolerance policy, although that message was lost in the media circus.

Back to the present, though. Common wisdom (an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one) had it that Bush would nominate someone relatively moderate in order to have a better chance of getting a real wing-dinger in when Renquist is carried out of office (we all know he’ll never leave voluntarily). But apparently dubya thinks he has the support (see "dubya cream", above) to get not just one, but two wing-dingers on the court, thus ensuring that history will be permanently altered by his administration. Two more hard-right Supreme Court Justices on the bench would tip the balance, as it did in the House and Senate, let the religious right wing have control of all three branches of government, and allow decisions that would adversely affect our level of freedom and fairness.

Issues that are expected to be addressed by the next term of the Supreme Court include:

•Abortion: The constitutionality of a New Hampshire parental notification law that lacks an emergency health exception for minors. Justices could use the case to make it harder for opponents to challenge abortion restrictions.

•Physician-assisted suicide: The Bush administration's challenge to Oregon's law allowing physician-assisted suicide.

•Death penalty: Four capital punishment cases, including one that will determine when prisoners can use DNA evidence to get a new trial.

•Don't-ask, don't-tell: A test of a law that requires colleges that get federal funding to allow military recruiters. Some law schools want to bar recruiters as a way of protesting the Pentagon's "don't-ask, don't-tell" policy excluding openly gay people from military service.

•Religious freedom: The Bush administration's appeal of a church's use of hallucinogenic tea in its religious services. The government contends the tea is illegal and potentially dangerous.

•Police searches: Whether police may search a home when one occupant consents but another does not, without violating the Fourth Amendment ban against unreasonable searches and seizures.

And that's not even counting the business-related cases the new term will review, which is where the big money is for the administration and it's cronies. They want you to think it's all about ideology, but many of the Supreme Court's rulings, although less noticed in the media, affect how much money Big Bidness can make and how shafted can the little guy get.

Some issues they will likely decide (or attempt to decide) include:

  • Asbestos liability
  • Toxic waste cleanup
  • Bankruptcy
  • Personal injury suits
  • Business tax credits

Again, Big Bidness will get the mine, the little guy will get the shaft.

So the decision now for lawmakers on both sides is: take a hard line, or wait for something better. Already, tens of millions of dollars have been committed by both parties to try to either vilify or sanctify the guy. We'll likely see a barrage of ads promoting both (although likely not as much here in the dark red states).

And don't count on any earth-shattering revelations about the candidate. He doesn't seem to have the imagination to have any skeletons in his closet.

From my cheap seat, I don't see anything much better coming along - not if he (or she) is going to be nominated by a wannabe cowboy who cowtows to the religious right.

But if we don't fight this blatant attempt to staff the Supreme Court with those whose ideology will undoubtedly interfere with their ability to objectively render judgements fairly, the Bush administration will feel free to nominate a replacement for Renquist with a candidate of even more questionable objectivity.

Then again, this nomination could just be an attempt to draw attention away from the Plame investigation and Karl Rove.

But that's okay, I can multi-task. Bring 'em both on!


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