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May 04, 2006

An Imperial Court

It can be of no weight to say that the courts, on the pretense of a repugnancy, may substitute their own pleasure to the constitutional intentions of the legislature. This might as well happen in the case of two contradictory statutes; or it might as well happen in every adjudication upon any single statute. The courts must declare the sense of the law; and if they should be disposed to exercise WILL instead of JUDGMENT, the consequence would equally be the substitution of their pleasure to that of the legislative body.

- Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 78

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sandra Day O'Connor, the only two female justices to have served on the Supreme Court, have been lobbying hard against what they see as unwarranted Congressional attempts to check the growing power of SCOTUS. Various liberal pundits, who see the Court as a means to sidestep Congress and the President (ironically, the two democratically elected branches of government) have avidly seized on their remarks as proof of some sinister conservative plot to control all three branches of government.

That liberals and conservatives should compete for political dominance is nothing new; indeed the Constitution provides for elections and appointments so the prevailing will of the people may be reflected as it currently is in the composition of all three branches of government. That respective branches may, through exercise of powers delegated to them, attempt to enlarge their powers beyond their Constitutional sway was likewise foreseen by the Founders. It was to this end the Founders instituted a system of checks and balances each branch may legimately exert upon the others.

To those unfamiliar with this system, the arguments of these two Justices may, on first impression, appear to have some merit. But a thorough examination of their words reveals both overweening arrogance and a stunning disregard for the system of separation of powers and checks the Court as interpreter of the Constitution is perhaps uniquely charged to understand and uphold.

Earlier this year, O'Connor suggested our elected officials should refrain from criticizing the Court, lest the nation slide into dictatorship:

Now that she's left the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O'Connor has a few things to get off her chest. One of the first was to warn that the nation could slide into dictatorship if harsh critiques of the judiciary – from the likes of Texas Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Tom DeLay – go unanswered.

"We must be ever-vigilant against those who would strong-arm the judiciary," she said this month at a Georgetown University conference on corporate law. "It takes a lot of degeneration before a country falls into dictatorship, but we should avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings."

In Justice O'Connor's world, the First Amendment does not apply to one of the two branches empowered to check the Court's power. She finds it improper that either branch should dare to question any act of the Court. Justice Ginsburg went even farther, equating public debate over the use of foreign law to interpret the Constitution to the incitement of death threats:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg assailed the court's congressional critics in a recent speech overseas, saying their efforts "fuel" an "irrational fringe" that threatened her life and that of a colleague, former justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Are all who express opinions liable for the actions of the general public, who may hear them and commit some irrational act? If one accepts Ginburg's spurious logic, the press should be forcibly embargoed from all criticism of the President lest some deranged nut use their words as pretext for assassination. Her argument displays an alarming disregard for the value of debate in a free society. Do she and Justice O'Connor really contend all criticism of the Judicial branch threatens their independence? If so, they admit of no check to the Judicial branch and consequently, the concerted media attack on fellow Justice Scalia should fill them with like trepidation Yet strangely neither woman mentions this in her list of grievances. So it would appear that not all criticism which seeks to limit the freedom of the Court disturbs them; only that which targets their actions.

Justice Ginsburg proceeds to equate Congressional attempts to oversee the Court with Stalinist tactics:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Tuesday that a Republican proposal in Congress to set up a watchdog over the federal courts is a "really scary idea."

"My sense now is that the judiciary is under assault in a way that I haven't seen before," she said.

As an example, she mentioned proposals by senior Republicans who want an inspector general to police judges' acceptance of free trips or their possible financial interests with groups that could appear before them.

"It sounds to me very much like the Soviet Union was .... That's a really scary idea," said Ginsburg, who was put on the court by President Clinton and is one of its liberal members.

Betsy Newmark suggests Ginsburg may have cause for alarm. She has failed to recuse herself in several cases where there was a conflict of interest:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have violated federal law, as well as professional codes of judicial ethics, by participating in more than 20 cases in which one of the litigants was a publicly traded corporation in which her husband owned stock.

Reviewing Ginsburg's financial-disclosure reports and cases in West's Supreme Court Reporter, Insight found that since 1995, Ginsburg apparently did not disqualify, or recuse, herself from cases that directly affected eight companies in her husband's rollover individual-retirement account, or IRA. Martin Ginsburg owned between $15,001 and $50,000 worth of shares in NYNEX, American Home Products, Exxon, General Electric, American International Group, Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson -- and $15,000 or less in AT&T -- at the time his wife appears to have adjudicated cases that may have affected the value of his portfolio.

And even if that had no effect on the companies' stock-market performance, Ginsburg still may have violated the federal statute governing judicial procedure, which provides that "Any judge, justice or magistrate shall disqualify himself in any proceeding" if "he knows that he, individually or as a fiduciary, or his spouse or minor child residing in his household, has a financial interest in the subject matter in controversy or in a party to the proceeding" (28 U.S.C. [sections] 455). "Financial interest," according to the statute, "means ownership of a legal or equitable interest, however small."

If criticism of this type is unwarranted, why did Justice Ginsburg feel no alarm when Democratic members of Congress assailed Justice Alito over a single Vanguard case where his pecuniary interest was far more tenuous? Again, it would seem the principle at stake is less than universally applied.

Any examination of whether Congress' acts are improper must rest upon the notion that they exceed the checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution. Surely a Supreme Court Justice is familiar with these provisions? The legislature is empowered to exercise the following checks upon Judicial power:

- Sole Federal Agency with the power to pass Constitutional amendments (by two-thirds majority and with the consent of three-quarters of the states)
- Power to determine the size and structure of the courts
- Power to determine the budgets of the courts

- Responsibility for confirming judicial nominees
- Power to impeach and remove judges
- Power to determine courts' jurisdiction (except Supreme Court's original jurisdiction)

Yet the specific measures under attack by Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg propose to exercise precisely these Constitutionally-allowed checks:

Sen. Charles Grassley R-Iowa, said last week that the judiciary wasn't doing enough policing of itself. His plan would create an inspector general to oversee federal courts including the Supreme Court. The inspector general would be directed to report any judicial misconduct to the Justice Department.

If Congress is empowered to impeach and remove Justices from office upon proof of bad conduct, how is it they may not act to investigate such conduct? Does Justice Ginsburg perhaps rely on the Judges to report their own misdeeds?

Ginsburg said her concerns were about the legislative branch setting up a so-called guardian for the judicial branch. She also said there have been discussions in Congress about limiting the scope of courts.

American Bar Association President Michael Greco asked Ginsburg what lawyers could do. She said attorneys can speak up and "say these efforts are wrong." Judges, she said, cannot lobby on their own behalf.

But is not Congress empowered to determine the jurisdiction, budgets, size, and structure of the courts? Ms. Ginsburg's objections to proposed Congressional action (which must, by the way, garner the support of a majority in both houses to survive) would appear to be sourced not in the Constitution she is charged to uphold, but in some reading of foreign law she declines to reveal to lesser beings who may not dare to question the Court's authority to police itself.

The Founders clearly intended for each branch to both defend itself from unjust encroachments and exercise its Constitutionally-granted powers in opposition to the other two branches, yet both Ginsburg and O'Connor seem to suggest the Judiciary is somehow immune to the limits placed on it by the very Constitution it is sworn to uphold. Furthermore, they apparently believe the least accountable and only unelected branch should have more power than those selected by the People. But this is an interpretation not supported by both Hamilton and Madison, who clearly intended the Judiciary to be the weakest of the three branches:

But it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit. It may even be necessary to guard against dangerous encroachments by still further precautions. As the weight of the legislative authority requires that it should be thus divided, the weakness of the executive may require, on the other hand, that it should be fortified.

- James Madison, Federalist 51

Arguments like O'Connor's and Ginsburg's rely on the ignorance of the average American, but more alarmingly they represent the growing tendency of the Court to view itself as a law unto itself and of various factions to use the Court to circumvent the will of our democratically elected representatives. As a matter of legal ethics, mere lawyers are enjoined not to offer misleading arguments. How then is it proper for judges, who should be held to a higher standard, to proffer an argument in public which can only succeed if the hearer is ignorant of the very law those judges are sworn to uphold?

Posted by Cassandra at May 4, 2006 07:46 AM


Granted, you would think that someone bright enough to be a Supreme Court Justice would take a moment before uttering the hyperbole quoted above. But I cannot say that either Justice O'Connor or Justice Ginsberg is entirely off the mark. I could understand the Senate's sudden interest in creating an office to "oversee" the judiciary if there were ongoing scandals on the bench. But how many judges have been impeached in the last 200+ years? Here's a hint: six.
The question thus becomes whether there is truly a "need" for such oversight, or where this is just a method of showing judges whose decisions you don't like who's boss. I think the latter.

Note to Senate: If you don't like the way a court has interpreted the law, change the law. 'K?

Posted by: spd rdr at May 4, 2006 12:05 PM

What I think troubles the Senate, and certainly troubles me, is the way that the courts (not just SCOTUS) increasingly changes not the law, but the game.

Take Lawrence v. Texas. The SCOTUS said, "American legislatures can't make laws like that." The legislators responded, "What are you talking about? We've been making laws of this type throughout the entire history of the Republic." SCOTUS said, "Well, things have changed."

Well, maybe they have. But they didn't change through the Constitutional Amendment process -- which, as Cassidy rightly notes, is limited to the Legislatures (Federal and State acting together, in supermajority). So, how precisely did this change come about?

Judicial fiat. And it's been happening with unusual frequency in the last thirty years or so, compared with other periods -- indeed, the only other period I can think of where the legislature and the courts were so off-center with each other was the New Deal. In that case, the courts were right: the legislature/executive really was grabbing unConstitutional powers. This time, it's the courts.

All that's a long way of saying: +1 Cassidy.

Posted by: Grim at May 4, 2006 01:39 PM

It seems to me that any law Congress passes now can be used against both conservative and liberal judges.

If the Constitution specifically gives Congress the right to do a thing, complaining that you perceive that act to be politically motivated simply because past Congresses (over which this one had no control) have not exercised that power strikes me as somewhat specious.

It would be hard to argue that the role of the SC has been expanded dramatically in the past four decades...not by Congress but by the Court itself.

Who, then, may reign the Court in if it has gone too far? No one? That apparently is the answer according to Ginsburg/O'Connor: they are accountable to no one, not even the People. Any move to impeach a sitting judge is going to raise hackles and would have to have broad support to pass both Houses of Congress. What, then, is the objection?

Since judges can only be removed from office by vote of both Houses, they should have nothing to fear unless they have done something wrong. It continues to amaze me that everyone wants Congress to oversee the Executive branch, but somehow the judiciary (not just SCOTUS) as a branch is immune.

How many times has a President been impeached in our 200 year history? Is that then an argument that Congress may never impeach one again?

I am heartened to hear of this "precedent". That will come in very handy in the coming months, because that is precisely what is in the works if you pay attention to the news.


They don't mention California, but there's an initiative underway there too.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2006 02:00 PM

And not that anyone's wondering, but I've been watching this for a very long time and that's exactly what gets my back up when conservatives start talking trash about the President. I hope you'll all be happy when we're looking at President Cheney, or worse, President Hastert.

Pay attention - election season is coming up. This isn't a coincidence. You may get exactly what you've been asking for.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2006 02:04 PM

If it got through the House, it'd be either President Cheney or President Pelosi.

Posted by: Grim at May 4, 2006 02:16 PM

I don't understand that last comment Cass. Sorry, but I'm stupid today. Could you elaborate please?

Aside: You aren't suggesting that the President should be immune from criticism are you? :-)

Posted by: KJ at May 4, 2006 02:16 PM

Are you talking about that Bush Impeachment article you linked?

Obviously, criticizing the President (by conservatives) for bad domestic policy decisions (usually) or whatever is very different from impeachable offenses.

Impeachment won't happen. Not on any current evidentiary record.

Posted by: KJ at May 4, 2006 02:19 PM

KJ, you are far more sanguine about this than I am.

Do I think it's warranted? No. Do I think it's very likely? I'm concerned. It's not as though we can rely on Republicans to vote the party line on this. The Sun article wasn't particular informative but I don't have time to look more up.

And there have been conservatives saying that the NSA thing is illegal and executive overreaching (though notably no one except Specter had the balls to talk of cutting off funding), which is precisely one of the main points he would be likely to be impeached over. There are also conservatives making stupid claims about the basis for going to war, another central article, though they know better.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2006 02:24 PM

And Grim, you may be right, but I'm not so sure it couldn't get though the House on a technical R majority if the dems vote as a block and we get enough defections. I don't trust them anymore.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2006 02:26 PM

Cass, the Senate is more at risk than the House don't you think? The House is where the most Republican party conservatives bills (though that would not mean Bush supports them of course) are passed. The Senate is where they go to die.

Posted by: KJ at May 4, 2006 02:37 PM

The House is more likely to vote for impeachment because that is not final. If the Dems get swing votes, I'd expect them to get them there. The Senate if I'm not mistaken votes for removal, which is far more serious.

At any rate, I only brought the House up b/c of the President Pelosi thing.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2006 02:44 PM

How many times has a President been impeached in our 200 year history? Is that then an argument that Congress may never impeach one again?

No, Cass, it's not. I was trying to point out that Congressional oversight of, not a single sitting president, but hundreds of federal judges at any one time, does not appear to be a particularly pressing issue, insofar as judicial misconduct goes, given the number of times the Congress has had to exercise its authority. I also thought that you might appreciate the "irony" that Alcee Hastings, that last judge to be impeached, is now a member of the very Liliputan Congress that now seeks to hold sway over the "Imperial" Court. I like the idea of an independant judiciary, and I want to see something other than mere disatisfaction with the rulings from the bench before I hear about additional Congessional "oversight." Who do you trust more: the guy that takes a lousy paying job for life? or the guy that has to get re-elected every other year?

Posted by: spd rdr at May 4, 2006 04:15 PM


I didn't come to this lightly, nor am I necessarily in favor of it.

But a President is only for 4 years, 8 max. Given that judges are appointed for life and can continue to make decisions that become precedent that every other court in the land is obligated to follow and SCOTUS itself is extremely reluctant to reverse, given the expanding nature of many of the landmark decisions handed down recently (Kelo comes to mind, and what about the totally out of control expansion of the Commerce Clause? Whatever happened to Lopez and Morrison?) I think perhaps we need to consider reigning in the Supreme Court.

Remember that I have argued against this idea for almost three years on the very grounds you cite: judicial independence. But I think the divided nature of the legislature is something of a safeguard against abuse. If judges are impeached it will be because a helluva lot of people think they need to go.

When SCOTUS can't even interpret the plain meaning of the Public Use Clause I think perhaps it *is* time for a warning shot across the bow.

And you assume that just because Congress has chosen not to impeach any judges, this was a good thing. Perhaps they don't do so, not because it's necessarily a bad idea, but because it's too difficult?

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2006 04:34 PM

And at any rate, my argument was not so much *for* the Congressional measures being proposed (they will have to pass muster) as it was an objection to the over-the-top, meretricious, and dishonest arguments made by these two Justices.

Any time someone advances a stupid argument I'm going to go after them, especially when they are doing it on purpose to be divisive. Arguing that they are not being honest is not the same as saying I completely support the Congresscritters in question. But IMO they have the right of this, now it is up to them to generate support. My guess is that Congress is too lily-livered and they will fail.

In which case all of the judicial hyperbole and hyperventilation was even more ill advised. If they want to argue this is unneeded, that's a better argument, but they didn't say that, did they?

They were dishonest. Which in and of itself ought to raise your hackles.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2006 04:39 PM

No. These judges are no more than human beings clothed in black robe, and they are among the best schooled, brightest individuals our culture has to offer. Yet , rather than seek the scores of millions their hard work and reputation could command as mere shills for the legal trade, they have patiently dedicated themselves to listening patiently to the most common-day gripes between we citizens, and have chosen to do so for absolute SHIT pay.

While we may grouse occasionally about how this or that ruling individually effects us, when was the last time the Supreme Court curtailed your particular rights as an American citizen? (Unless you live in New London, I don’t want to hear about Kelo.) Granted, we might not agree with all of their their pronouncements, but “dishonest?” The Supreme Court? That gives me heartburn, on or off the bench.

I'm not buying it.

Posted by: spd_rdr at May 4, 2006 08:52 PM

So in essence, you agree with all their arguments and think they're an accurate depiction of the situation?

IOW, you agree that:

1. If these Senators aren't stopped, the country will slide into dictatorship (...composed of popularly-elected officials who can be voted out of office at any time!), and we should "avoid this end by avoiding this beginning"? (O'Connor)

TRANSLATION: don't you care criticize us or attempt to hold us to our responsibilities b/c if you you're some kind of fascist.

2. Criticism of SCOTUS should not be allowed because some jackass may hear it and post a death threat in an Internet chat room? (Ginsburg)


3. Though Congress is EXPRESSLY given the power to determine the judiciary's budget, size, and structure, the jurisdiction of the federal courts and of SCOTUS (except for original jurisdiction) as well as the power to impeach judges, somehow the Constitution says they DON'T have the power of oversight when that involves all those expressly delegated powers?

Ginsburg complains Congress is "talking of limiting the scope of the courts" and calls on lawyers like you to say that's wrong, AND NEVER ONCE MENTIONS THAT...OH, BY THE WAY, THIS POWER IS EXPRESSLY DELEGATED TO THEM BY THE CONSTITUTION. That isn't a dishonest argument?

It's her responsibility to uphold the Constitution. Misrepresenting by omission what it expressly says and encouraging the legal profession to tell Congress they're wrong isn't honest, at least in my book.

Whether something is smart or customary is one thing. That's not their argument - it was yours, and frankly it's a better one. An honest one.

They are saying Congress is overreaching and taking us down the road to Soviet Russia or a dictatorship. Do you agree?

4.(your argument) Accepting a low paycheck means you aren't accountable? Really? My husband will be thrilled to hear that. He could be making twice what he is making now. Easily. Think of all the fun he could be having.

Finally, SCOTUS curtails my particular rights every single time they interpret something into the Constitution that isn't there and the power of Congress or state legislatures is thereby diminished. As a federalist, I'm surprised you don't agree with that.

But it's not just my rights, spd. There are individual and societal rights. What about Roe? In my book the C didn't give them the right to invent rights, especially when they abridge the rights of others and a human life is at stake. Arguably no one should have that right, but as it stands the C reserves that power to the legislatures, and SCOTUS usurped it. Now they are trying to take some it of back.

According to the Constitution, we are given certain rights *through our elected representatives* that no one is supposed to be able to take away absent an amendment to the Constitution.

You know as well as anyone that SCOTUS has been sidestepping this CONSTITUTIONAL requirement for years now. But apparently no one can object or try to stop them without being accused of inciting death threats, bringing on a dictatorship, or overreaching.

No wonder I'm so tired :)

Posted by: Cassandra at May 4, 2006 10:15 PM

I was tempted to let you have the last word on this subject, and you have that option, but allow me restate my objections.
I did not argue that accepting a lower paycheck makes one "unaccountable," but only inferred that I respect the choice of those who could knock down millions a year - very respectfully, mind you - to instead put themselves up to such scorn and ridicule that most of us would not dare confront, and to do so even before they are confirmed. Should that make them immune to public and political scorn? No. But it speaks well to their courage and intellect. How many of us would step up to the plate as such willing targets?

I have already conceded that the remarks you quoted from Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg were...well, unfortunate. These women are nevertheless entitled to their opinons (however ill advised airing such drivel in pubiic may be in light of their professional stature). They do not speak for the federal judiciary, however, anymore than John Kerry speaks for the Senate.

I do not agree that if Senate oversight of the federal judiciary is extended the U.S. will devolve into a fascist state. That's silly. I do, however, question the motives of those election-seekers who cast dark eyes on the Court to divert the populace from their own dismal records. Like I said, who do you trust?

Posted by: spd_rdr at May 5, 2006 01:00 AM

There, take (says Justice), take ye each a shell:
We thrive at Westminster on fools like you;
’T was a fat oyster,—live in peace,—adieu.
-Alexander Pope (1688–1744)

Posted by: Drive-by I'll Pay For This One at May 5, 2006 01:16 AM

Spd _rdr,ever since that Kelo decision has come down,there have been a bunch of land grabs going on across this country,with the expception of Fox news,and maybe here in the Blogosphere,it has received scant attention!These Developers are taking advantage of this decision and milking this thing for all that is worth.I hope all these justices who voted for that decision lose their homes(as far as I know one in particular is about to lose his).Our elected officials are too beholden to these wealthy special interests groups,and they don't give a damn about us!For instance, on this illegal immigration business,all they had to do was enforce the laws we have,but,they refused and want to put a another useless amnesty bill before us insulting our intelligence.I say we hang most of them and destroy some of those builidings on K Street,what a waste of taxpayers funds.

Posted by: Lisa Gilliam at May 5, 2006 02:49 AM

Never argue with a lawyer :)

mr rdr, I agree with everything you just said, in spades. I also conceded most of your points earlier because they were well taken. Undoubtedly some of this is based on partisan motives. However, I can also see some justification from a non-partisan basis; and if it were ever to come about Congressional oversight would apply to both conservative and liberal judges. The composition of Congress is unlikely to stay the same, after all.

What prompted my lengthy comment was your objection to my use of the word "dishonest". I was trying to clarify my use of the term; it wasn't meant as a general characterization of either Justice and certainly not of the entire SC or federal bench, but merely of the arguments Ginsburg and O'Connor put forward. I still don't see how either woman can really believe all that nonsense based on the facts.

Let me see if I can explain to you what offends me so much about this whole episode.

It would be one thing if these women (and I'll tell you right off the bat that is part of my problem with this) had said these things once. I can understand SC Justices are human, that they might take umbrage at what they perceive as a political attack. However, these remarks weren't made just once.

Both women are on a campaign to drive these ill-considered points home and have repeated them on several occasions in various speeches to diverse audiences. It really frosts me to see two of the first women to hold high positions in the US make what I think is an inflammatory, emotional, and above all fundamentally misleading argument when there were other objections they could have voiced that I would have respected. How long did it take you to come up with far more valid objections? A minute or two?

My perception is that they're playing the victim card and using scare tactics; Ginsburg more so than O'Connor. Now these are supposed to be two jurists at the very pinnacle of their profession. Does that really seem ethical to you? Because it doesn't to me.

What's more, have they represented women well? Not at all. I don't expect this argument to carry much weight with you, but women are so new to the professional scene that what highly visible women do continues to reflect on all of us, so it matters greatly to me. Instead of making the kind of calm, reasoned argument one expects of an experienced SC Justice, they throw out hysterical, whiny, overwrought sound bytes that are immediately picked up by papers everywhere "Eek! Dictatorship! Just like Soviet Russia!" As you know, their remarks weren't made in a vacuum either - both women are well aware of the current charges being made by certain members of Congress.

As I said, people are human, and one can engage on a wrong course of action without invalidating an entire life of service. But I think their remarks reflect poorly on the stature of the Court and also on the professionalism of women in general, and I really resent that. We don't need two women at the top of their field reinforcing the stereotype that women play the victim card at the first sign of political opposition. Fight fair! Furthermore, Ginsburg's argument in particular is highly misleading.

In closing, I thought all of your points were well taken. I may disagree on the advisability of Congressional oversight - frankly it would really depend on how it was implemented. My perception is that the Court is currently engaged in an unconstitutional power grab and something really ought to be done about it before nothing in the Constitution means anything anymore.

And to Mr. Drive-by I'll Pay for This I have only one comeback. "You never have before... why should this time be any different, wiseacre?" :)

Posted by: Cassandra at May 5, 2006 05:22 AM

Spd, I am surprised at your take on this. I usually agree with you more often than not, but you are totally wrong on this one.

There is no greater threat to our democracy, IMHO, than a rampant, activist court. Sure, there have always been corrupt, grasping lawmakers, but one can always hope the people wake up and vote them out of office. Remember jerks like Dan Rostenkowski?

OTOH, how do you deal with unelected, unaccountable imbeciles like Souter, Kennedy, and Ginsburg? Don't give me that best and brightest crap. I have read some of their opinions, and they frankly couldn't argue their way out of a paper bag (except maybe against other liberal moonbats). Sadly, this is nothing new. SCOTUS has replaced constitutional interpretation with social engineering and political manouvering years ago. Do you want to justify opinions based on "penumbras and emanations" to me?

Any country run by a nine-member group, unaccountable to anyone or anything, that can rule by mere Diktat, fulfills the definition of oligarchy last time I checked Webster's. Yes, I know that TECHNICALLY there are checks and balances in place, but the last time anyone had the cojones to do something about judicial abuses was Andrew Jackson in the 1820s. Jackson also shot several political opponents and newspapermen in duels to protect his reputation against their slander and innuendo. The latter would be interesting to see in the modern era. Schumer and Kennedy would be dead by morning when half the Republicans in Congress called them out to the field of honor. No loss though.

Anyway, if something hasn't been enforced in nearly 200 years, I don't see it as a true check or balance to anything.

Why in the world do you want to defend Those People (in the fullest Robert E. Lee use of that term)? I see SCOTUS as a less evil (so far) version of the Politburo. SCOTUS is the antithesis of freedom and democracy. Only the 9th Circus is worse.

I was watching the 10 Commandments over Easter. I like that line where Yul Brynner, as the full-on arrogant Pharaoh Rameses says "So let it be written, so let it be done" and the trumpet fanfare blasts. Our Ruler and God Pharaoh has spoken His Law unto us, and we must obey without thought or question. I see no difference between that and the attitude of SCOTUS. They act like the most pompous, arrogant aristocrats of the past. Didn't people come to the US from Europe to escape their "betters" in the nobility commanding them how to live their lives? They can kiss my big, white heinie if they think this guy will knuckle his forehead, bow, and mumble "yes, your lordship" when a justice passes by.

Posted by: a former european at May 5, 2006 05:27 AM

Actually, afe, I was just trying to get Cass to admit to the whole "whiny woman" thing. :-0

Posted by: spd rdr at May 5, 2006 08:37 AM

Egad. How humiliating... manipulated by a wily attorney... again :D

Posted by: Cassandra at May 5, 2006 08:46 AM

Daaaaam Spd!

"(Unless you live in New London, I don’t want to hear about Kelo.)"

You're kidding, right? What is the most basic principle in our society that is the core foundation of the Republic? Property ownership. Correct? Well, there are over 10,000 cases of eminent domain abuse since SCOTUS ruled, incorrectly, on Kelo. That's TEN THOUSAND Spd. I don't live in New London but By God that gets my boxers in a bunch!


Go to that site and click on their interactive map. There's a reason so many state legislatures are making laws to stop SCOTUS. And you see no reason for oversight? Hell, even the bedwetters want some type of oversight so SCOTUS won't "steal" another election. Heh, this might be the ONLY thing that IS bipartisan! Shoot, we can't even fight a war with bipartisan support but this issure of activist benches has gotten totally out of hand!

Ginsburg needs to get laid! Who'll volunteer? Step up men, it's for the good of the Republic! :-o

Anyone working on that 3rd Party yet? ;-)

Posted by: JarheadDad at May 5, 2006 09:06 AM

Anyone working on that 3rd Party yet? ;-)

Fricking Democrats... :D

Posted by: Cassandra at May 5, 2006 09:17 AM

Dagnabit, Spd! You are supposed to transmit the super-secret signal when you are only Cass-baiting! The other members of the Lodge are not happy with your disregard of Cass-baiting protocol.

Posted by: a former european at May 5, 2006 02:39 PM


Haven't you figured out that he is *always* in Cass-baiting mode? Maybe it would be more efficient if he notifies us if he is ever not in Cass-baiting mode.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 5, 2006 02:47 PM

As Justices O'Connor and Ginsburg frame the problem, we have only two choices: (a) unquestioned judicial supremacy, to which the rest of society, including elected leaders, must submit; or (b) dictatorship by someone else, with threats to the life of any Supreme Court justice who doesn't submit.

If this is really what they believe, then it shows they can't imagine any sort of political system except a dictatorship. How can we expect them to rule in accord with a Constitution that establishes a republican form of government, if they can't even conceive that such a polity as possible?

Posted by: pj at May 5, 2006 02:51 PM

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