Wednesday, May 07, 2008

McCain And Hangin' Judge J.R. - Perfect Together

So “Senator Honor And Virtue” criticized Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for very wisely opposing the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court (a related post is here; glad the two Dem nominees weren’t in that group of 22 senators who caved).

And of course, this gives John W. McBush all the opportunity he needs to crow to the conservative “base” about how he would appoint “non-activist” judges were he the winner of the November election (God help us).

Well, I think Christy Hardin Smith at firedoglake here pretty much “took down” that farcical label here. And in a link to a New York Times editorial nested in her post, we learn that…

A new study supports our fears: Supreme Court nominees present themselves one way at confirmation hearings but act differently on the court.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, for example, told the Senate that they had strong respect for Supreme Court precedents. On the court they were the justices most likely to vote to overturn those precedents.
And what of the Hangin’ Judge J.R. court then, of which McCain is so enamored? Well, from here, we learn that it…

  • Voted to severely limit the ability of women who were unlawfully denied equal pay for equal work, and other victims of wage discrimination under Title VII, to obtain back pay (Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.)

  • Voted to strike down the voluntary integration plans of two public school districts, undermining the ability of school boards to promote racial diversity in their schools (Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1)

  • Voted to limit the ability of federal taxpayers to challenge government expenditures that violate the Establishment Clause, undermining the separation of church and state (Hein v. Freedom From Religion Foundation)

  • Voted to uphold the federal ban on so-called “partial birth” abortions, despite the absence of an exception in the law to protect a woman’s health (Gonzales v. Carhart)

  • Voted to deny free speech protections to government employee internal whistleblowers (Garcetti v. Ceballos)

  • Voted to undermine the Endangered Species Act (National Association of Home Builders v. Defenders of Wildlife)
  • And let's not forget the recent farce of the Indiana Voter ID ruling also.

    And from the Caucus link, we learn the following from commenter Fran N…

  • Justices Loosen Restrictions on Campaign Ads 5-4 [“The Supreme Court today loosened the restrictions on what companies and unions can spend on television advertisements just before elections, and in so doing may well have affected the thinking of political strategists for the 2008 elections.” NYT] (Argued April 25, 2007—Decided June 25, No. 06–969. 2007* Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas)

  • Justices Limit Student’s Speech Rights 5-4 [“…the court found that a high school principal and school board did not violate a student’s rights by punishing him for displaying the words “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” on a banner across the street from the school as the 2002 Olympic torch parade went by.” NYT] No. 06–278. 2007-Roberts, Scalia, (Argued March 19, 2007—Decided June 25, Thomas, Alito, Kennedy)
  • And as far as those who would be “waiting in the wings” for McCain were he given the chance to name them to the bench, we have the following…

  • William Pryor, who voted in a similar manner as the majority of The Supremes did in the Ledbetter case, and also ruled to deny adoption rights to same-sex couples.

  • Priscilla Owen, who voted to overturn a $3.5 million jury verdict in favor of a woman who was the victim of medical malpractice, on the ground that she should have known sooner that the drug doctors prescribed for her during her pregnancy could have caused her serious heart and lung problems even though her doctors themselves claimed that the drug did nothing to cause her injuries (try figuring that one out – The Eternal Molly Ivins absolutely despised her as a judge, and for good reason).

  • Janice Rogers Brown (D.C. Cir.), who tried to rewrite legal protection for employees against sexual harassment under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, explicitly contradicting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and several previous court decisions (Lutkewitte v. Gonzales); she also has ruled that the EPA doesn’t have the right to regulate vehicle emissions.
  • And I’m sure that, in a McCain presidency, we would also see the return of individuals such as Miguel Estrada, a lawyer and member of the Federalist Society who has never served as a judge, and who withdrew his name from consideration for the D.C. Court of Appeals in September 2003 (despite the outcry from conservative stalwarts such as Orrin Hatch, Bushco didn’t even go to the trouble of requiring Estrada to complete a job application, as noted by former Dem Senate leader Tom Daschle – I’ll never forget the supremely arrogant look on Estrada’s face as all of this played out at his hearing).

    Why does all of this matter exactly, you ask? Well, as this People for the American Way post tells us, The Supremes have the potential to rule on a wide range of issues (some of which was already noted), including civil rights, the environment, free speech, gun control, choice of course, immigrant rights, religious liberty, public education, workers’ rights, disability rights, privacy rights, and campaign finance reform (just for starters).

    And this Open Left link tells us that the matter of the composition of our courts, in particular our highest one, can “galvanize Democrats as no other can” (and more reasons to be concerned are here).

    So for that reason, we should probably encourage that “straight-talking maverick” to expound on this matter every chance we get. It will emphasize even more that the enemy is not either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, but the senator from Arizona who would continue the catastrophic Bushco reign for at least four more years.

    Update: I've had issues with Nat Hentoff in the past, but I think he's spot-on here.

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