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Thoughts on Repubicans, Democrats, and the Supreme Court - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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June 26th, 2007


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01:30 am - Thoughts on Repubicans, Democrats, and the Supreme Court
I know a number of people who claim that there is little difference between the two parties, and very few actual progressive can fail to be dismayed at how little the Democrats in the House and the Senate are doing to restrain the current madness of the Executive Branch. However, addition to several very important and wonderful bills that have passed since Democrats gained control of both the legislature and the governorship of Oregon, any thoughts about the difference between having a Republican or a Democrat as president need go no further than an examination of recent decisions by the Supreme Court. In addition to the vile "partial birth" abortion decision, we had three decisions today (described briefly in a sidebar of the above link) about campaign finance reform, separation of church and state, and free speech in public schools, all three are worth looking into further and all three are bad news. All three were also 5-4 decisions, and like almost all of the other 5-4 decisions of this most recent court, we have the five Republican-appointed justices vs. the four Democrat-appointed ones.

In my opinion, Bill Clinton was a mealy-mouthed pseudo-liberal, but he also appointed Supreme Court justices who almost always vote in the best interests of the nation and its citizens. In vivid contrast, the last three Republican presidents have mostly appointed truly vile individuals (O'Connor was the only partial exception, and she has retired, leaving only a group of evil old men) and when we have a 5-4 Conservative/Liberal split, the result is never a good thing for the nation. In short, anyone who claims that there is no difference between having a Republican or a Democrat as president is either lying or willfully blind. I'm hoping we actually get someone at least vaguely liberal as president in 2008 (to me, Edwards looks like the best choice of any of the candidates who actually have a chance, since it's far from clear to me what Obama is actually for), but even if it's Clinton, whose views are very much those of a pseudo-liberal, I also have confidence that she will appoint people at least as competent and humane as her husband did, and that alone is a reason to vote for her or Obama.
Current Mood: angryangry

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Comments:


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From:used_songs
Date:June 26th, 2007 10:49 am (UTC)
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I was shocked and horrified as I drove home from school yesterday listening to the npr announcer discuss the most recent Supreme Court decisions. This country just gets scarier every day.
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From:antayla
Date:June 26th, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC)
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Y'know, I didn't think the partial birth abortion ban was *so* bad (but certainly not good) until I read an awful story about a woman who wanted to carry to term but the baby was defective and she just managed to get the baby aborted before the ban came down. She's trying again, and won't know if this birth will be a success until much later in her term. I guess not everyone has the advantage of knowing if they really want a baby until later on. Anyway, I guess this just means more people will have to go to Canada to have the procedure done.

That bit about the state regulating student speech about illegal drugs is PURE BULLSHIT. If you can't talk about the law, how can you change the law?
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From:johnaegard
Date:June 26th, 2007 04:50 pm (UTC)
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All three were also 5-4 decisions, and like almost all of the other 5-4 decisions of this most recent court, we have the five Republican-appointed justices vs. the four Democrat-appointed ones.


Not true. David Souter was a Bush I nominee. John Paul Stephens was nominated by Gerald Ford.

That said, I agree with your general point, in that I'd be much happier with a Democratic president stocking the Supreme Court than a Republican.
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From:heron61
Date:June 26th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
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I completely misremembered about Stephens, I thought he was a Carter appointee, which is especially embarrassing given that I went to high school with his daughter. In looking up info about the justices, I was saddened to realize he's 87. Hopefully his replacement will be appointed by a democrat.
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From:jakesquid
Date:June 26th, 2007 08:24 pm (UTC)

O'Connor gets no points from me

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She was the deciding vote in Bush v Gore and, as far as I can tell, for personal, political reasons. Sure, she regrets it now after seeing what Shrubadminco has appointed in her place, but the blame is squarely on her.

The SCOTUS is what keeps the Democrats a consideration for my vote. But, as important as SCOTUS is, it does not make the decision of how to vote (for me) an easy one.

There is a simpler fix for SCOTUS, not that I believe it will be done in my lifetime. The problem now is that justices are being appointed at a much younger age than in the past and a lot of them are living longer than their predecessors. As a result, many of them will be sitting justices for 3 decades or more. I don't believe that this was ever the intent. It seems to me that SC justices were meant to be appointed later in life, after a distinguished lower court career, and to serve 10 to 20 years. Just change SC appointments to be 10 years and you don't have to live forever with the consequences of stacking the court.
[User Picture]
From:heron61
Date:June 26th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC)

Re: O'Connor gets no points from me

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She was the deciding vote in Bush v Gore and, as far as I can tell, for personal, political reasons. Sure, she regrets it now after seeing what Shrubadminco has appointed in her place, but the blame is squarely on her.

I completely agree. Overall, she was better than almost all the other Republican appointees of the last 27 years, but she was still a Republican appointee and so at best a dubious ally of humanity. I had not considered your point about Supreme Court terms, but it does make a great deal of sense.
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From:rhiannasilel
Date:June 27th, 2007 12:22 am (UTC)

Re: O'Connor gets no points from me

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I agree she definitely wasn't the best, but I think she became more liberal as she got a little older. Sometimes this happens. I remember when I was a kid, my mother was pretty conservative -- a democrat, but still conservative. She was anti-choice and even voted for Reagan. As she got a little older, though, and kind of re-examined the world she became much more staunchly democrat and pro-choice. I realize this doesn't happen all of the time, but people can change so I don't see why this isn't possible for a supreme court justice.

She may not have been the best justice out there, but eventually as time went on she did at least grow to have a few of her own opinions. I have to wonder and even hope that some of the Shrub appointees will do the same one day.
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From:rhiannasilel
Date:June 27th, 2007 12:15 am (UTC)
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The third ruling on this list regarding faith based initiatives is the one that concerns me the most. So if I need help for my son, does this mean that I have to take him to church to get it? This is ridiculous, it's conversion by force just like they do in many of the third world countries today. It's sick there and it's equally as sick here.

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