Sunday, January 31, 2010

Time to go

Around the web, people keep writing that we must enact legislation to counteract the recent Supreme Court decision on campaign contributions. What's the point of a new law? The Supreme Court determines the constitutionality of laws. If you don't like the Court's decision -- and I sure as hell don't -- then you must agree on the need for either a new Constitution or a new court.

I'm not saying that we should chuck our current Constitution and start afresh. But we can renew it with an amendment which makes clear that corporations are not natural persons. Even the Supremes won't be able to eff with that.

As for a new court: This is one area where I still retain hope that Obama will do the correct thing, as opposed to the right(-wing) thing. Say what you will about Sotomayor: She ain't no Scalia.

Justice John Paul Stevens, perhaps the most liberal of the Supremes (despite being appointed by Gerry Ford!), is 89. He is, by all accounts, still quite alert and intellectually active. But Obama will probably be a one-termer, and Stevens cannot be expected to remain alert and active beyond the next Republican presidency, which will probably begin in January, 2013. The Gingrich administration (Huckabee administration? Palin?) will probably last until 2021 -- grisly thought, eh wot? -- at which point Justice Stevens will be 100 years old, presuming that he and the Republic have managed to survive. If he cares about liberal values, he must step down.

This year.

If he waits until 2011, Obama's nominee will have to be confirmed by a Republican Congress. At least, that's the way to bet. Those senators won't be in any mood to play Let's Make a Deal.

But even if Stevens is replaced by someone like unto Stevens, the Supreme Court is still weighted toward the right. In order to change the balance of power, one of the right-wing justices must retire as well.

The two oldest right-wingers are Anthony Kennedy and Antonin Scalia, both 73. Kennedy is considered a swing vote, although he usually swings right, or right-ish. He is, however, good on gay rights and (usually) good on abortion rights. Personally, I would prefer for Kennedy to stay.

As for Scalia -- oh, how I wish that someone could convince him to spend the rest of his days fishing. He's an ultra-conservative Catholic. Maybe one of our fine Marian visionaries (we have so many these days) can bring back a message from on high, telling Scalia that God wants him to quit his day job and become a professional bowler?

Clarence Thomas, some will be sorry to hear, is a spritely 61. He'll be regaling us with his puckish good humor for a long time to come.

Actually, the second-oldest Justice is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 76. I like her just fine. But maybe she should step down during this administration as well.

Would Obama dare to swing right in his next nomination? At this point, little would surprise me. But I still doubt that he would dare to piss off the Democratic base to that degree.

Then again, even I, cynic that I am, doubted that he would piss off the base to the degree that he has.

One virtue of enacting a new law: It allows us to stall for time. A case challenging that law would probably take years to reach the Supremes. I still say our best bet is to amend the Constitution. And, y'know, maybe try that "message from Mary" gambit. Couldn't hurt.
Obama worry about his support from his base? What base? What worry? He shows, just like everyone else, what his concerns are by what he responds to. What, with all the upward ticks of unemployment, foreclosures, plunging economy...shit, not to mention the suffering going on because of it all, and his response is to have a staged gambit with the bad Republicans to show he's on your side?

I'm going to go eat some of that specially named cereal shown on the Chappelle show that also conveniently expresses my sentiment towards Obama's worry .
Normally Scalia although very smart turns my stomach. I wish he would write a book and move on to the lecture circuit and make his gazillions.

That said, there is an interesting case before the court now involving civil commitment of sex offenders that I think he is on the right side of.

Essentially the Federal government's argument in the case is that it should have the right to commit people civilly for life for crimes they might commit in the future.

Scalia is arguing against the law using a states rights argument saying it is up to the states to deal with this issue and this is a prescription for federalizing all crimes.

The liberal courts justices including Ginsberg and Kennedy are poo pooing this comparing sex offenders to a disease person that has to be confined.

If the law is allowed to stand the government can then use this argument in other circumstances to civilly commit for life other people it believes might commit a crime. All the people in Guantanamo fit that bill. Anyone could fit the bill.

Although this now only affects sex offenders, a very unpopular group to say the least, this acceptance of the concept of preventing crime by committing people before they commit it, is undermining basic protections in our criminal justice system (ex post facto law, double jeopardy etc.) and the liberals are going along with it.

So who knows whose time it is to go.
Joseph, in spite of all the democracy-loving flag waving in the
State of the Union speech, people are going to get angrier as he flip-flops on all of the important ones. He's losing dems and indys by
the hour. I believe he was placed in power to help destroy the Democratic party. If he does have an opportunity to seat another SC Justice, it damn sure won't be one who will help the left.

Excellent piece. We are in such a quandary here. With this latest insane ruling we need to get that court corrected sooner rather than later. What are they going to overturn next? This is the most radical group ever. We have now been put in a position that whatever Democrat runs for President next term we have to vote for them.

The declaration that enemy combatants are non-humans so we can ignore the Geneva Convention and thus torture them is completely insane. Endowing corporations with the right of free speech is mind boggling stupid and could have disastrous consequences. The concept of signing statements and the President being above the law is insane as well.

The constitution clearly states that a President can be impeached and removed from office if he commits high crimes and misdemeanors. The founding fathers certainly didn't believe in that garbage. This court is systematically dismantling all of our civil freedoms.

Personally, I don't know if we passed an Amendment concerning corporations it would do much good as the Supreme Court is charged with interpreting the law. Even a clearly spelled out law is dicey with this bunch. The only real solution is to change the make-up of the court. Lets just hope that Roberts, Scalia and Thomas all get caught with kiddy porn or something of that nature. Then impeachment is on the table. Oh, that is right we are hoping that our Democratic Congress would have to show some spine.
omg, Joseph. Do you have to be so clear-sightedly and depressingly on target all the time? Well, most of the time! ;p
I'm curious how many blogging pundits who supported Hillary Clinton would be willing to publicly state they want her to run in 2012.
Just from passing conversations in the street and so forth I think former Obama supporters are starting to consider Hillary in 2012.

A lot of people secretly hate successful women and thus hate her-you can't reach them. But the independents that supported Obama are moving away from him-fast. I think that Hillary could be our next president.

You go girl!
->To Snowflake:8:21AM
... "and the liberals are going along with it."

“You have not alleged that this person was dealing in drugs, right?” Judge Headley said.
“No,” Gambill responded.
“We alleged this money was being transported for the purpose of being used to be involved in a drug transaction.”
Incredibly, Gambill was arguing that the county could seize Smelley’s money for a crime that hadn’t yet been committed.
... the “future crimes” argument.
The "future crimes" or "possible crimes" is an issue that both sides ought to agree on, because it's utter bullshit and it's spreading, and whether you call it nanny state or police state it's the opposite of "innocent until proven guilty."

Child rape ought to carry a life sentence without parole, and that will take care of that....except that we have to make sure teen-agers don't get swept into that category by consensual sex with other teenagers.

All the other bullcrap, like "First Amendment Zones" where protesters are corralled away from the politicians they are protesting, and random road blocks, and unreliable breath devices on cars (it's coming, people...and just wait until all these cars randomly stop working on the roadways!) meant to "prevent" problems are utterly unacceptable.
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