In One Eye

Friday, April 15, 2005
From today's Los Angeles Times:
In the last half-century, conservative politicians have mounted three dramatically different attacks on the federal judiciary ... The third attack ... is the most worrisome: a large-scale challenge to judicial independence, and we are now in the midst of it ...

[M]any conservative politicians want judges to read the Constitution, and the law in general, as if it fits with the Republican Party platform. After all, Republican presidents have succeeded in reconstructing the federal judiciary so that it is dominated by handpicked GOP appointees ... Why shouldn't Republicans take advantage of their dominance of the judiciary to ensure that their preferred policies are implemented by courts?

The problem, as the legal battle over Terri Schiavo demonstrated, is that whatever their politics, judges are unlikely to ignore the law. In that case, the law clearly did not authorize federal judges to order Schiavo's feeding tube reinserted—but some Republicans are outraged that the judges did not have it reinserted anyway. On Wednesday, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay instructed the Judiciary Committee to investigate federal court decisions in the Schiavo case.

The attack on the judges who refused to order the feeding tube reinserted may be trivial by itself. But it is of a piece with something much more important. In recent years, some conservative politicians have been insisting that federal judges should strike down affirmative action programs, protect commercial advertising, invalidate environmental regulations, allow the president to do whatever he likes in the war on terrorism, use the Constitution to produce tort reform, invalidate gun control regulation, invalidate campaign finance laws and much more—regardless of whether they can find solid justification for these steps in our founding document.

... What we are seeing, for the first time, is a fundamental challenge to the rule of law itself.
As I've said before, one of the real dangers of the Bushies is that they are trying to change our society into one of men and not of laws. This article seems to point out that danger.