Democratic Underground

Rehnquist's Strange Logic
January 3, 2002
by Bob Volpitto

In a January 1 article appearing in the Washington Post, Chief Justice William Rehnquist lamented that by delaying confirmation of Bush's reactionary-bent judicial nominees the Democratic-controlled Senate "hurt war on terror." Is it axiomatic to say that the Republican-controlled Senate's obstruction of confirmation of Clinton's Progressive/Liberal judges provided an open door to terrorist activities?

Nonsense, Mr. Chief Justice. It's all over ideology.

Judges are appointed for life terms, as you well know. Their rulings determine the course of this nation's future. This assumption is no better illustrated in the Supreme Court's edicts of December 2000 when first there was a stay order that prevented further vote counting in Florida and the subsequent 5-4 decision to anoint Bush president on very weak arguments of equal protection and irreprable harm to their favorite candidate if all Florida votes were counted based on voter intent.

The Chief Justice further laments that the lack of lower court judges will prevent the Supreme Court from hearing more cases. Let me remind the Chief Justice that the Supreme Court has the option to hear or not to hear any case it chooses. In fact, statistics show that historically the Court only hears one percent of cases that come before it - that's one out of hundred brought to it for an appelate decision, rejecting the rest.

Rehnquist further implored that we must return to the rule of law which he and four other justices violated in their December rulings more than a year ago. Ideology, with feeble arguments to support it, supplanted the rule of law during the search to insure a free election and reporting an honest result.

Too, this court has back-slid on its once strong opinions favoring federalism and judicial restraint - both favored tenets of political faith of the current occupant of the White House (or so we have been led to believe). We now have rulings that favor federalism when it suits and are subject to Reactionary Judicial Activism when deemed necessary to advance a personal point of view. How convenient.

So, Mr. Chief Justice, it ill behooves you to lecture the Senate on judicial appointments or proclaim a narrow interpretation of Constitutional law that you and four other justices bent to suit your personal political viewpoint. You may consider your position a mere half step below Solomon's when it comes to issuing judicial decrees but you are no less human than the rest of us who view politics a human endeavor.

The rulings that were benchmarks of shame in years past in the Dred-Scott case of 1857 and the Plessy-Ferguson case 1892 are no less blots on the Court's integrity than those issued in December 2000. Weep all you may, sir, for stalled nominations in today's Senate, but these senators are only trying to deny more injustice.

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