And before I go any further, I need to say this. We lost a good American tonight. A good man, even though I disagreed with many of his positions, has left his mark and legacy in almost every facet of American life over the last 30 years. And we, for the most part, are the better for it. Thank you, Chief. And rest well. You have earned it.
Unfortunately, there's a bunch of folks out there in Kosland that don't feel that way. I'd copy/paste some of their comments, but I'd have to have my eyes surgically removed before I could look myself in the mirror. (Don't worry if you can't understand that one immediately. Just sleep on it. It'll come to you.) May they be impaled on this work of art. Multiple times. With a hot sulphuric acid bath to help increase the pain.
And almost everyone on my blogroll has refrained from making a thorough comment, instead relying on a simple linkthrough to the New York Times article. (And yes, I am deliberately leaving out Amanda's angst-filled rantings over at Pandagon. If you're curious, click through yourself. I refuse to give that twit any more trackbacks than I can help.) Well, they tend to post multiple times per day rather than the two-days-per-post schedule that I seem to be keeping to these days, so I can understand the typist's cramps catching them on this one.
In fact, the only one with any substantial comment was Ezra. So I'll start by quoting his more intricate comments:
• My instant read of the nomination landscape is that this makes the appointment of an extremist harder, not easier. Because Roberts is basically sailing towards confirmation, he can be used as "acceptable contrast" with a nutcase. Since Dems are already confirming one nominee, terming them obstructionist would be almost impossible.
• I wouldn't be surprised to see Bush put Roberts up for Chief Justice, simply because he looks confirmable, his paper trail is so short, there are so many more battles to fight, and Roberts is so young. Trying to run one confirmation battle, another confirmation battle, and dealing with a war over the elevation of Scalia or Thomas to Chief would be an almost impossible task.
First off, he seems to be under the impression that the President won't simply push for someone even more conservative to sit on the Bench instead of coming out with an olive branch for the moderates and liberals out there. Second, Democrats are in the minority, and therefore it is our bounden duty to be obstructionist, any hopes to the contrary being well and truly denied. And third, what the President wants, we have come to find out, the President goes ahead and does, so the chances to see a confirmation of either Scalia or Thomas to the middle of the Bench are still quite high. (And, in further thought, if the President continues on his traditional path, he'd be more likely to give the nod to Thomas. Just look at his Cabinet to see the examples.)
Now, what does this actually mean for the important issues for the social liberals out there?
Roe will be relatively safe, as the last major test went through with a 6-3 majority. O'Connor's slot will be lost and Rehnquist's will remain the same, leaving Roe with a 5-4 majority. Exactly how those votes will fall into place is not something I'm willing (or qualified) to predict, but there will be no complete ban of abortion during this upcoming Court. And even more telling, the restrictions placed on the "sidewalk counciling" of people near abortion clinics are completely and totally safe, such as Hill v. Colorado and Schenck v. Pro Choice Network of Western New York.
Privacy in specifics, however, is a completely different subject. With Roberts being an outspoken foe of the right to privacy, and both Rehnquist and O'Connor being supporters (although oftimes lukewarm) of the concept, the odds of a pro-privacy ruling are getting fairly steep. Especially with the recent case in Minnesota which ruled that the existance of PGP software on a computer indicated the possibility that a crime was being premeditated. (Of course, this was a child pornographer that should have been nailed to the nearest river abatement. By his testicles. During flood season.) And now that the Court's make-up is changing severely, there might just be a few appeals coming down the turnpike that will bring this issue, and others like it, into the foreground.
And last, everyone's favorite: gay marriage. Why some folks are considering this the death knell for the "gay equality" movement is beyond me. My read of the former Court was that there was a 5-4 majority against them in the first place. With O'Connor gone and Roberts a shoo-in, that swings to a 6-3, and may God save them if they try to butt heads against that steel wall. The death knell for the "gay equality" movement has been ringing for a while now, which is why so few people hear it anymore. We've gotten used to the background noise.
And that's it in a nutshell. There are quite a few more issues that I could easily put in here, but I need some sleep eventually.
P.S.: Just so something is perfectly clear, here's where I stand on the issues.
Abortion: Yes, I am against abortion as a form of birth control. No, I am not against it for definitive health reasons, whether life-threatening or quality-of-life-threatening, for either the mother or the fetus. No, I am not agaisnt it in situations of rape or incest. And no, I'm not against most parental notification laws. Then again, I don't have ovaries, so my opinions (like any male out there) shouldn't really matter in the great scheme of things.
Privacy: This one is a no-brainer. Stay out of my private life. Period. Ad infinitum. Ad astra. Ad nauseum. Forever and ever. Omayn. And you can take my privacy out of my cold, dead hands. This is the one issue where I'd stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone on, regardless of their political stripe, or even repugnant body odor and oozing sores.
Gay Rights: On this, I really don't care. I really don't. Part of me says the typical straight-male line of "I don't want to see it. Unless they're lesbians." But the rest of me feels the same as with privacy. Who cares what someone does in the comforts of their own four walls with other consenting adults (or at least those over the age of consent in whatever jurisdiction they are in). If it does no harm to the people involved and does no damage to property, there's no reason to go and make laws against it.