04 September, 2005

In Search Of Rehnquist

Another major story: The Chief just passed away. Or, in the newspeak that the Court's spokesperson used, "a precipitous decline in his health in the last couple of days..."

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?

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.


Anonymous said...

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.

That's fine with me, as long as women's opinions shouldn't really matter in the great scheme of just about everything else. Since men build the world and do most of the work, women shouldn't have anything to say about that.

BTW, nice smackdown of that piece of shit Amanda at Pandagon. The poor little bitch is just concerned that those terrible anti-birth control people will go into her house and raid her ass when she's having sex with her make-believe "Latino" boyfriend. Hahah!

Jack Roy said...

You get some classy visitors here, you know that?

Yes, Amanda was being foolish. It's her lot in life. But so many of the people who get really exercised over her foolishness are just jerks. (Witness the above.)

Gotta agree with Ezra, for a different reason. Senate Dems now have an opportunity to demand a two-nomination deal; one moderate, and then one conservative. Add that to the president's approval in free-fall, and overall liberals are probably better off with respect to the Court than we were last week.

Off Colfax said...

Jack, at least it's not comment spam. And I don't take anyone seriously unless they're willing to sign their name to the post. Anonymous commenting is just a cowardly way out, particularly with a flame in it. If people don't have the testicular fortitude to put their name (or even their regular pseudonym) on their comments, than pretty much anything they say gets tossed out the window.

And yes, Democrats have the opportunity to demand a deal like that. The only problem is that I have extreme doubt that the man in the White House would be willing to make such a deal. We won't see split nominations this year and God help us if we end up with Souter retiring as well. That would pretty much cut us off at the neck.

Jack Roy said...

Yeah. Well, as Democrats once were willing to say, bring it on. If POTUS doesn't want to make a deal, he can enjoy the executive privilege of having his keister handed to him on a platter. A man with under-40% ratings doesn't get to push people around. And if GOP Senators want to rope themselves to the president's legacy, I thoroughly look forward to the midterm elections.

I hadn't heard any rumors of Souter retiring---is that new?

Off Colfax said...

Souter is fairly high up on my looking-at-retirement list. In fact, I was thinking that Souter would retire before O'Connor did, simply by looking at the box scores. After him goes Ginsburg and Scalia. (Yes, he's starting to feel his age rather than his oats these days.)

And as for Bush, look at it this way. He's already a lame duck, so why should he care about his approval ratings? He can do pretty much whatever he wants and all he has to worry about is the ranting of the punditry. Any bill he wants to veto, he can. Anyone he wants to nominate, he can. Any trails he wants to have a bike crash on... No, I won't go that far. Leave that extreme snark to Atrios.

Bush has absolute freedom right now, and moreso than either Reagan or Clinton had at this point in their terms. Why? Because those two had to split the power between both parties, due to the fact the other one had control of at least one house of Congress. Bush has both houses, plus a 55% share of the Judiciary. And that goes right down the line of the infamous quote from a Nixon staffer, "Power corrupts, but absolute power is actually pretty neat!"