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Independence, Justice, Modesty

As Gentle Readers may have sensed, Your Humble Blogger is not paying quite as close attention to matters national and international as I might were I not packing up house. I haven’t much to say about Our Only President’s choice of nominee for the Supreme Court, preferring, as Mark Schmitt advises, to take the hearings seriously enough to wait for them. The one thing that worried me, really, is that Judge Roberts has such an extensive experience arguing Supreme Court cases for the executive that he will instinctively favor the White House when it clashes with the legislature or with the Constitution. That in itself wouldn’t be horrendous, as there are Justices who clearly distrust the executive to balance it out, but it comes in a context of an administration gathering power closer and closer not just to the executive branch but to the person of the President.

In this morning’s Times, Arlen Specter writes about Bringing the Hearings to Order, and relates that “[Judge Roberts’] goal was to be a modest jurist on a modest court that understands its place in the balance of powers inherent in our Constitution.” That sounds unobjectionable, but to my ears it pretty much screams that Our Only President wants the Court to act as his lap dog. The Court has stood up to some of the worst and most obvious foulnesses of this administration, in some cases calling a spade a spade. That must continue. An independent judiciary is as important to a republic as elections; attacks on the judiciary’s independence are attacks on the republic. One toady on the court over the next twenty years could swing us into fascism proper.

I know this is a highly abstract thing to worry about, when there will be more immediate problems that will actually affect people’s lives and liberties. But Our Only President is, in fact, Our Only President, legitimately inaugurated, and therefore it would be foolish to expect a competent, thoughtful, long-sighted, compassionate nominee. We (and by we I mean the Democratic Party in alliance with the half of the country that distrusts Our Only President and his secretive cabal of incompetents and crooks) can’t force such a nominee. What some of us can do is alert people to dangers we see upcoming, and possibly use the hearings to call the nominee to his better self.

chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek,


and possibly use the hearings to call the nominee to his better self.

That seems overly optimistic. The hearings will be carefully managed theater. The minority opposing Judge Roberts will be too small to have any power at all, and everyone will know it. Judge Roberts will not care one whit whether he is confirmed 55-45, 70-30, or 95-5. The old notions that a higher confirmation margin indicates a higher trust or that a nominee must demonstrate actual deference to the body deciding on his confirmation are obsolete. The Republican leadership is in fact encouraging the nominee not to show any deference whatsoever to the Senate, thereby castrating themselves in the long run. And a nominee who has been coached for weeks or months to ignore those who would be in a position to encourage moderation or temperance will never hear the call to his better self let alone heed it, even if some Senator were so responsible as to issue such a call.

clark kent, avid reader of rand and nietzsche, experiences a psychotic break and lives his entire life as if he were in fact physically, mentally, and morally superhuman.

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