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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Losing to Win - or Why OZ was a Republican

The way that Republicans are crying/crowing about seven judges, you’d think that the whole world was depending on their approval. Well, it might be.

Okay, maybe the whole world is a bit of exaggeration. Just this country, and specifically, just the entire judiciary.

I blogged recently that I feared that Democrats in New Jersey were taking a short view of the gubernatorial race. I also feel like they are doing it on the national scale as well. While Harry Reid is working to hold up judicial nominations – which I applaud him for – a bad bankruptcy bill ends up becoming law. While we are worried about whether John Bolton should be our face at the UN – and he shouldn’tMedicaid is being eviscerated. It’s the legislative equivalent of being stunned by the Mighty Oz – and the guy behind the curtain is lining us up in the sights of his nice shiny sniper rifle.

Notice that I didn’t say Dems were being distracted by non-important things. What I’m saying is that some very important things are slipping by – and largely because Dems are afraid of being “obstructionist”. Hellfire and brimstone! Obstructionist is just what they need to be! If it weren’t for the obstructionist Winston Churchill, Britain might be engaged in an internal debate to give up the Deutschmark instead of clinging to the pound.

Let’s all remember how sickly our venerable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is. He missed deliberations and abstained from voting in several cases this year because he was too sick to attend the hearings – and there have been some pretty heavy cases this year. I’ve heard of people having “one foot in the grave” before, but this guy only has one foot on the surface – and the Grim Reaper is stomping his little-old-man toes mercilessly.

Everyone expects Antonin Scalia – the duck-hunting, Vice-Presidential boot-licker, to be the next Chief Justice. He may be. As much as I despise him, he’s got the credentials. So long as there is enough balance on the Court to drown out the extremism he spouts, it’s okay. But Sandra Day O’Connor is also rumored to be ready to retire. That means there may be two seats coming open in the next three years.

I’m willing to give even money on John Cornyn for one of those seats. The Republican Senator from (gag – I feel dirty admitting it) Texas has some hefty credentials. A member of the Armed Forces, Judiciary, and Budget committees, a sitting member of the Senate, and a former Texas Attorney General and Supreme Court Justice, he definitely has the experience to claim a nomination. It would be almost inconceivable for him to not be confirmed.

If only he weren’t a member of the right wing nutjobs, I’d be fine with it. Cornyn, if you remember, was the one claiming that it was understandable why people would want to kill federal judges (I think he’ll change his mind if he joins that group). He was one of the most vocal supporters of Republican efforts to “save” Terri Schiavo. He regularly meets with Religious Right leaders in order to remain fully brain-washed into the paranoia of their particular non-Biblical religion.

In fact, the only reason Cornyn looks moderate is because Texas is home to true nut-jobs like Rick Perry.

Of course, Republicans are covering their tracks early by claiming that it is Democrats who are politicizing the judicial nominee process. Excuse me, Mr. Mental Midget, but it isn’t the Democrats who are loading the nomination process with ideologues who put blind adherence to ideology above rule of law or – gasp – reality. Democrats are doing the only thing they can do – use Senate rules (the same rules Republicans approved) to slow down the process and try to bring enough public attention to the problem to get the President to back down.

There’s only one problem. This President doesn’t back down. He didn’t do it when lives were at stake over the invasion of Iraq. He doesn’t do it when soldiers come home dead and he won’t even meet the families of the soldiers he sent to die when their fallen loved-ones are repatriated to American soil. He won’t even do it when even the dullest second-grader knows his Social Security plan doesn’t have a shot in Hell.

My belief is that he just doesn’t care enough about anyone else but himself to do so. Changing your mind means that you put someone else’s well-being ahead of your own ideas. I haven’t seen a shred of that in the Bush Presidency. I don’t look for it in the judicial nomination process.

If I’m right about John Cornyn coveting the Supreme Court seat – before the seat is even cold – then we shouldn’t look for it from the Court for the next couple of decades, either.

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