more about the assault on the judiciary…

Posted on Saturday 30 September 2006

For my last post, I read some of the ideas of Robert Bork, the Reagan nominee for the Supreme Court who was not confirmed by the Senate. One thing I read was the transcript of an interview with Bork at the Hoover Institute where he was a visiting fellow. Bork is also a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute, and a member of the Federalist Society [all Conservative "Think Tanks"]:

There are often said to be two competing schools for interpreting the meaning of the Constitution. On one side are those who believe that the meaning of the Constitution must evolve over time as society itself changes. On the other side are those who insist that the original intent of the framers of the Constitution—what they wrote and what their intent was in writing it—is all that matters. Robert Bork is firmly in the latter school.

When I read this opening paragraph, I was following what was being said until I got to the last sentence. It seemed backwards! Reading the rest of the interview didn’t clear anything up for me, but it did convince me that Bork believes something very passionately. His argument aside, it’s clear that he believes that the Supreme Court, the "Liberal Court" [of Earl Warren], has gotten way off track and is contributing to the moral decline of America. Here are his book titles:

  • The Antitrust Paradox
  • Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline
  • The Tempting of America
  • Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges
  • A Country I Do Not Recognize: The Legal Assault On American Values

Bork thinks that the Judiciary has set itself up as a legislative body that goes around the people. He advocates measures that would allow Congress to overturn the Court’s decisions. I’m going to skip his logic. Either I don’t understand it, or I don’t like it, or it doesn’t make any sense, or all the above. But his point is clear as a bell. He argues that the Court has usurped Democracy. In this piece, he uses three very familiar examples: Abortion, Homosexuality, and Religion. It’s pretty clear that he believes that the Court’s decisions are fostering a decline in American morality.

My understanding is that the Judicial Branch of the Federal Government was included as part of the system of Checks and Balances to insure that the "people," the voting majority, the Congress, did not abridge the Constitutional rights of individuals. Bork’s view is that the Court is simply a group that have the power to over-rule the people based on their own political agenda – in this case, a "liberal" political agenda. But in the end, his point is that the Court is fostering a general moral decline in our society. His ideas are so antithetical to my own, that he must be right, "liberals" see America differently, and I’m one of them. I think the Court is there to protect individual rights from the majority, a check that’s plenty important. I don’t think homosexuality has any thing to do with morality, and that homosexual unions are, if anything, a moral move forward. I don’t think abortion is a moral corruption. I think it is a pragmatic solution to unwanted pregnancy. I, of course, prefer other solutions. I don’t accept that religion is the moral high ground. Just read the paper. So I disagree with Robert Bork just like he would think I would, if he knew me.

My point in writing this is something else – something very else. This agenda is being pushed by a group of people who lurk in these ivory tower Conservative think tanks. Their rationalization for their ideas is that the Court is taking over for the will of the people which they claim to represent, fighting for some great moral cause. I’m damned if I can see any great moral surge coming out of their day in the sun. I see rampant corruption in Washington, rampant corporate greed including defense [offense] contractors, rampant government lies, American Imperialism, disdain for the rest of the world, racism, religious bigotry, torture, disregard for human rights – for starters. They claim to be championing the people – their people is more like it. And they’re destroying the Supreme Court and our Constitution in the process. Their logic is a rationalization to explain their elitist and fascist underpinnings as love of democracy.

I call foul!

But further, all of their issues revolve around regulating sexuality – other people’s sexuality. The Catholic Church has had a couple of centuries experience trying to regulate other people’s sexuality. Their results are a colassal failure. They can’t even control the sexuality of their own priests. So, I say that the neoconservatives, the Religious Right, and the Borks of the world are pushing a plan [claiming it has something to do with morality] that’s as doomed to failure as Mr. Bush’s War in Iraq. The biggest argument against their notions about religion, abortion, and homosexuality is that their solution has already failed in spades, hurt a lot of people in the process, and has, in fact, compounded the problems…

    October 1, 2006 | 6:46 PM

    Good post, old man. I especially like that you added the Habeus Corpus pic. Ideally, the court would be politically neutral, legal robots taking in cases on one side and spitting out decisions on the other. Since we don’t have those available yet, I think courts need to lean toward the liberal side to challenge the norm of conservativism.

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