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Liberty Lost

Saturday, September 30, 2006

With the passage of the Military Tribunal Act of 2006, and the pending passage of warrantless surveillance, I felt compelled to create the following...
As an added bonus (or, if you prefer, a kick in the you-know-what's), I read that on Friday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told federal judges that they shouldn't substitute their personal views for the president's judgments in wartime. Quoting from the article:
He said the Constitution makes the president commander in chief and the Supreme Court has long recognized the president's pre-eminent role in foreign affairs. "The Constitution, by contrast, provides the courts with relatively few tools to superintend military and foreign policy decisions, especially during wartime," the attorney general told a conference on the judiciary at Georgetown University Law Center.
"Judges must resist the temptation to supplement those tools based on their own personal views about the wisdom of the policies under review," Gonzales said.
Got that? He just told them to butt-the-hell-out. He then goes on to explain that judges are not immune from public criticism and that more states should move away from having judges stand in partisan elections to keep their seats. In such contested elections, "most of the contributions come from lawyers and law firms, many of whom have had, or will have, cases before the court," Gonzales said. "The appearance of a conflict of interest is difficult to dismiss." Again from the article:
He noted favorably that some states have adopted other ways of picking judges, including merit selection and appointment with simple up-or-down retention elections rather than contested campaigns. With polls showing many voters think judges can be swayed by campaign contributions, Gonzales said, "If Americans come to believe that judges are simply politicians, or their decisions can be purchased for a price, state judicial systems will be undermined."
The unspoken other part of that last sentence that I'm sure was heard loud and clear by all in attendance was, "which would force the Federal government to step in with uniform guidelines for all the states when it comes to selecting judges." Strong-arm tactics, anyone?
"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us."
~Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas


Blogger Mark said...

Of course judges should not make decisions based on their own views of the law. They should make them based on George Bush's view of the law. How could Americans possibly think that judges are simply politcians when the President, for example, appoints Supreme Court Justices based purely on politics.

And judges shouldn't be elected by the people based on the judges' views of the law. After all, we're only handing over our liberties to these judges, so why should we have any say in the matter. No, judges should be appointed according to merit. Of course, merit is in the eye of the beholder and, in this case, merit means what some politician(s) think is good for them. That's why the Supreme Court is so steadfast in protecting individual rights, as in the Kelo decision. The individuals who are protected by the Courts are those who appoint the judges.

So the whole thing makes sense if you want judges who are subservient to their political masters but not to the people.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Don Bangert said...

Clear and succinct; as always, Mark, you're spot on.

6:36 AM  

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