Wednesday, May 7, 2008


judicial activism’s a good thing..[trb]

Obama spokesman ... "Barack Obama has always believed that our courts should stand up for social and economic justice, and what's truly elitist is to appoint judges who will protect the powerful and leave ordinary Americans to fend for themselves." [W]
BY Terry Bankert 5/7/08 early edition
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What McCain expects from federal judges[l] He pledges to nominate jurists who believe in 'clear limits to the scope of judicial power' and who are faithful to the Constitution.[l] These are code for he will deliver another 4 years of republican judicial de-activist.[trb] McCain said the difference between the parties on the courts is a defining issue for the November election. Experts expect as many as two to four vacancies on the Supreme Court, and who fills them could shift the court to the right or left for a generation.[n] Look what this republican big money little heart philosophy has gotten our country. We cannot let McCain in he will be the end of us. McCain is delusional. Some may not agree, [trb] But Sheldon Goldman, a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who has written extensively on judicial appointments, called McCain's speech worthy of "Alice in Wonderland" and said that many conservative jurists were themselves "activist" judges. "They don't consider themselves activists if they strike down a position of government that is in disagreement with their policy views," Goldman said.[W]

MC CAIN WILL SELL OUT OUR CONSTITUTION FOR A VOTE. He cannot even be relied upon to be consistent.[trb] John McCain has long rankled social conservatives with his stance on issues such as campaign finance reform and support for some embryonic stem cell research. On Tuesday, he sought to reassure those voters of his conservative credentials as he outlined his philosophy for appointing judges to the federal bench.[l] Here's what McCain was really telling the party base: If you liked George W. Bush's nominees, you're going to love the judges John McCain will put on the bench," said Kathryn Kolbert, president ofPeople for the American Way. [W] Like many Americans, we have been intrigued and often exasperated by the long-running Democratic primary and the ever smaller-bore spats between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. So we are thankful to Senator John McCain for reminding us Tuesday what this year’s presidential race really is about.[n]

MCCAIN WANTS JURISTS FAITHFUL TO A BACKWARD VIEW OF WORLD AND CONSTITUTION In an address at Wake Forest University, McCain pledged to nominate jurists who believe "there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power" and who are "faithful in all things to the Constitution of the United States."[l] Obama's campaign responded that McCain had "promised his conservative base four more years of out-of-touch judges."[W] Mr. McCain predictably criticized liberal judges, vowed strict adherence to the Founders’ views and promised to appoint more judges in the mold of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. That is just what the country does not need. [n] Since President Bush chose Justices Roberts and Alito, the Court has ordered Seattle and Louisville to scrap voluntary school integration, protected employers who illegally mistreat their workers, and constrained women’s right to choose and voters’ right to vote. [n]

MCCAIN IS JUST ANOTHER GEORGE W. BUSH, CAN WE STAND ANOTHER 4 YEARS! McCain's speech was a clear embrace of the judicial philosophy of President George W. Bush and other recent Republican presidents who sought judges who generally construed laws as narrowly as possible, who for the most part favored government authority in criminal matters and who were opposed to the expansion of abortion rights.[w] Hypocrites, liars, cheats and just general bottom feeders, republican big money likes these kind of good old boys, do you?[trb] There was a moment when we were briefly cheered. Mr. McCain declared that “all the powers of the American presidency must serve the Constitution and thereby protect the people and their liberties.” We hoped that would be the start of a serious critique of how President Bush has violated cherished civil liberties: endorsing torture, ordering unlawful domestic spying and depriving detainees of the most basic right of habeas corpus. [n] Mr. McCain himself has eloquently criticized Mr. Bush’s policies on some of these issues, but he did not raise any of them on Tuesday.[n] McCain needs the Bush money and he will /has sell/sold his soul.[trb]

JURIST THAT WILL NOT RIGHT WRONGS McCain added that he would choose nominees with "a proven record of excellence in the law, and a proven commitment to judicial restraint."[l] meaning ..owned out right by big money.[trb] But conservative judges are just as likely to pursue their brand of activism on issues where they favor change. Justices Roberts and Alito were among the members who approved turning voters without ID cards away from the polls and challenged Washington, D.C.'s handgun control law.[w] If your ox is being gored its activists, if you are doing the goring its just excellent law.[trb] With the landmark Supreme Court case on a woman's right to abortion a target of conservatives, the next president may have an opportunity to fill several court vacancies. Four justices are over 70, including John Paul Stevens, 88, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75. Because Justices Stevens and Ginsburg are by some measures the court's most liberal members, a McCain presidency would likely put the court even more in the conservatives' camp.[w]

MCCAIN WANTS MORE DREDGES LIKE REHNQUIST By way of example, McCain said he would look for people in the cast of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., and his friend the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. He called them "jurists of the highest caliber who know their own minds, and know the law, and know the difference."[l] That's in contrast to the type of judges both Obama and Clinton have said they would nominate - jurists who would uphold civil rights, privacy and other social issues opposed by conservatives. McCain attacked both Democrats, but singled out Obama for his sharpest critique, suggesting Obama sounded like a "judicial activist" himself in defending his no vote on Roberts.[n]

MCCAIN PROVES IN YET ANOTHER WAY THAT HE WILL JUST BE A BUSH CLONE Highlighting an issue he plans to use aggressively in the general election campaign,Sen. John McCain on Tuesday decried "the common and systematic abuse of our federal courts by the people we entrust with judicial power" and pledged to nominate judges similar to the ones President Bush has placed on the bench. [W]

A NEW RIGHT PANDER BEAR Some Democratic leaders immediately denounced McCain's speech. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, accused McCain of pandering to the far right. Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement that McCain voted for every one of President Bush's activist judges and said McCain "promises hundreds more just like them."[l] Mr. McCain’s speech suggests an additional metric: the candidate best able to explain to voters in coming days what is truly at stake in this election and why the country cannot, for example, afford another president committed to packing the courts with activist, right wing judges. [n] There are few policy differences between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama. But there is a vast gulf between Mr. McCain and the two Democrats — and far too little difference between Mr. McCain and President Bush. [n]

MCCAIN AGAINST WOMEN RIGHTS The president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights group, said McCain was speaking in code to abortion opponents by signaling he would appoint justices who favored overturning the abortion rights decision Roe vs. Wade.[l] Conservatives, however, found much to like in the speech, which was viewed as an important step for McCain in energizing the base for the fall election. Though the Arizona senator has been a consistent and reliable vote on Republican nominees, he angered conservatives in 2005 when he led a bipartisan group of senators -- known as the Gang of 14 -- that forestalled a Republican-backed rule change that would have made it more difficult for Democrats to block Bush's stalled nominees.[l]

THE REAL BATTLE IS FOR THE BENCH But because of other shared views, the issue of judges could become a bridge to social conservatives for McCain, said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. "Conservatives want judges who will not legislate from the bench, because when we allow judges to legislate from the bench we get abortion on demand, we get same-sex marriage, we get everything that's bad for society."[l] Edward Whelan, a former law clerk for Justice Antonin Scalia and president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said he was encouraged by McCain's assertion that the role of judges was "one of the defining issues of this presidential election."[l] Whelan noted that McCain's promise to nominate judges with a "proven record" would be an important point with conservative Republicans. Some felt betrayed by Bush's nomination of White House Counsel Harriet E. Miers, who was viewed as having no track record, and many have been disappointed by the rulings of Justice David H. Souter. [l]

MCCAIN WANTS A DE-ACTIVIST JUDGE Introduced at Wake Forest's Wait Chapel by conservative heavyweight Theodore Olson, the former solicitor general, McCain railed against "activist judges" who have ruled on issues "never intended to be heard in courts or decided by judges."[l] McCain also contrasted his judicial philosophy with that of his Democratic opponents. Though Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama opposed Roberts, McCain criticized the criteria Obama articulated for evaluating judicial nominees as a vague "attempt to justify judicial activism."[l]

MCCAIN SPEAKS OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF HIS MOUTH McCain clearly was not targeting the independent and conservative Democratic voters he has courted assiduously in recent weeks -- his remarks came on a day when many voters were more focused on the Democratic contests in Indiana and North Carolina. [l] Since conservative jurists have ruled against McCain's trademark campaign finance reform as a violation of free speech, McCain could find it difficult should he become president to find a conservative Supreme Court nominee who wouldn't do the same, Segal said.[n] Segal also said McCain hit a false note by citing a landmark eminent domain case as an example of judicial activism. In that case, a local board tagged private property for public use, but then turned it over to a private developer. The court sided with the board, prompting an outcry.[n]

READ CLOSELY THE RICH DO NOT WANT CAMPAIGN FINANCE, WOMAN’S RIGHTS OR JUDGES THAT WILL PROTECT OUR SOCIETY IN THE REAL WORLD But within his own party, Curt Levey, the head of the conservative Committee for Justice, predicted the speech would not only resonate with the base but with Republicans "who really did have concerns about the Gang of 14 and whether McCain's support for campaign finance reform might influence who he chose." [l]

JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS ARE KEY TO PROTECTING AMERICA, DEMOCRATS CLINTON AND OBAMA: DEBATE AND ACT ON THESE ISSUES Instead of sparring, pointlessly, about who first opposed Nafta or which of these Ivy League-educated lawyers has a more common touch, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton should explain what they will do to restore the balance of power and protect civil liberties. They need to talk a lot more about addressing the health care crisis and the mortgage crisis and how they would bring American troops home and contain the chaos in Iraq. [n] Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama can continue to tear each other up and fight over each superdelegate, or they can debate the issues — for the sake of the voters.[n]

Posted here by Terry Bankert ...

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—where did this stuff come from—
[l] The Los Angeles Times,0,3233304.story
[trb] Comments ot Terry Bankert to include CAP headlines [w] The Washington Post
[B] The Baltimore Sun,0,7410524.story
[I] The International Herald Tribune
[N] The New York Times

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