Saturday, July 28, 2007


Senator Chuck Schumer says that the Senate should not confirm another Supreme Court Justice during Bush’s time in office. It would be a disaster he says to see another Roberts or Alito replace a Stevens or Ginsburg.

Schumer’s assertion comes as Democrats and liberal advocacy groups are increasingly complaining that the Supreme Court with Bush’s nominees – Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito – has moved quicker than expected to overturn legal precedents.

Senators were too quick to accept the nominees’ word that they would respect legal precedents, and “too easily impressed with the charm of Roberts and the erudition of Alito,” Schumer said.

The term that ended in June was notable for several rulings that reversed or chipped away at several long-standing decisions, delighting conservatives but enraging liberals.

Breyer has publicly raised concerns that conservative justices were violating stare decisis, the legal doctrine that, for the sake of stability, courts should generally leave precedents undisturbed.

I ran through the constitution again and I didn’t see the word “precedent” anywhere. Do they use a different constitution in the senate? It does say 1789, maybe the country was overthrown between then and now and I've got the wrong document.

According to Webster, "precedent" means, “prior in time, order, arrangement, or significance.” It seems that precedent is just another word for tradition, defined by Webster as, “an inherited, established, or customary pattern.”

Webster says a conservative is someone “tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions.” So why are conservatives delighted that the new court isn’t upholding tradition?

Charles Schumer was born in 1950 so he probably had other things on his mind when the Earl Warren Supreme Court started knocking down tradition after tradition. He would probably be angered to know that school prayer, a long time tradition, was outlawed with the decision Engel v. Vitale (1962)

It also might burn him to know that the court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona (1966) that you had to read a suspect his rights making it tougher to extract confessions. In the old days you could simple ask the guy if he did it.

You can’t just blame Warren though. In 1971, the Burger court ruled Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education that school districts can and should bus children to schools far from their homes so people who look different could be bused in the other direction. It ended the traditional idea that a school was a part of a shared community. The court instead saw school as a laboratory for social engineering.

Lucky for Schumer the solution is in front of him. According to the Constitution, he's actually a member of the only government branch allowed to create federal law. Just write the law very simply in a few pages so that even the dumbest court member will know just what you mean. The power is all with you gentle warrior.

1 comment:

E said...

About 3 weeks ago I was listening to liberal talk radio and the host was advocating impeaching conservative justices, starting with Clarence Thomas, for "violating their oath to respect stare decisis," which is ignorant on so many levels, the most obvious being that the very nature and purpose of the Supreme Court is to opine on the Constitutionality of "settled law," the idea being that it isn't settled until the Supreme Court says reviews it, and there are new tests to old laws all the time.

When I listen to liberal radio, I always get the feeling that I'm listening to conservative parody of liberal radio. It's really bad. I try to listen to it, but as entertainment it's terrible, and as intelligent discourse it's worse.

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