Saturday, April 17, 2010

Supreme Court Nominations

      With the retirement of John Paul Stevens, President Obama has a chance to nominate a second justice to the Supreme Court. It is interesting to see journalists from the right whipping up a feeding frenzy, looking not for the best person, but to defeat whomever the President nominates. I believe if Jesus Christ were Obama’s nominee, the conservatives would try to derail Him.
      This past Wednesday Cal Thomas was pushing the idea that “Liberal presidents invariably nominate liberal judges.” I would think that the converse is also true: Conservative presidents invariably nominate conservative judges.
      But Cal says no, and he points to the nomination of Earl Warren by Eisenhower, Sandra Day O’Conner and Anthony Kennedy by Ronald Reagan, David Souter by George H. W. Bush, and of course Stevens by Gerald Ford.
      I give it to Cal on these, with the exception of Kennedy, who swings both ways, the others turned out to be relatively liberal.
      But they weren’t liberal in the beginning of their tenures - all the above nominees were selected with the understanding that they had impeccable conservative credentials. I would like to think that after they had seen enough of the misery perpetuated by strict conservative ideologies, they began to realize that there is such a thing as equity, a legal term which equates to fairness. As for Kennedy, I think his voting on his view of the law without regards to ideology is a good thing.
      I would like to take Cal’s premise one step further – what are the ideological leanings of the other current justices as compared to the presidents which nominated them?
      Conservative justices and their nominators are Anthony Scalia (Reagan), Clarence Thomas (George H. W. Bush), and John Roberts and Samuel Alito (George Bush) – all nominated by conservative presidents. Surprise, Cal!
      Liberal justices and their nominators are Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer (Clinton), and Sonia Sotomayer (Obama).
      Cal was right. So am I. Presidents invariably nominate judges based upon their own ideology.
      But Cal didn’t give up. His column ends with, “There is always the outside chance an Obama nominee will convert to judicial restraint, but that is as likely to happen as a tax cut from this president.” What about the $173 billion from the 2009 stimulus package, Cal? Does that count?
      Today another conservative voice was heard from: Thomas Sowell proclaimed “Good riddance to Justice Stevens.” Although it doesn’t happen often, I am partially in agreement with Sowell’s comments on the case of Kelo v. City of New London.
      It is Sowell’s conclusion to his column that I find questionable. “Republicans too often appoint judges whose confirmation will not require a big fight with the Democrats. You can always avoid a fight by surrendering.”
      I would ask Sowell. “What about Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito?” It doesn’t sound like surrender to me.
      Anticipating the science of ecology by a hundred years, Charles Darwin wrote:
. . . but humble-bees alone visit the common red clover . . . as other bees cannot reach the nectar. Hence I have very little doubt, that if the whole genus of humble-bees became extinct or very rare in England, the heartsease and red clover would become very rare, or wholly disappear. The number of humble-bees in any district depends in a great degree on the number of field-mice, which destroy their combs and nests; and Mr. H. Newman, who has long attended to the habits of humble-bees, believes that ‘more than two thirds of them are destroyed all over England.’ Now the number of mice is largely dependent, as every one knows, on the number of cats; and Mr. Newman says, ‘Near villages and small towns I have found the nests of humble-bees more numerous than elsewhere, which I attribute to the number of cats that destroy the mice.’ Hence it is quite credible that the presence of the feline animal in large numbers in a district might determine, through the intervention first of mice and then of bees, the frequency of certain flowers in that district!
      The number of flowers is dependent upon the availability of instincts and actions of humble-bees, field-mice and cats for use by the creative process.
      Introduction - The Spirit Runs Through It

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