A little more politics

This. This is one of the reasons this election is so important. I’ve always been of the opinion that our judiciary, our Supreme Court in particular, is most useful to the country when it is fairly evenly balanced, ideologically speaking. In the case of the Supreme Court, it works best when there are 4 justices who lean left, 4 who lean right, and 1 who can go either way. That setup forces honest and rigorous discussion of the issues before the court, both within the judiciary and in the general public. A rubber-stamp judicial system in which one or the other social ideology wins simply on the weight of numbers does not help anyone. Well, I suppose it helps people who share that ideology, but it marginalizes everybody else, which is not what a judiciary is supposed to do.

The campaign of Sen. McCain has been sounding the alarm about "single-party rule" in Washington, which is a valid concern. I do find it ironic, though, that they weren’t similarly concerned about a Republican-ruled Washington for 6 of the last 8 years. But anyway, I’m of the opinion that a larger concern than 2 years of guaranteed one-party rule in the likely event of a Democratic sweep tomorrow is several years — decades perhaps — of conservative control of our national judiciary. The judges that a President appoints, from the Supreme Court on down, do not run for election, ever. They have their seats for life, barring retirement or whatever the equivalent is of impeachment if they commit a serious breach of conduct at the bench. Bush has already stacked up the open seats with conservatives, to the best of his ability. To keep our judiciary, on balance, in the middle (which is where most Americans are anyhow), we cannot afford another 4 years of conservative appointments to the bench.

Of particular concern is the Supreme Court.   We currently have a balance like the one I described above.  However, the 4 "liberal" justices are all older, with one pushing 90.  If there are vacancies to be filled at the bench during the next administration, they will likely be on the left side of the Court.  Do we really want to give ourselves a guaranteed 6-2 court, say, with a swing vote that can go either way?  Even though I tend to be more of a social conservative than a social liberal on all but a few issues, I don’t want the High Court to essentially have carte blanche to force socially conservative ideology on the general public.  I wouldn’t want to have my morality legislated for me, and I don’t expect anybody else wants that either.  It’s inappropriate and unamerican.

Given all this, I’ve kind of wondered why the Obama campaign hasn’t been sounding the alarm about this kind of issue.  It’s a serious consideration.  I dunno, maybe they were worried about rousing the entrenched far right and tipping them off that a Republican president guarantees their social agenda for the next 30 years.  Yikes.



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