Monday, April 21, 2008
Shhhh, Don't Tell the Children
"During a March 28 C-SPAN series, 'America and the Courts,' Justices Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas were seen insisting that it is vital to their relationships with one another on the Court that Congress not mandate TV coverage of their oral arguments because that (Justice Kennedy actually said) would introduce an 'insidious dynamic' into the proceedings. Informing 'We the People' is insidious. ... Kennedy ... explained: 'We teach that we're judged by what we write and by what we decide ... I do not want an insidious dynamic introduced into my court that would affect the relations that I have with my colleagues.' ... We (justices) think that we should be entitled to at least a presumption of correctness and to some deference in determining how best to preserve the dynamic of the wonderful proceeding that we know as oral argument. ... From their high seats above us all, both these justices ignore that they serve on a public court, paid by taxpayer funds: and because of increasingly limited coverage of the Supreme Court in newspapers and on broadcast and cable television, many Americans know little of these nine distant arbiters of our rights and liberties in so many spheres of our existence. ... In similar testimony before a previous congressional committee, Justice Kennedy has more than implied that if Congress were to insist that the oral arguments be open to all, that disrespect for the Justices' 'presumption of correctness' would violate the Constitution's separation of powers! Where did he find that in the Constitution?", Nat Hentoff at http://www.washingtontimes.com/, 14 April 2008.
"The court rules that the state of Kentucky may continue to use lethal injections when administering the death penalty. But that's not what's shocking. Nor was it surprising that for the first time Justice John Paul Stevens admitted he thinks the death penalty is unconstitutional. What is staggering, or at least should be, is that Stevens freely admits that he no longer considers 'objective evidence' or even the plain text of the Constitution determinative of what is or isn't constitutional: 'I have relied on my own experience in reaching the conclusion that the imposition of the death penalty' is unconstitutional. ... Barack Obama ... has explained his thinking toward judicial appointments thusly: 'We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old--and that's the criteria by which I'll be selecting my judges.' ... Feeling sorry for the poor guy who violates the Constitution or the law has no role in how a Supreme Court justice is supposed to make a decision. ... In a very real sense, this election year we face the question: Do we want to live in a monarchy or a nation of laws? Is this to be a country where justices serve as a reliable backstop against encroachments upon the constitutional order, or is this to be a country where the most undemocratic branch of government serves as the tip of the spear for such intrusion?", my emphasis, Jonah Goldberg (JG) at http://www.nationalreview.com/, 18 April 2008.
I don't care what Kennedy thinks. It's not his court. It's the US Supreme Court, "our" court. All 302 million of us. If Kennedy thinks otherwise, he should be impeached then removed from office. The US is not a monarchy. Even a judicial monarchy. Emperor Kennedy, I don't apologize. I am an American citizen. I owe you no deference at all. Kennedy apparently thinks we are serfs and should kowtow in his presence. Where do these guys get off? Why are they entitled to a "presumption of correctness" in any area? Kennedy is to be congratulated for his honesty.
I feel JG's pain. After all, why did President Bush elevate Roberts and Alito to the Court? Because of their great intellects? Their scrupulous impartiality? Or because Bush expected they "had the heart, the empathy, to recognize" how hard it is to be a Fortune 500 CEO or investment banker?