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News Bush Supreme Court

  1. Nov 20, 2004 #1


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    What do you expect the make-up of the Supreme Court to look like four years from now? And what changes are we likely to see as a result?

    I was very interested in what happened with Arlen Specter's comments. I figured the fallout from his comments would give a little insight into what to expect for new Supreme Court nominees.

    While a lot of people have said religous conservatism was not the primary reason Bush was elected, the religous right believes otherwise and was quick to start spending the political capital it felt it had won. In the end, Republican Congressional leaders stuck by Specter, but it didn't seem like much of a ringing endorsement.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2004 #2
    Hopefully three conservative justices. Also the infamous 9th Circut Court of Appeals may be split into 3 district courts, opening the door for a few more conservative judges.
  4. Nov 20, 2004 #3

    I would love to see the ninth circuit broken up. Its far too liberal, and is over turned by the supreme court more than any other appeals court in the nation. On the other hand, i don't really want Bush's type of conservative judges gaining more bench power. Replacing one of the most liberal with another rehnquist would be okay. But not another Scalia, thats too much conservative power on the court.
  5. Nov 25, 2004 #4
    The SC as it is now is too liberal???



    More liberal judges would be ideal for me, but realistically Bush should appoint more moderate justices to avoid widening the growing schism between the religious right and liberals (and even centered moderates). His appointment of a pro-choice attorney general is encouraging, but the prospects of going even further towards a big-brother theocracy will cause a whole lot of unrest in about half the country. Government forced adherence to religious morals (my use here regarding activities of consenting adults; as opposed to philosophical morals, of not causing harm to others) will never lead to a unified America. Separation of church and state is intended to let everyone believe their religious morals are absolutely right, but tolerating other sets of religious morals and not having those called wrong by simple majority. Bush clearly leans towards believing his set of religious morals are philosophical wrongs, and therefore everyone will realize it; and even worse that its the governments job to help them realize it... I fear his court appointments will share the same values, and you can argue all you want about whether it's right or wrong, but it will indisputably divide American, and will never convert everyone to the same exact set of religious morals.

    The following rant does not argue whether a particular view is ultimately right or wrong, just why it shouldn't be decided by Bush or the SC.

    There's universal morals, held by nearly all modern religions, that form the basis of law. Don't hurt people, don't take what's not yours, treat as you want to be treated... By various philosophical axioms, you can conslude laws based on them are just. But then there's ethical laws, that restrict activities of consenting adults; these are very different even among todays top 5 religions, and cannot be held as univerals by philosophical principles since they are neither consistent across religions nor cause detrimental actions. Since these are only declared as outright wrong by religions, they are specific religious values. This country was founded on none of those values being forced on those people with a different set. When you get a leader like Bush who decides otherwise, it's a problem for everyone without the same belief set. When you have a country where all branches of government share the same belief system, it will lead to forced values, and when you have a court stuffed with judges who believe in their value set so strongly they'll let it stand despite being unconsistutional, you have a divided country with a very large group feeling deprived of civil rights and therefore an inferior race/class. No matter what your views, that's not America. Don't support a court that will fill the next few decades with a mass uprising for equality in civil rights.
    Whatever your beliefs are, and even if you think they're so correct everyone should also adhere to it, please wake up and realize the government should not be taking either side, and more conservative SC appointments can only hurt the nation through division and mutual intolerance of the 2 sides.
    Let me speak specifically about one of these divisive issues. Bush, initially called for states to hold votes on laws to ban gay marriage, since he figured it would have majority support. But then judges, who went to their politics 101 class on the day they talked about tyranny of the majority, release are whole system of government was based on a majority group not being able to surpress the rights on a minority group. A majority feeling one way about an issue doesn't give them the right to opress dissenters. Not even to mention they hold their opinion on religious grounds. Now, you can argue gay marriage is wrong, and/or a constitutional amendment should be passed... but you can't defend it as consitutional right now, it's discrimination of a peaceful group from legal rights based on their creed, and it's probably also against separation of church and state. Another problem, how people think, after the Supreme Court declared homosexual acts among consenting adults in their homes could not be made illegal by states, but a couple legally together as homosexuals can be denied equivalent legal rights of heterosexual couples, is constitutionally permissible, completely defies all logic. Bush's appointees will ignore this and cite 'compelling public interest' to ensure the right's religious views are official law. And there's also calls to pass a law barring the court from deciding in that way? I don't care how morally wrong you think gay marriage is, this is a mockery of our consitution.

    And don't just think I'm soapboxing for the liberal platform, as I hold many conservative positions... I'm a libertarian and support the death penalty and extensive gun ownship rights, and the principal of the Iraq war, just not how we handled it and the curtailment of civil liberties furing "war time", since this war is unlikely to end in our lifetimes. Had Bush's policies on social issues not put religion ahead of the constitution and Bill of Rights, he would have had my vote. Yes he botched post-bomb-into-stoneage strategy, but Kerry would not have done better, and I think Bush can learn diplomacy to fight the war on terror better than Kerry could learn when unilateral action must be taken... granted Bush can act like that probably because it's easier to send troops into war when you have no idea what it's like to be in one...

    Creationism is in the news again. Thank's to Bush's reintroduction of faith [only his] based policies, a public school district in Georgia wanted remove the word 'evolution' from the textbooks, label it as only 'one possible theory' and seriously teach Biblical Creationism (not even intelligent design) as a possibility. Even worse, this wasn't a couple people on the word, this measure had widespread popular support, but fortunately a larger outcry at its absurdity. This is a step back, don't support Bush appointing judges who are religious zealots like he is. Even if you feel conservative views are generally correct, I just ask you to show tolerance for the other half of the country who disagree, and respect that upholding religious values is not a function of the government under the current constitution.

    You may think liberal judges who allow abortion and other things are going to Hell, and so is anyone who shares those beliefs... but wake up and realize that whether you think the view is ultimately right or wrong, their decisions come from the consitution and bill of rights, not the Bible. Now you may thing the consitution should be amended to more closely reflect the Bible, but the farther right you get, the farther from the constitution and closer to the Bible on many issues affected only consenting adults. Religion should teach you how to love others, embrace your differences, and treat them as people... I promise you God did not want any religion to force itself on people or be cited as justification for war, murder, and today for intolerance and bigotry. And the Supreme Court like that? It'll set our country back by decades.

    Logic dictates any judge willing to ignore the overwhelming lack of consitutional base to allow the fed.gov. or even any state gov to ban gay marriage (and its unlikely even a right wing judge would ban gay marriage and support civil unions, since they were more than likely in the class that mentioned the famous 'separate but equal is inherently unequal' decision, a day Bush was out partying and missed class again) would likely not be opposed to allow that county in Georgia to use public school funds to teach Biblical Creationism, which is so completely proven wrong it's laughable to anyone who's educated and not profoundly religious...

    and on a closing note, I applaud VP Cheney for openly opposing gay rights supression in the VP debate, even a strong conservative can't call a family member a heathen who's love in wrong and infererior and should be denied legal rights. There was a time where a majority of Americans felt similar discrimination with interracial couples was an acceptable law, not to mention slavery, womens suffrage, and racial discrimination... all these were once allowed by the 'moral majority', how can you support court appointments that will just lead to a mass uprising where the enemies can include your friends and families? Masquerading with 'protecting the traditional family' is not fundamentally different from Southerners protecting their traditional ways of life on the plantation with the slavery business model. Traditional marriage was not destroyed by interracial couples, and it won't be destroyed by gay marriage; supporting ultra conservative SC appointments is not best for the whole country no matter what way you slice it.

    Sorry for the lengthy post, but Bush's willingness to put religion above the consititution, and the remarkably broad support for it, is just so ludicrous and backwards it gets me really fired up.

    {/rant about immorality of moral majority}
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2004
  6. Nov 25, 2004 #5
    And let me just touch on conservatism rule with the Patriot Act... American citizens can be held indefinately without judicial review and with access to a lawyer. Now if you want to support the idea for fighting terrorism, that's one thing... but an American Citizen should be able to defend allegations with a lawyer in front of a judge in a reasonable amount of time. An appeals court said even enemy combatants have this right, but Bush and a strong conservative court appointee would defend and uphold this circumvention of another amendment.

    come on people, partisanship in the courts trumping fair unbiased interpretation, especially ending in more restrictions on privacy and freedom, are not the right direction. we need moderates who don't always fall squarely along their party lines, strong conservatives AND strong liberals are both dangerous. appointing a polarizing figure is directly related to being so arrogant about the absolute validity of your religious values' place in law that you're not even open to courts deciding you're not right, because that's an afront to your faith, the only thing that justifies opression of dissenters.

    Bush openly criticizes the opinions and desire to block the opinion of "activist judges" because they disagree with what him a not-near-total majority think? He'll make sure his appointees won't disagree with his opinions? Bush making conservative appointments is an insult to the constitution no matter where you stand on the issues.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2004
  7. Nov 25, 2004 #6
    The fact that Gay Marriage is going to deemed illegal is just another lesson in the Paradox of Repealing the Jungle.

    Marx had it absolutely right, when he noted the irresistable force of the biggest, most powerful beast in the jungle; the power of all of us over any of us. Marx's State is the ultimate strongest of the strong, and the law of the jungle is in full effect. Just because it is a majority/mob does not mean that its license of ascendency to King of the Jungle is not ultimately founded on brute force; it is what it is. Any one of us is ultimately defensless against all of us, except at the discretion of the all of us. Any one of us may in fact have the 'right' to attempt self defense against that irresistable onslaught from others en masse, but that right in no way translates to a guarantee of success in that struggle. Ultmately, force is still reigning in the Jungle.

    In experiments like the American experiment, that is the theoretical foundation for extended rights. Hey, there is this emperor Beast still at large, ruling the Jungle by brute force, let's try to muzzle him in this neck of The Jungle, see how things work out?

    But even in its imperfect three fifths start, the American experiment had as a clear keystone the concept of individual rights, maybe there is hope for Gay Marriage. If not; it is what it is, and we've taken another step back into the jungle.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2004
  8. Nov 25, 2004 #7


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    I think Bush stated what his goals are for Supreme Court nominees in one of the Presidential debates. His 'litmus test' is how he thinks a nominee would have ruled on the Dred Scott decision in 1857.

    Dred Scott was a slave that had been brought into free territory of the Louisiana Territory by his owner (per the Missouri Compromise of 1820, some parts of the Louisiana Territory were 'free territories or states' where slavery wasn't allowed). When Scott's owner died, he sued to be considered a 'freed slave' on the basis of the Missouri Compromise.

    The Supreme Court ruled, that since Scott wasn't a citizen of the US (he was a slave - property, not a citizen), he had no right to sue in US courts. They also went a step further declaring the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional. The states or Congress had no right to pass laws declaring who was or was not a free citizen, since declaring Scott a freed slave violated the rights of Scott's owner to life, liberty, and property.

    In one of the debates, Bush stated that he wouldn't nominate anyone to the Supreme Court that would make a ruling similar to that made in the Dred Scott decision. The only reason he would cite a case nearly a 150 years old is because many see the same situation today. In Bush's view, the Dred Scott decision is virtually identical to the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision. An unborn child is not a US citizen and has no protection under US law. The mother is a citizen and a state prohibiting abortion violates the mother's right to life, liberty, and property.

    His second big issue is going to be gay marriage. He at least went through the motions of trying to get a federal anti-gay marriage amendment going. While that's a no-go, I think the emphasis is going to be on nominating judges that believe in state's rights. He won't want to nominate judges that would rule a state's constitutional amendment could be superceded by the federal government or federal courts. This will also dove-tail nicely into over-ruling Roe vs. Wade. The idea will be to take abortion and gay rights off of the federal government's plate and return the issues to the states. While most of the blue states will still be allowed to have abortions if they want, the red states will still retain the right to outlaw it in their states.

    He'll get his justices approved by avoiding Roe vs. Wade and the gay marriage issue completely. With a Republican majority, and by avoiding bringing up the issue directly (via seemingly off the wall references to cases like the Dred Scott decisions), he has an excellent chance of tipping the balance of the Supreme Court to be more favorable towards the states' laws and constitution.
  9. Nov 25, 2004 #8
    Bush's AG appointment of a more moderate (and pro-choice) person is encouraging, but he believes very very deeply that his values are the only ones that should be in this country, and Supreme Court appointments are the best way to impose those views for decades. Don't expect moderates unless he's already secured a majority of supporters.

    Gay marriage should not be a states rights issue. It's unconstitutional for a state to deny a legal benefit based on creed, discrepencies among the states would be problematic for federal benefits.

    Seriously people, stop trying force your intolerance on everyone to discriminate against the 'immoral' gay people. It's not going tarnish heterosexual marriage, and "protecting the traditional family" is just using your faith to label a non-traditional family as inferior because the Bible says it's immoral.

    As far as abortion goes... as soon as a sperm and egg join biologically you've got a human life because it contains the complete genetic code and ability to grow into a full human. Millions of cells in every adult body meets those two conditions also (directing adult stem cells into a full human being is beyond current technology, but theoretically possible). I do not believe a biological human life is a human being if it lacks our defining characteristic: sentience. A non-sentient embryo, biologically a human, is not yet a human being, and therefore not immoral to terminate.
    With different views both holding large amounts of popular support and religion being invoked as justification for laws... you have to recognize that you cannot presume your view to be a universal moral, and therefore shouldn't be legislated.
    The best solution for society, then, is to respect a different view and realize it's not the government's right to force a non-universal moral on those who don't share it. There's plenty of ways to advocate your stance, but respect that it's not something that should be decreed by the US government when there's barely even a majority and everyone votes strictly partisan, any partisanship in the SC is not good.
  10. Nov 26, 2004 #9

    Indeed, how does one progress from the subset "future generations" to the subset "present generation" without at some point in time being a zygote?

    Plot rights vs. time using any scale you wish, and trace the history of any once member of future generation and now member of the present generation that you wish. Plot one, or plot them all; I'll wait.

    Either there is a massive dip in the curve at stage 'zygote,' or, future generations have no rights whatsoever, and if not, then the present generation certainly has no obligation to consider non-existing rights.

    If thats what you believe, then say it proudly. Or, if you believe there is a jarring and sudden drop in 'rights' for the once members of the subset future generations that are unfiortunate enough to stumble, innocently, and not of their own actions, into the rightless subset known as the merely conceived, well then, by all means, support that assertion.

    As in, where did the rights that the merely conceived once have as members of merely potential future generations go?
  11. Nov 26, 2004 #10
    Like I said, a developing human zygote becomes a human being when it becomes sentient. It really wouldn't be hard to determine when sentience, just certain brain wave patterns indicating fundamental establishment of human conscious, the defining part of being human. Whether you agree with this definition of when a bunch of cells is a human being or not, you have to be open to your definition not being absolute truth either... especially when dissenters aren't a few extremists, but a major segment of society...
    I'm not saying any point of development being a protected human is right or wrong, just that nobody stands on firm enough ground to use tyranny of the majority to supress opposition... talk to women considering abortion about it, spread your belief to anyone who will listen... but don't be so arrogant as to presume your definition is absolute truth enforcable inside womens' bodies.
    And apologies for the crudeness of this... but wouldn't a man who ejaculates into a toilet containing a women's expelled egg be liable for murder if they flushed a zygote that formed down? Giving zygotes full human rights says yes, common sense should say that's ludicrous.

    If you're going to pass laws regulating inside a womens body and compelling her to carry a child, you better have support in the 90% range. This isn't about who's right or wrong, or even who's morally correct... it's about the government not having the right to determine it for everyone.

    ..oh, and you'd think we would have learned that telling people they can't do something with their own body isn't going to make it stop? It'll increase harm and establish an underground medical service. You have to realize when you pass laws restricting freedoms of consenting adults, that you're essentially saying that because you think it's morally wrong, if you want to keep doing it you have to go underground and endanger yourself as punishment for immorality.

    See, I don't despise the Bush administration because of their social policies, while I disagree on many issues I respect their right to hold it. But Bush decided that people who disagree are wrong, even if they're a judge, and that his values should be law. Openly declaring policy-making based on religious values and openly encouraging tyranny of the majority to supress immoral acts... blatantly partisan SC appointment scare the hell out of me/
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2004
  12. Nov 26, 2004 #11
    I don't mean to be insulting and overexplain this for you, but, the topic was something to do with 'rights.' The logic here is plain to see, nothing very complex at all.

    Either you think future generations have rights --any rights at all-- that the present generation must consider, or you don't.

    Either you think it possible to transition from being a merely potential member of future generations to an actual member of the present generation without passing through the rightless stage of the merely conceived 'zygote,' or you don't.

    Your position on the 'rights' of zygotes is quite clear; a 'zygote' has no rights whatsoever.

    What you have not proudly proclaimed yet, is your belief as to whether merely potential members of future generations have any rights whatsoever.

    Let me not be cruel, and help you out of your deconstructivist dilemma. Of course you can't bring yourself to say that future generations have no rights whatsoever, thats insane; clearly we all agree we should reuse and recycle so we don't totally **** up the planet for our future generations.

    How can this be resolved? How can we arrange things so that you get to keep both your 'Gay Marriage' and 'CHoice' cards in the same wallet, and still be free to wail about the hypocrites on the other side of the barricades?

    It's simple, and entirely consistant. You see, the magic key to the consistancy dilemma is based on the group vs. the individual. Because, 'a' zygote has committed the crime of leaving the theoretical group/mob/tribe subset 'future generations' -- the mob that collectively might have 'rights' that some in the current generation belly up to the bar and claim to want to defend--and becoming the quintessential self-defenseless 'individual.' As we know, in any conflict between the rights of the mob/tribe and any one individual, it is the individual who will be sacrificed, and a zygote is even less than an individual, as you note--it is merely a potential individual.

    That it is also the quintessential innocent potential individual--in conflict with the mob/tribe through an action not of its own choosing, but rather via the specific invitation and actions of the strong already in the mob/tribe, is what those on the other side of the barricade consider.

    So, the key to trumping the temporal bias dilemma is to proudly proclaim that mob/group/tribal rights, ie, the Jungle's ultimate strong -- have rights which are superior to any merely potential single individual -- the Jungle's ultimate weak.

    The concept 'individual rights' is a very recent one in the history of the species, and the ancient wiring remains; the herd/tribe must survive at all costs, even if it is necessary to sacrifice a few individuals to make that happen. Sometimes, the 'need' to make that happen is based on implementation of the pet theories of an elitist few, not unlike the tribal voodoo priests of time past. No matter; the morality of that concept applied in any given situation is not relevant to determining the outcome, because the mob/tribe/herd is the de facto strongest of the Jungle's strong, when compared against any individual. As we see with Gay Marriage the Jungles Strong pressing their morality on the Jungles Weak. When the tribal elders/voodoo priests get their hands on the tribe's Magic Stick--the Talisman that grants them power to speak for the needs of the tribe--the urge to wield that power must be enormous. It is the brute power of Marx's eminent domain that allows the tribe to do what it will, not any moral code. It is the ultimate might makes right; the ultimate will of the Jungle's Strong--the mob/tribe-- over the Jungle's Weak--any one of us.

    It is only with the advent of modern civilization that attempts have been made to place reasonable limits on that always irresistable brute force. America and its constitutionally limited democratic republic is one of the latest, modern experiments pulling man from the jungle and declaring that in this tribe, we join together to defend the concept that the power of the tribe, although great, is not absolute. An idea very unlike the totalitarian extremes of scientific statism that have lurched across the rest of the world in the last century.

    An idea so great that, it has left a long trail of individuals willing to sacrifice all to defend a tribe dedicated to that idea, so that it might exist somewhere on Earth. When you examine the true meaning of freedom, you find that it means freedom from the absolute dominance of the Jungle's tribe.

    So, if I really believe that, then how can I possibly argue against 'free' Choice? Because, respect for individual rights must begin with respect for individual life. A modern tribe that does not defend the quintessential innocent individual life is well on its way back into the Jungle. The 'conflict' of rights in this instance is not one initiated by the weakest member in this conflict.

    Any tribe, including a modern one, can enforce its will in any way it chooses; it is the ultimate irresistable force. And yet, I cannot bring myself to argue that our tribal government should use that force to ban abortion. I am encouraged, however, when our tribal elders/leaders use their voices and their positions to educate and press the case for life, so that more of the tribe can evolve out of the Jungle on its own.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2004
  13. Nov 26, 2004 #12
    Government imposed abortion bans link back to the surpringly popular notion the government should be in the business of enforcing morals of the majority religion. People either don't know or don't care about seperation of church and state. It's clear Bush is oblivious to it. Extremeism starts out with the belief that your values are the word of God and absolutely correct and the only morally correct system. When you get a leader like that, they will try to change the system so that his beliefs cannot be challenged... with the slim majority of the country agreeing, and impending control of all 3 branches... scary.
  14. Nov 26, 2004 #13
    Extremism is any political theory with 'immoderate uncompromising' (i.e. Extreme) policies.

    Sorry, but it was bugging me. :tongue2:
    <-- Extremist :biggrin:
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