June 11, 2000
5:11 PM   Subscribe

"For those who are feeling this election doesn't much matter, who think it's a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the court is the reason to care," said Lois Williams, senior counsel for litigation at the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, a liberal advocacy group.

"If we get another Scalia or Thomas, we are courting disaster," said Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way. "We are just one election away, and one or two new justices away, from the civil and constitutional rights we take for granted being eroded or eliminated overnight."
posted by veruca (16 comments total)
Strangely, this is actually more important to me than who is president. I wonder if the founding fathers thought of this.
posted by y6y6y6 at 5:45 PM on June 11, 2000

Hesitant as I am to jump in on something after so recently screwing up...I think the system was intended to work with more respect than it has going now. Back when the FF were hammering out the Constitution, they were all veterans of a war for their independence, and that meant that even when they didn't agree, they tried (didn't always succeed) to give each other credit for having some class and dignity.

Now it's more or less a gutter war.
posted by Ezrael at 6:54 PM on June 11, 2000

It might not matter. Pat Buchanan And Dr. Laura For President! :0~~~~~Barf.
posted by PaperCut at 7:18 PM on June 11, 2000

I live in a ward that voted for Nader in 1996 over Clinton and Dole (yes, it's that liberal). It's likely to vote for Nader again in 2000. This frightens me terribly. A vote for Ralph is basically a vote taken away from Al, which gives W. the advantage -- and hence, the chance to appoint 3 Supreme Court justices. So even though I may not *love* the Vice President, I have no other alternative, even as a bleeding heart liberal progressive.
posted by UWliberal at 8:05 PM on June 11, 2000

Ezrael: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary..."

I think that the policy blur in the coming election perhaps shows, that the American system's broken on some level.

Not that we can be smug about it in Britain, given that Our Glorious Leader has done his best to exploit the system's lack of checks and balances (if not cheques and bank balances).
posted by holgate at 8:12 PM on June 11, 2000

Choose your poison, I suppose. I used to imagine a world where policy would be driven by careful reflection on human need. Then I got a clue; it’s just a choice between rich, PAC-driven corporatists.

That being said, it’s impossible to see Bush as anything but I a run-of-the-mill American right winger who thinks fetuses have more rights than death row prisoners. He is oh-so-typical of a society that mistakes power and dominance for moral superiority, like the Roman Empire.

posted by tranquileye at 8:14 PM on June 11, 2000

Let's not get TOO freaked out about this.

Unless I'm mistaken, the President only nominates potential justices. They have to be approved by Congress before they're appointed.

There's a good chance that the Democrats will win back the House and Senate. So, don't worry about Bush and Gore, and don't hold back if you want to vote Nader.

The important people are those folks running for congress - give them your support if you want to foster political change.
posted by aladfar at 9:37 PM on June 11, 2000

Key words ignored in the original posting: "a liberal advocacy group." They're not concerned about anything but their own agenda. That and gaining enough press coverage to keep raking in the $.

This BS comes up ever four years, and in the end the threats never pan out. Any look at recent Court decisions will show that the Justices have, in general, turned out to be far more independent than the administrations that nominated them.

As for the Founding Fathers, they'd probably be up in arms about the whole thing, given that this sort of "judicial activism" has only occurred in relatively recent history.
posted by aaron at 10:15 PM on June 11, 2000

^%^%$&#$^%#$ tag.
posted by aaron at 10:16 PM on June 11, 2000

voting for nader is important because the more support he gets in elections the more money he is able to raise the next time around.

or so has been my understanding. go ralph!
posted by palegirl at 10:33 PM on June 11, 2000

Why on earth do people always mention the founding fathers? As if they were all of one mind. As if they would approve of anything we do HUNDREDS of years later. I imagine any one of them if brought to the present would break down crying in horror and quickly go insane. "Um, George Washington I think this guy should be president, and he says that guy should be president, could you decide. See it could affect the law concening abortion.. And oh by the way you don't think I should own a gun do you? Quick before you go insane.. What? It's called a car. What? no they are all free people, see we studied the words of all you slave owners and decided that you really meant no on should own slaves. Clever huh. Damn I think he's insane now"
We should use the proceedures they gave us, because they seem to work for the most part to make our current government match our desires and values. We should stop imagining them siding with us, and figure if their beliefs were of their time or eternal. I prefer a supreme court balanced between the right and left. But I also prefer a court in touch with the majority, whatever it might be. I am going to assume the majrity are gonna elect the president who appoints these people.
posted by thirteen at 12:39 AM on June 12, 2000

Certainly, the composition of the Supreme Court is determined by the President. But as has been pointed out, justices are never really beholden to the president that appointed them. They have lifetime appointments, and hey, it's the Supreme Court. Every lawyer and judge in the U.S. realizes that this is where justice must be objective and absolute. That's why you have justices like Souter who don't give a damn who appointed them and will work according to the law. Except Clarence Thomas, who simply votes the same as Scalia. *)

The problem where politics comes into play is the appointment of federal judges. The Supreme Court gets all the attention, but any case that reaches that level first has to pass through a federal court. That's where the stacking occurs. And Democrats are just as guilty of this as Republicans.

As to the comment about throwing your vote away for Nader:

I am sick to death of the corruption and wholesale bribery that the two major parties indulge in. Democrats and Republicans are just whores at the capitalist gang-bang, spreading their legs for any sickly old white man with some soft money and an obsession. Democrats may feel bad about what they do, and Republicans might consider themselves better than or equal to their johns, but they're whores. All of them.

This is a matter of realpolitik, of course, and I'm not naive enough to think that my vote for Nader will actually change things. It's gone on for too long, and the government outlined by our Founding Fathers - you know, the quasi-Masonic rich tax-evading white aristocrats who denied the vote to everyone but people like themselves, who decided that a black person were 3/5 the worth of a white person, who decided that those who voted shouldn't even be allowed to elect their own senators - has little to nothing to do with the mammoth police-state Brazil-like bueracracy that is trying everything in its power to negate those first ten amendments to the Constitution that are the expression of a freedom that citizens of other countries have killed and died to try and achieve.

I have voted exactly once in a major election. That was 1992, when I voted for Bill Clinton. Yeah, he got me good, but really, was I going to re-elect Bush or put Napoleon Perot in power? I didn't vote in 1996 because I was so thoroughly disillusioned by politics that it didn't matter anymore. Besides, who was the alternative to Clinton - Dole? Perot again?

I will vote in this election, and I will vote for Ralph Nader because I agree with nearly every policy of the Green Party. And voting for either Dubya, who is some sort of pod-person brain-dead mannequin, or Gore, who's just a smooth career politician who could give a crap about anything except his hair, would be throwing my vote away.

Because a vote's all I have. A vote is the only way I can make my voice heard. Oh, sure, I suppose I could join a march, but God forbid I march for something the current occupants of the White House don't agree with (like, say, stopping the rampant globalization and destruction of our planet) instead of being all nice and smiley and running with the Million Moms. My vote is my only say in the political process. So my voice will be heard.

(For what it's worth, I took some online poll, and apparently the best candidate for me is the Socialist. So now you know my political bent. Does anyone know what I'm talking about, and could someone post the URL?)

Sorry for the rant, but you know how these things go...
posted by solistrato at 7:35 AM on June 12, 2000

What, this one? I finished with the one-two punch of Socialist Party's David McReynolds and Green Party's Ralph Nader (whom I voted for last time).

Is it just me, or is Clarence Thomas the worst Supreme Court justice in recent memory? At least Scalia, loathsome though I find his opinions to be, has some sort of philosophical framework for his decisions.
posted by snarkout at 1:19 PM on June 12, 2000

I too checked out the selectsmart test, and I also came up with McReynolds & Nader, although in looking at their platforms I'm more likely to vote for Nader. Selectsmart may think McReynolds is the best match for my views, but certain parts of his platform rub me completely the wrong way.
On a somewhat unrelated note, I think that since the Republican party can give themselves gop.gov (even though .gov is supposedly restricted to government agencies, not political parties), an effort should be mounted to get green.gov or something along that lines. Just a thought.
posted by zempf at 2:05 PM on June 12, 2000

GOP.gov is the Congressional Republican Caucus; I doubt that they should have gotten the domain, but it's not technically a site for the Republican Party.
posted by snarkout at 7:30 PM on June 12, 2000

I think we bring up the FF because, honestly, they're all we have. I mean, we could say What would the shadowy magical conspiracy of masons who designed the great seal and dictated the constitution to a bunch of Virgina Hemp Farmers think about this? We could. But the FF are more appealing, somehow. Although if I keep calling them the FF, I'm going to picture Washington with the ability to stretch, Abigal Adams turning invisible, Aaron Burr bursting into flames, and Ben Franklin having enormous amounts of sex.

Oh, wait. In conventional history books, Abigail is invisible. Sorry about that.
posted by Ezrael at 8:32 PM on June 12, 2000

« Older So, how big   |   I love old stuff. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments