Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Sucky Supreme Court, Via the NYT

I don’t often agree with conservatives about the issues, but I have to admit their debating tactics are pretty awesome. One of their go-to moves is to accuse liberals of doing exactly what they (conservatives) are trying to do and act outraged about it. For instance, conservatives are fond of yelling about the liberal bias in the mainstream media, and one might think they had a problem with biases in media generally, but ha ha! They want media to be biased, as their embrace of talk radio and Fox News demonstrates. Similarly, they’ve been moaning and bitching about the “activist judges” who legalized abortion and other such nonsense, but after three decades in which a Republican was in the oval office (and thus appointing judges) two-thirds of the time, judges are more activist than ever—the difference is they’re conservative activist judges, so the conservatives like them. This is like baseball fans who say they hate Barry Bonds because he took steroids, then defend their own team’s players who took steroids because “they were just trying to be competitive and win ball games.”

In fact, one of the most “activist” decisions in recent years was the case of Citizens United v. the United States, which overturned numerous campaign finance laws and essentially said that corporations counted as people for the purpose of “free speech” and should be allowed to spend as much money as they want “speaking” on behalf of one candidate or the other. But conservatives didn’t denounce it because it was their kind of activism. (If you did denounce the verdict and you’re conservative, awesome, but by and large, your team did not.)

Obviously, no decision is completely ideologically neutral, but the as the Times article linked to says,

If the Roberts court continues on the course suggested by its first five years, it is likely to allow a greater role for religion in public life, to permit more participation by unions and corporations in elections and to elaborate further on the scope of the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms. Abortion rights are likely to be curtailed, as are affirmative action and protections for people accused of crimes.

I’d argue that the favoring of churches, unions, and corporations over pregnant women and accused criminals is activism, and not particularly Christian, but I don’t want to get into that here. Smarter people than I can discuss the Supreme Court. What’s worth noting is that the mainstream conservative movement favors advancing its policies by any means necessary (duh), and doesn’t care whether the courts or the media is neutral. In fact, they want those institutions to lean towards the right—which is why they’re constantly accusing both Supreme Court justices and journalists in general of being “liberal.” It’s a little intellectually dishonest, but as Lee Atwater said, “Intellectual honesty is for homo college professors and pigfuckers who don’t win elections and get to appoint justices.”

Court Under Roberts Most Conservative In Decades (NYT)

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