To see the problem with Americas current rulers in terms of their ostensible conservative principles and traditional values is, in my view, a serious mistake. For now, the struggle that must be waged is better seen as one between good and evil. For under the sheeps clothing of their false righteousness, these rulers have been indulging their true lust for power and wealth.
Nonetheless, as one whose idea of justice leans more to the left than to the right, I have breathed a sigh of relief with the presidents naming of these two nominees to fill the vacancies on the Supreme Court. The idea of two more votes cast in a block with Scalia and Thomas makes me shudder for my country. And in Roberts and Miers, by contrast, it seems reasonable to hope for a degree of fair-mindedness, compassion, and judicial flexibility over the years.
I feel that we have dodged a bullet.
Roberts and Miers seem like they might in fact be the kind of people that the rulers who nominated them pretend to be.
But lets not forget who these rulers are, and the spirit thats governed how they wield their power.
You remember: Bush resubmitted into nomination that small handful of nominees whom the Democrats had blocked in his first term because they were so extreme. The approach seemed calculated to rub the nose of the vanquished in their powerlessness. He didnt even choose to nominate people like those whod been rejected, but rather picked the approach that would most dramatically demonstrate his dominance and most fully humiliate his opponents.
It wasnt as though this president had any real grievance about the earlier thwarting of his will: indeed, the proportion of his nominees that had been confirmed exceeded that for either of his two recent predecessors.
And this was at a moment when the American people, the pollsters said, were more polarized than theyd ever measured, and split nearly evenly in half. A more enlightened leadership might have thought that bringing the country together a better course for the nation than pursuing a divisive course of governing from the extreme.
But this leadership has never shown an interest in uniting us, and this president chose that moment to declare his insistence on ramming those few extremist judges down the throats of his opponents.
So why the difference now? Whats changed?
What has changed, it seems clear, is their sense of their powerthe one aspect of the human landscape about which they truly care.
Since those heady days of their self-declared mandate, this ruling group has been weakened. With its chickens coming home to roost from Iraq and from the Gulf coast, with its chief partisan allies under legal scrutiny, with falling poll numbers, these bullies no longer enjoy the prospect of a fight.
Had these vacancies on the high Court occurred in the immediate aftermath of the election, one can readily imagine what kind of people they would have chosen for those seats.
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