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Dodged a Bullet-- But the Gun’s Still There

By Andrew Bard Schmookler  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Good news, I 'd say, on the Supreme Court front. At least better than expected. But let 's not forget what we know and place too benign an interpretation on this news.

To see the problem with America 's 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 sheep 's 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 president 's 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.

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These two are not the jurists that I would have named to the Court. But for the next 20-30 years, it seems, assuming Miers gets confirmed, the Supreme Court 's weighing of competing values and interests will not be as bad, in terms of a liberal concept of justice, as it might have been.

Roberts and Miers seem like they might in fact be the kind of people that the rulers who nominated them pretend to be.

But let 's not forget who these rulers are, and the spirit that 's governed how they wield their power.

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This is the same leadership who just months ago --showed a very ugly and sadistic side in its handling of judicial nominees.

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 didn 't even choose to nominate people like those who 'd been rejected, but rather picked the approach that would most dramatically demonstrate his dominance and most fully humiliate his opponents.

It wasn 't 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 they 'd 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? What 's changed?

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What has changed, it seems clear, is their sense of their power --the 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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