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Old 01-20-2006, 01:20 AM   #1
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Judge Alito

Well, now that Alito is a Supreme Court justice to replace Sandra Day O'Connor, I was wondering what you thought of him. Personally, I thought he made an excellent replacement. Listening to him speak, I decided that he was quite fair in his judgements. Even when cornered and asked to say how he'd vote on abortion, he never wavered from his statements that he would follow the Constitution. Days of greuling questioning leave little room for doubt; Alito will make a fine addition to the Supreme Court. Of course, I expect that my statements aren't going to be showered with praise.



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Old 01-20-2006, 07:33 AM   #2
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I think the whole system seems crazy to me. What is the point of having the judiciary seperated from the government if the judiciary is basically a political entity, politically appointed?
In exactly the same way that governments waste billions by reversing each others decisions every 5 years or so when they get into power, you will get a supreme court that reverses its decisions every few years based on which political faction has the majority.
Maybe i'm misreading it, but thats how it seems to me.

As for the hearings, they seem like a politically motivated circus to me, and the very small bit of the questioning i saw reminded me of the way politicians answer questions: being non-commital and not giving a straight answer.

I assume that now the republicans have a majority people will try and challenge every ruling the last lot made?



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Old 01-20-2006, 08:03 AM   #3
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It's kind of hard to tell what to think of him, considering that he didn't answer a single question.

But I say appoint him, just because there's no other option. Any Bush nominee will be a neo-con, and Bush DID get re-elected, which means that he gets to pick the people.
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Old 01-20-2006, 08:43 AM   #4
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Incidentially, Mike the Mad Biologist does an excellent summary of why the Democrats should have filibustered Alito.

There seems to be little more to say...

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Old 01-20-2006, 02:50 PM   #5
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From what I heard, they didn't have the votes to filibuster, so it's a moot point.


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Old 01-20-2006, 04:18 PM   #6
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Even if they could filibuster, I don't see what good would come from it. So they defeat Alito, and Bush nominates a clone of him. This is a lose-lose situation for the democrats, so they should just let it pass and focus on winning elections so THEY can pick who they want.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned it will be a huge wake-up call to the democrats that they need to get their act together and get back in power.
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Old 01-20-2006, 04:39 PM   #7
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Even if they couldn't have won the filibuster (and IIRC they did have the votes), it would have sent an important signal to their grassroots. If they did succeed and W put forward another neo-con political animal, then you fecking well filibuster him too. And you keep doing it until the Bush regime starts taking the seperation of the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary seriously (oh and throw in seperation of church and state for good measure) - for a change. It's time to stop playing nice. The Bush regime doesn't play by the rules, so why in hell are the Democrats still polite to them? If history shows us anything at all it is that appeasement does not work.

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Old 01-20-2006, 04:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ShadowTemplar
And you keep doing it until the Bush regime starts taking the seperation of the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judiciary seriously (oh and throw in seperation of church and state for good measure) - for a change.
As much as I'd like that, I don't see it happening. The only result I see from repeated filibusters is Bill Frist putting forth the "nuclear option" that he's just been waiting to use.
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Old 01-20-2006, 04:55 PM   #9
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And then you slam them in the next election. "Mr Republica-talking-head, please explain why your president put a YEC and a political appointee on the SCOTUS. And, while we're at it, why did you push a candidate that was so incompetent at covering his YEC and neo-con leanings that you had to steamroller over established parliamentary procedure to get him there?"

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Old 01-20-2006, 05:49 PM   #10
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I say appoint him. With a minimum of fuss.

Anybody Bush nominates is going to be a conservative. So we either get an "up-front" conservative who seems to know a few things about the law (like Roberts,) a full-out conservative wacko (like Bork,) or (the most dangerous...) a "Bork in Roberts clothing"... a wacko who stealthy enough to get through without raising any hackles.

I'm not sure which one Alito is... My gut tells me he's more "up front" than "stealth" but only time will tell. At least he doesn't seem like a total nut-case.

But if the Dems managed to stifle his appointment in some way, eventually Bush will get someone in. And it may be the far more dangerous type...

Personally, I think a Conservative-leaning court could do wonders for the liberal/ progressive movement in this country in the long run.

Oh, in the short term there will be a lot of rulings that will go against everything they stand for... but eventually, if civil-liberties get too crushed by Supreme-Court rulings, the country will move left again, and when that occurs no outright conservative will be able to get elected to a major government office for a long time after that.
What's the old expression?.. "Be careful what you wish for... you just might get it!"
Especially if they move to overturn Roe too quickly* (which, let's be honest, is all this whole thing is about at the moment) which is the one thing that I can imagine could stir a lot of non-voting but moderate-to-left-leaning folks out of their stupor and into voting booths. In far bigger numbers than the Christian right could ever muster, too.

And as liberals take the White House again, the court will eventually get filled with left-leaning justices,.. and the whole bloody cycle will start all over again.

(*)
A word of warning to our conservative friends: Don't go after overturning Roe too quickly, in your heady rush of victory celebration. The country is still not ready for that yet, despite what you might believe, and those you support will see an instantaneous backlash if you try it.
The "Death by a thousand cuts" approach over a longer period of time will be far less noticed by the populous as a whole, and less likely to cause as dramatic a backlash.


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Old 01-20-2006, 11:55 PM   #11
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Personally, I hope he gets appointed if just to overturn Roe v. Wade. Let all the red, southern states outlaw it and the blue states can import their redneck wives, girlfriends & mistresses for high-priced, abortions. Or, if they can't afford them, they can have their babies and run their lives into the ground with a child they can't afford.

Eventually, natural selection will take over. The red state populations will reach a carrying capacity and collapse, allowing the blue states to take advantage of competitive release and adaptively radiate.

Then we can get the nation back into a progressive mode rather than a regressive one.

But satire aside, I *do* hope Roe v. Wade is overturned. Then the Republicans could all stfu and *real* issues that affect the majority of the nation instead of a small minority can come to the forefront of politics. Wedge issues like abortion are largely meaningless and create cultural division, much to the design and delight of a$$hole politicians on both sides.


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Old 01-21-2006, 12:16 AM   #12
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Agreed.

And one has to wonder: What issue will bring out the Christian Right to vote in such numbers as we have seen in the last couple of elections once they get thier victory over Roe?


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Old 01-21-2006, 08:43 AM   #13
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Agreed too. Though it might suck for any poor teenage girl caught in the middle in the meantime.

What's that saying? "its always easier to rally people against something than for something"? Something like that.



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Old 01-21-2006, 10:38 AM   #14
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Well, I seriously doubt my home state is going to take any huge, radical actions to ban or overly restrict abortions.

Eventually, the issue will come up before the courts again.
Perhaps this time they can pass a much better "Freedom of Privacy" law that will cover all the bases, as well as be totally bulletproof from attacks. Better yet: a Constitutional Amendment...

The mood of the country might be ripe for such a thing by then... after folks see just what it's like to lose freedoms that they had always taken for granted.


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Old 01-21-2006, 05:27 PM   #15
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Agreed as well. You all hit the nail on the head for me.
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Old 01-21-2006, 07:39 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edlib
Anybody Bush nominates is going to be a conservative. So we either get an "up-front" conservative who seems to know a few things about the law (like Roberts,) a full-out conservative wacko (like Bork,) or (the most dangerous...) a "Bork in Roberts clothing"... a wacko who stealthy enough to get through without raising any hackles.
I'd go for delaying the appointment long enough for the civilised part of the American political spectrum to retake either or both houses, and then stop him stone cold dead in every confirmation hearing. This is Congress Election Year, and Republican skeletons are falling out of White House closets by the bucketload. They only had to stay the course for - what? 10 months?

And even if they managed to get a complete ******* in, surely there is a procedure for impeaching justices appointed by presidents that are impeached for criminal abuse of office?

Quote:
Personally, I think a Conservative-leaning court could do wonders for the liberal/ progressive movement in this country in the long run.

Oh, in the short term there will be a lot of rulings that will go against everything they stand for... but eventually, if civil-liberties get too crushed by Supreme-Court rulings, the country will move left again, and when that occurs no outright conservative will be able to get elected to a major government office for a long time after that.
You're assuming that government offices will still be (somewhat) accountable to the wishes of the people.

Quote:
But satire aside, I *do* hope Roe v. Wade is overturned. Then the Republicans could all stfu and *real* issues that affect the majority of the nation instead of a small minority can come to the forefront of politics. Wedge issues like abortion are largely meaningless and create cultural division, much to the design and delight of ******* politicians on both sides.
And what makes you think that appeacement will buy us peace in our time this time around?

Quote:
Eventually, the issue will come up before the courts again.
Perhaps this time they can pass a much better "Freedom of Privacy" law that will cover all the bases, as well as be totally bulletproof from attacks. Better yet: a Constitutional Amendment...

The mood of the country might be ripe for such a thing by then... after folks see just what it's like to lose freedoms that they had always taken for granted.
You assume that the courts will still by that time be independent and capable of performing judiciary review. You further assume that the government is still held accountable to the constitution and the rule of law.

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Old 01-21-2006, 09:51 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowTemplar
They only had to stay the course for - what? 10 months?
It comes down to political expedience:

I'm sure most of the Democrats and Moderates were thinking that being seen as obstructionists to forward progress could also be political suicide at this point, and eventually be used against them.

Karl Rove is still around, for the time being... and he could do wonders with a situation like that. The Dems could actually end up losing more seats in the end, no matter how badly the GOP implodes publicly, if they gave him enough fuel to feed the whisper-campaign engine.

As it is they could still get the full treatment anyway... just for ever daring to question Alito too harshly. There's a lot of footage from the hearings that could be used negatively against them in the right circles.

It's really a lose/lose situation...


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Old 01-22-2006, 12:11 AM   #18
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I'm sure most of the Democrats and Moderates were thinking that being seen as obstructionists to forward progress could also be political suicide at this point, and eventually be used against them.
Expedience be damned. The regime will launch its smear campaign no matter what, and the corporate fatcats in the media cartels will do the dirty work. There doesn't have to be substance to the smear campaigns the regime launches, because they rely on sheer attrition and are perfectly willing to create propaganda oppertunities out of whole cloth.

If you try to appeace the regime, it will simply escalate its demands until you have to say no, and then it'll have the 'obstructionist democrats' crisis it wants. Baseless, petty, whining, and all those other adjectives - but it'll work no worse for that. So the only thing you accomplish by being accomodating is to give up hard-won ground for no return at all. The sooner you put your foot down, the less ground you'll lose - and the immediate consequences will be the same: The regime gets its 'scandal'.

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Old 01-22-2006, 12:57 AM   #19
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Good speaker, but a total conservative.

He is incredibly intelligent. I was amazed just listening to him.

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Old 01-22-2006, 01:35 AM   #20
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I'm not saying I totally approve of their tactics, Templar... but I do understand what they are trying to do.

The Democrats are pretty much sitting back and watching the Republicans slowly dig their own grave.

By the time the mid-term elections come around, all the various scandals will have come full-term and be on full display, and the hope is that the tolerance for "staying-the-course" in Iraq will then still be at an all time low and the mood will be ripe for a dramatic policy change... perhaps inspiring a country-wide shift towards the left. Sweeping a bunch of Democrats into House and Senate seats, giving them back some real power, and perhaps even control. If they can get to that point they won't need to use a filibuster to stop the things they don't like.
It's happened before in the middle of an unsuccessful 2nd term that there was a house-cleaning in Congress, shifting control back to the other party.

Coming out too forceful at this point could attract the country's attention on them, but perhaps in a negative way. It's a chance they don't want to take at this point. A calculated risk...
The country doesn't see a filibuster as a positive thing, and I'm sure the Dems are trying to refrain from that option at any and all cost at this point.

Like I said: I'm not exactly pleased with them taking this approach right now... but it's obvious to everyone why they are doing it.


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Old 01-23-2006, 11:47 AM   #21
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Hasn't worked so far...

But, hey, I'm not the one in charge of their tactical decisions...

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Old 01-24-2006, 12:15 PM   #22
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I apologize for bing gone for so long. You'd never believe this, but I managed to make about half my computer explode. I think it was because of a stripped USB port (no idea how it stripped, but it was) that I entered my room only to find the power supply giving me arc flashes. People in welding class deal with arc flashes all the time, but that's not something you want in a computer box. Naturally, the box was history. And so was my $300 motherboard.Thank God for warranties! Anyhow, the system itself is up and running, but one teeny... tiny... problem... remains. The real pain in the butt to set up, the thing I miss the most: My wireless internet connection. Yeah, my computer's been running for two days, and I have no internet connection. Mainly because the Linksys setup is f***ing me over, royally.

I'm supposed to install the driver, power it down, install the board, and boot the computer, where the Setup Wizard finishes the install. Problem is, the last step isn't working, and I can't access the Wizard from Step 3 on. Now I'm stuck with no internet. Maybe it's fried as well.

Anyways, I'm saying this because it may be a few days before I can write again. I'm not abandoning the forums; I'm gone everywhere. Until then... adieu.



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Old 01-31-2006, 12:08 PM   #23
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Whelp, it's official, Alito is confirmed

Can't say that I'm surprised.



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Old 01-31-2006, 04:35 PM   #24
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At least Bush has one solid victory under his belt. He has successfully moved the court to the right. It's not something I can say I'm happy with, but only time will tell if the American public approves of their country going backward in a time when the rest of the world is moving forward.
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Old 01-31-2006, 07:45 PM   #25
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I'm (obviously) glad Alito has been confirmed, and just as glad the Democrats didn't drag us into another excruciating filibuster/nuclear option debate...though I also think that if Alito was really as bad as Teddy Kennedy said, the Dems really would've filibustered. In my opinion, most of what was said by the Democrats in & amongst the confirmation hearings was nothing but a bunch of fallacious character assasination (yet another attempted Borking).



On another note, I've found it highly entertaining to read the posts about the Democratic "strategy" of sitting back and doing nothing...or could it be that the Dems really have nothing in the way of substance, so try as they might, they just haven't succeeded in winning?

The simple truth of it is that political/idealogical trends in society seem to be pendulemic (yes, I just made up my own word...it means, "reacting as a pendulum"). Societal trends tend to swing back and forth from conservative to liberal, but I'd say that overall, they tend to swing further to the left than to the right, creating an overall liberal trend...I don't like it, but hard truths are still true.

As for this year's elections, I don't thing there will be any kind of a Democratic revolution in Congress - too many Congressional Dems have shown that they have no substance, and not enough style to make up for it.


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Old 01-31-2006, 08:28 PM   #26
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It's a risky strategy... but if the trend toward uncovering various scandals in the current administration continues over the next couple of months, ESPECIALLY if there is a Rove indictment (or some other revelation at that scale,) there WILL be a nationwide backlash to "vote the bums out" as we've recently seen in Palestine and Canada.

The Democrats won't need a particularly gripping message at that point... just being a different choice will be enough.

And I find all this talk of "Taking back the court" to be exceedingly ironic: Aren't the majority of the Justices, even before Alito, Republican appointees? Only 2 are from a Democrat presidency, if I remember correctly.
Seems that a conservative appointment isn't a guarantee of conservative judgements...

I'll laugh my ass off if in a year or two Alito starts to lean moderate to left like O'Connor. I doubt it will happen, but it sure would be sweet.


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Old 01-31-2006, 08:46 PM   #27
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rccar - To the contrary, most Dems were furious because Alito did answer the questions, but not in a partisan way. That's the crux. The Dems are pissed because Alito never took a stance other than to compare Amendment X versus Supreme Court Case Y and he showed how he'd take these and others into consideration... but he never said anything political. That is why I admire him as a judge.



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Old 02-01-2006, 08:33 AM   #28
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The Democrats won't need a particularly gripping message at that point... just being a different choice will be enough.
Boy i hope not. I might lean more to the democrat side than the republicans, but if they take a strategy of just "not being the other guy" again then i'll be pretty disgusted.

(and it'll probably backfire on them like it did with kerry).

Of course, in today's climate where taking ANY stance on an issue opens you up to a huge ammount of scrutiny and risk, its understandable that most politicians are reluctant to state their case. But it really shouldn't be that way.

They should just say what they believe in, and why... but then they should also be given the opportunity to make reasonable changes in their opinion based on new information without being crucified as indecisive and weak.

--

So the court is fillled with republican appointees? That hardly sounds fair or sensible... it seems to me that the more i hear about how the supreme court appointments work the less i like it.

Of the top of my head, better system = every 5 years all senior judges vote for the best judges to be on the supeme court. They get the 20 top votes. Political parties have 1 veto for every 10% of the vote they got. If a veto is used then the next person on the voting results list gets bumped in. For any case a random selection of judges is drawn from the remaining pool.
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:35 AM   #29
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... but if they take a strategy of just "not being the other guy" again then I'll be pretty disgusted.

So the court is filled with republican appointees? That hardly sounds fair or sensible... it seems to me that the more i hear about how the supreme court appointments work the less i like it.
Well I hope the Dems solidify a good message that people can get behind... but if the Republicans self-destruct spectacularly, then I really don't think the message they manage to come up with will matter all that much. People will vote for change more than the messages. History shows that to be true.


And right now, if I remember correctly, the Supreme Court, with Alito, is also a majority devout Roman Catholic. I think he makes #5.

It really shouldn't matter... but it does seem a bit odd to me that's the way it's worked out.

I would think that a good mix of different backgrounds would be a good thing on the court...


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Old 02-01-2006, 10:30 AM   #30
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Greetings and Salutations. I am Gray Master. I have been around this planet a long time and in many directions. (many times self reversed.) I have seen changes to the Liberal side and Changes to the Conservative. The law and politcs do NOT go hand-in-hand. The founding fathers of the United States saw clearly that opinions and votes can and do change with the flowing of the breeze or the ebb and flow of tides. This is one reason why they saw fit to appoint the judges that have final say as to whether a law is Constitutional or violates the Constitution is a lifetime appointment. They are then not subject to political pressure of those who MAY loose their position based on the opinions of the day.

The push of the Democrats in the Senate to attempt to force Alito and Roberts to answer questions on one issue - abortion for the sake of this discussion - is not within the authority of the Senate. Their sole CONSTITUTIONAL role is Advice and Consent. Not to pre-determine HOW a justice will rule on that issue. Roe v. Wade is considered settled law. That is to say, the law that allows abortion does not violate the consitution. Should another law be passed that limited the use of abortion to, say, preserving the life of the mother, may or may not violate the consitution. Before this issue would even come to the Supreme Court, these laws would have to be passed by the representatives of the citizens passing these laws. That issue may never come up.

As for Alito being a devout Roman Catholic as an issue. LOL So is Ted Kennedy, and the last time I heard, he has not become an anit-abortionaist.
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Old 02-01-2006, 10:32 AM   #31
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Welcome to the forums, Gray Master! Nice points, actually.



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Old 02-01-2006, 10:48 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray Master
As for Alito being a devout Roman Catholic as an issue. LOL So is Ted Kennedy, and the last time I heard, he has not become an anit-abortionaist.
Never said he was. I just pointed it out as an interesting trend.

The cynic in me feels the conservative factions in this country are probably picking Catholics for the courts in the hopes that their faith will dictate which way they will decide on that particular issue... but I admit that I have absolutely no evidence to back up that belief. It's just a gut feeling at this point, and could just be an odd coincidence.

But, as I said, I am a cynic on these types of things, and experience has shown me that very little happens in political circles at that level for no reason. My best guess is that it's a deliberate attempt to sway Court opinions in a certain direction. It might fail... but that doesn't seem to stop them from trying.


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Old 02-01-2006, 12:45 PM   #33
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But good points tho. Though the appointing of people for life does lead to the possibility of imbalance depending on who gets to do the appointing when people die - which i guess is how they ended up with so many appointments by one party.. judges all happened to die at times that party was in power.
What would happen (in theory) if all the justices got blown up tomorrow? Would bush get to appoint an entire set at once?

Still, the extraction from having to worry about political favour is a good idea... its jsut that by allowing the nominations to be by the president it appears to politicise the process from the very beginning. Every democrat is suspicious of ANYONE bush nominates, as every republican would be suspicious of everyone a democrat nominated.
I still think it should be up to the judges themselves to decide who is the most senior and most able, and then the politicians might get a veto occasionally.
-------
Maybe i'll modify my system so appointments are for life (or retirement), but the replacement gets picked from a shortlist voted on by senior judges.. and parties get vetoes.. but without knowing who the next option will be. (so they would be reluctant to veto someone without good reason as the next person might be even less to their liking).

Since it turns out that no part of the working of the court is in the constitution, in theory its possible to change the court to anything we like...



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Old 02-01-2006, 07:31 PM   #34
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What would happen (in theory) if all the justices got blown up tomorrow? Would bush get to appoint an entire set at once?
Well, someone has to do it... nobody else can. But the chances of that happening ore remote at best.

Quote:
Still, the extraction from having to worry about political favour is a good idea... its jsut that by allowing the nominations to be by the president it appears to politicise the process from the very beginning. Every democrat is suspicious of ANYONE bush nominates, as every republican would be suspicious of everyone a democrat nominated.
Sadly, that's true. Partisan paranoia is always present. Though in the end, even hard-core liberals were supporting Alito. So that may be the start of a new trend. Let's hope so, anyway. I'm willing to vote for a liberal justice if he appears fair in his judgements, and his past is not littered with anti-war activism like Cindy Sheens, and doesn't politicise war ala Kerry, etc...

Quote:
I still think it should be up to the judges themselves to decide who is the most senior and most able, and then the politicians might get a veto occasionally.
The only problem with that is that you might get a 'domino effect' causing the entire court to switch to one side. Despite what some of you may like to think, that is not true of today.

Quote:
Since it turns out that no part of the working of the court is in the constitution, in theory its possible to change the court to anything we like...
A valid point, of course.



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Old 02-01-2006, 09:21 PM   #35
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I think we actually lucked out with the supreme court justices, all things considered. Roberts looks like he will actually try to stick to the letter of the law, rather than his own person opinion, which I think will prove extremely useful as the Chief Justice. Alito seems a bit more to the right than I'd like, but that's alright. We definitely wouldn't be getting any liberals...



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Old 02-02-2006, 07:32 AM   #36
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Well, someone has to do it... nobody else can. But the chances of that happening ore remote at best.
I don't know, if some anti-abortion nut figures out that if he takes out the court now then bush can appoint a whole set then... you know...
I wonder if there are rules about not having them all in the same place at once for security reasons?

I kind of think that the WORST person to nominate potential judges is the president. Do it at random. Let judges do it. Pick them based on matching the makeup of society (sex, race, religion). ANy of these would seem less partizan to me. But hey...



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Old 02-02-2006, 10:32 AM   #37
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Remember that the Senate must vote on the justice nominees. There is a check on the President. Just because the majority of the Senate is Republican doesn't necessarily mean that they all agree with Bush every single time. I know I don't agree with the President all the time, the foremost issue being how he responds to terrorism...

As for all of them dying, I'm not sure if there are security laws or not. Sounds like a Google project to me.



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Old 02-02-2006, 12:32 PM   #38
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If the president, any president, was to have need to appoint nine judges to the Supreme Court, then we would again find ourselves in the same situation we did after the the Consitution was first put into effect. At that time, what was required was an understanding of the constitution, NOT the followinging of one ideology or another. If the Congress should want to start inforcing a different set of standards, well, then George Washington said it best in his farewell adress in 1796...

"If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed."

Congress MAKES the laws and it would take a consitution amendment to validate what has happened in Congress over the last few years in regards to the appointment of judges and various levels, including, but not limited to, the Supreme Court.
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Old 02-02-2006, 12:41 PM   #39
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Though as there are no constitutional rules on how the court is appointed, how many members it must have, or anything else it is entirely allowable (and has happened several times in the past) for presidents or congress to propose changes to the system, to attempt to manipulate the system, and for the number of judges and their method of appointment to change.

I think at one point there were 6, then 9, now 7. Is that right? And most of those changes were politically motivated changes by congress or the president.



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Old 02-02-2006, 01:20 PM   #40
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The Supreme Court, at this time, has 9 justices (including Chief Justice Roberts. The Judiciary Act of September 24, 1789, put into place 5 associate Justices and one Chief Justice. The number has went as high as 10. Since 1869, there have been 9 members of the supreme court. Franklin D. Roosevelt tried, unsuccessfully, to raise the number to 15. Congress disaproved. It is Congress that has the final say on how many.

As it stands, the court cannot have a decision split evenly. This would happen whether we had 7, 9, or 99. If we had, say 1001, we would probably still have decisions that come down to one vote.
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