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What Would People Think?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Good and Bad News From Different Supreme Courts

The good news first: Justice Leah Sears, the new chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court will become the first black woman to head a state high court. Who knew Georgia would be first?

Justice Sears is a solid judge, definitely in our jurisprudential camp. Sonny Perdue campaigned for her opponent, calling her an activist judge. She still won the judicial election with 62% of the vote. Guess who didn't show up at her ceremony when she became Chief Justice?

The last Chief Justice, Norman Fletcher, was a generally good guy, too. He's part of the driving force behind the reforms in criminal defense in Georgia, including the creation of the Georgia Capital Defender, where I'm interning. While the Georgia courts have their share of psycho conservatives, there's at least some hope.

We need all the hope we can get when we come to.....

The bad news: Sandra Day O'Connor is retiring. O'Connor was the great Swing Voter. On so many issues, she was the deciding vote. She was a conservative, no bones about it. But she was a moderate conservative, willing to admit the Constitution is not the same document it was 200 years ago and willing to craft compromises.

Now she's out, and you can bet that Bush isn't appointing another moderate. Think the filibuster fight was bad before? Get ready for all hell to break loose. While it looks like Senators Frist and Reid are currently on speaking terms about the issue....Republicans are under too much pressure from the Dobson-ites. They are going to try and appoint some Constitution-in-Exile justice like Thomas. There is cause for fear.

Update: People for the American Way have an excellent issue-by-issue summary of all that is at stake if just one or two more Justices vote like Scalia or Thomas.

As some of you might guess, I would support some of these changes: limitations on abortion and allowing funding of religious groups that work with the poor on equal grounds with non-religious groups. But, on the whole, too many horrible changes would take place to American law to contemplate supporting another Thomas.....or to stand idly by and let one be appointed.


  • One of the short-listers was a judge who voted for Castle Rock in the Gonzalez case. Another is, well, Alberto Gonzalez. Yeah, this is gonna suck.

    By Blogger Jeff, at 7/01/2005 1:08 PM  

  • Actually, Gonzalez is the moderate one! Mr. Torture has gone centrist on abortion and affirmative action.

    I'm just gonna beware anybody supported by the American Enterprise Institute.

    By Blogger Ben, at 7/01/2005 1:22 PM  

  • "Mr. Torture", as you describe, has actually always been only slightly right of center, and not just in light of his predecessor. Then again, that may just be my Rice roots talking.

    Regardless, yeah, Jeff, this will blow goats.

    By Blogger Mike, at 7/01/2005 1:46 PM  

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