Sunday, April 08, 2012

Who Said It?

Latest Newspaper Column:

Hey, let's play a little game. I'm going to give you five statements regarding the judiciary, in particular the Supreme Court, and ask you to guess who said them. If that's too hard, just guess whether they were a Republican or a Democrat.
(1) "The proper role of judges [is] to apply the laws as written, and not to advance their own agendas. Our founders gave the judicial branch enormous power. It's the only branch of government whose officers are unelected. That means judges on the federal bench must exercise their power prudently, cautiously, or some might even say, conservatively."
(2) "I believe on the great moral issues of our time, the people have a right to speak and say what their collective morality is, the kind of country that they want to live in, and a few unelected, in some cases, or even elected, judges should not impose that."
(3) "[F]or years what we've heard is, the biggest problem on the bench was judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint - that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law. Well, this is a good example. And I'm pretty confident that this court will recognize that and not take that step."
(4) "Supreme Court justices have always had tremendous power within our constitutional system of separated and enumerated powers. In recent decades, growing concern has arisen over judicial activism on the court, which has the necessary consequence of taking power away from the elected representatives, and thus the people themselves, and conferring it to those with life tenure, unelected judges who have occasionally used this power conferred upon them in the Constitution to impose their own views and their own agenda on the American people and substituting that for the views of their elected representatives."
(5) "Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people. ... as president, I will appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices."
OK, pencils down.
(1) was said by He Who Must Not Be Mentioned, the former chief executive whose very name brings an immediate reflexive answer from conservatives asking, "When are you going to stop blaming everything on Bush?" Yes, folks, that statement deploring judicial activism came from the Dubbyaman himself, George W. Bush.
(2) comes from the mouth of right-wing hero Rick Santorum, whose voice seems to be growing fainter and fainter, yet more and more shrill, as he falls further and further behind Mitt Romney.
(3) is a recent statement from President Barack Obama (a Democrat, in case you didn't know), in response to a press question at the White House.
(5) was said by presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Now, let's go to Part 2. Which one of the above statements caused the following eruptions of indignation from conservatives:
"This isn't right. It is threatening, it is intimidating." - Mike Johanns, Republican Congressman from Nebraska.
"[H]e's rejecting a basic premise of American law that has not been seriously questioned in 175 years, which is this: The courts have the right to review what the Congress does and what the president does and if the court finds that behavior unconstitutional, they can void, they can invalidate what the Congress and the president does. That's our system. That's what preserves the Constitution against the tyranny of the majority. No president has questioned this since Andrew Jackson!" - Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano.
And so on. The Wall Street Journal even called the remarks "unnerving."
If you guess that conservatives went ballistic over a statement by Barack Obama about "unelected judges" and judicial activism that they would have cheered had it been made by any of the other people mentioned above, you win a cookie.
It's one of those events that so perfectly sum up the culture of Wingnuttia: the faked indignation; the hysterical whining over "threats and intimidation" where none exist; and above all, the shameless two-faced-ness that presumes the audience is too stupid or too blinded by partisanship to recall that the statements they're supposed to be indignant about could have come, and in fact have come, from the mouths of one of their own candidates.
The truth is not in these people. They have proven over and over that they will do or say absolutely anything to win, because winning is their only goal, not governing. They cannot be trusted to do either.