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"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Stare Decisis
upholding the law-vs-making new law

I'll admit I haven't gotten too emotionally involved in the John Roberts nomination and subsequent Senate hearings. Primarily because my common sense tells me it's already a done deal. With the Republicans controlling Congress there is no doubt he will be confirmed. I have watched a few minutes here and there of the hearings, but mostly to see the next Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in action.
I tend to rely on my gut in sizing up people. Despite the perfunctory objections by democrats, Judge Roberts doesn't set off my inner 'neo-con-dar' (like gay-dar but applies to neo-cons). I think he's probably the best we could have hoped for all things considered.
If I had any doubts they were pretty much erased last night while viewing Real Time with Bill Maher. Yes, I watch him. I also watch The O'Reilly Factor. One evens out the other. George Carlin was one of Bill's guest last night and his assessment of Judge Roberts was enlightening and well, kind of comforting. If you know George, then you know he's about as far left as it gets. Then again, he's not a big fan of Michael Moore's either. Go figure.
Anyway, George said, when the question concerning Roberts was brought up, "I think he tends to be of the "stare decisis", ilk." (stare decisis:"to stand by things that have been settled. The doctrine under which courts adhere to precedent on questions of law in order to insure certainty, consistency, and stability in the administration of justice with departure from precedent permitted for compelling reasons) That's been my opinion as well. Now I know we could both be wrong, and I don't know what George is basing his opinion on, but I'm basing mine on the words out of Judge Roberts' mouth.
For example, when asked whether the president had the power to authorize torture, Roberts said that "no one is above the law and that includes the president." Roberts also said he admired the approach of Justice Robert Jackson, who joined the high court in 1941 after serving as attorney general.

"Although he had strong views as attorney general, he recognized, when he became a member of the Supreme Court, that his job had changed and he was not the president's lawyer, he was not the chief lawyer in the executive branch," Roberts said. "He was a justice sitting in review of some of the decisions of the executive."

These two statements tell me that if Judge Roberts is an honest man, a man who stands by his word, he will not be swayed by political pressure, but will uphold the law of the Constitution to the best of his ability. For this reason, I will give him the 'yea' nod.

I realize this puts me at odds with more than one of my fellow liberal bloggers, but I have to go with my instincts. Besides, if George Carlin can give him a 'yea', who am I to argue?

I suspect their (the SC) next case is already shaping up.
Federal judge declares Pledge unconstitutional

Less than half an hour after a U.S. District Court judge in California issued his opinion, Roberts told Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Alabama, that the high court often has been at odds over the extent government could "endorse" the free exercise of religion. I think that statement could be quite telling.
Frankly I don't see the pledge as an 'endorsement' of religion. I see it as more of a patriotic activity. That was certainly the way I felt as a school child reciting it. The words 'under God' had no impact on me whatsoever.

I can't help but wonder if President Bush's nomination of Roberts won't one day be remembered as his subtle way of thumbing his nose at the religious right and their never ending attempts to tighten their grip on the Republican Party?
Now wouldn't that be a hoot? One worthy of his trademark smirk!


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Talking Points
from the mouths of babes conservatives

The following is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," September 5, 2005. Joining Mr O'Reilly is Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House for Republicans and currently a FOX NEWS Political Analyst. [ source ]

Gingrich : I think that part of why Americans reacted so strongly, Bill, and this is where I guess where I want to take issue with you, I think Americans think if there's a major crisis, first of all, the mayor of New Orleans had a real obligation to make sure the four pumps could work. Three of them didn't. It would have kept water pumped out.

Second, the mayor of New Orleans had an obligation to see that the city bus system helped the poor leave the city. They failed to do that.

As you point out, the governor failed to call it an emergency And initially, it was the governor who had to call an emergency. And the governor failed to see that there was enough police — state police and enough help to get the people evacuated.

Finally, when the Feds came around, they were too slow, too ineffective. And the result has been, I think, a result that no American can be comfortable with.

But I can't agree with you that the answer ought to be to give up on government being effective. And to say to everybody, you know, you better be wealthy enough that you can leave under your own power because nobody's ever going to help you...

O'REILLY: Well, I disagree with you strongly on this. I don't think the government is equipped in any way, shape or form to solve anybody's problems and to get them out of harm's way at all.

But the government cannot help you personally. And that was my point.

O'REILLY: But you said your piece, I said mine. I want to get into the micro. Why do you think President Bush was 24 hours too late on this? Because he's now the flashpoint of the whole situation. Nobody really cares about the mayor or Blanco, the governor. Now why do you think he was 24 hours too late?

GINGRICH: I think that the entire system of homeland security failed. And I want to draw a distinction, which you drew in your "Talking Points".

This is not about the brand new secretary of homeland security. It's not about any individual person. The process by which we try to solve these problems is so bureaucratic, so slow, and so cumbersome, you just had this amazing quote that you showed there, where a very, very smart man, and the secretary's a very smart man, is explaining that he's listening to all these meetings and having all of these conference calls while the television on his desk is telling him about a reality that is totally different.

O'REILLY: But that's on him. See, look, leadership is what is necessary here.


O'REILLY: And the government only works well when there's strong, effective leadership. I think you'd agree with that. You've written a book on that.

GINGRICH: Bill, you and I have an exact agreement on the problem and a profound disagreement about the solution. I agree with you. The current system, the city system, the state system, the federal system isn't working.

The difference is, I think, starting this week, the Congress and the president up here, the governors and the state legislatures in Mississippi, Alabama* and Louisiana, had better get to work fixing the system.

O'REILLY: Well, we hope they will.

GINGRICH: Because in a real terror attack, or in the next great hurricane, we're all going to be relying on a system that you and I agree...

O'REILLY: ...is broken.

GINGRICH: ...is incapable of working.

GINGRICH: The question for the president is does he become the defender of the failure, or does he become the leader of fundamentally changing the Department of Homeland Security and the entire process by which we got here?

O'REILLY: Well, we'll see. Now...

GINGRICH: I think that's exactly the choice he's got to make.

I think this conversation by two of the most conservative men I know, fairly sums up the way I feel.

I want to add to this, that late last week President Bush issued an executive order allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage.
The Davis-Bacon law requires federal contractors to pay workers at least the prevailing wages in the area where the work is conducted. It applies to federally funded construction projects such as highways and bridges.

Bush's executive order suspends the requirements of the Davis-Bacon law for designated areas hit by the storm.
One of the things the American people are very concerned about is shabby work and that certainly is true of the families whose houses are going to be rebuilt and buildings that are going to be restored.

Over $60 Billion in federal aid, of which 60% will go to contractors. But the people saddled with doing the actual hard labor will be paid below average wages. I believe this speaks loud and clearly what and for whom the Presidents priorities are.

There are those who will tell you I hate George Bush. This is not true. What I hate is his apparent disregard for anyone other than his base supporters ("Some call you the elite, the haves and have mores, I call you my base...").
I think it is becoming increasingly obvious to anyone willing to pay attention that if you are middle or lower class in this country you simply do not matter to this administration. Unless they need your vote.

* I'd like to note here that the Governor of Alabama, Bob Riley (R) has handled this crisis admirably. Under his command the area's affected by Katrina in Alabama are moving swiftly towards being back up and running. Power was restored in most of the areas by late Wednesday. Work has already begun on the clearing and rebuilding of the Gulf Coast areas in Alabama. Granted the areas in Alabama suffered much less severe, and costly damages than the Mississippi, and Louisiana areas, but Gov. Riley was on top of the situation BEFORE the storm hit. It might also be noted that at no point did Gov. Riley rely on the FEDERAL government to come to our aid. Which might explain why ....



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