Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Compare and Contrast the following statements. The first is from Joshua Micah Marshall, over at Talking Points Memo.
First, this isn't just about these seven judges. It's about three and a half more years of judges President Bush still has yet to appoint. And even more, it's about one or more crucial Supreme Court nominations he'll get to make. The American judiciary will look very different in 2009 with the filibuster than without it. And letting through a couple judges now to secure that difference isn't necessarily such a bad deal.
The second is from Salon's War Room, written by Tim Grieve.
Every now and then, it begins to seem like a reasonable idea. What's the worst thing that would happen if a few really extremist judges get on the federal appellate bench? They'd sit on three-judge panels, where their votes would be diluted by predominately Republican but somewhat more moderate colleagues. And it's not like we're talking about a Supreme Court justice here, at least not yet. Is it really worth the senatorial version of World War III to stop these nominations?

Maybe that kind of thinking leads Democrats like Joe Biden and Harry Reid to be floating various compromise deals. Or maybe they're just worried that Bill Frist really does have the votes to go nuclear. Either way, a compromise on Bush's judges doesn't seem like the worst idea in the world -- at least until a nominee like Janice Rogers Brown starts to speak.

. . . In the modern America of the secular humanist, Brown said, people are still free to be "spiritual" or to "meditate," but only if they "don't have a book that says something about right and wrong."

At a time when the religious right controls the political party that controls every branch of the federal government -- at a time when the opposition party is racing to wrap its own policies in religious rhetoric -- it's hard to see how anyone could think that the right to be religious is somehow under attack in America. But Brown, like other cultural warriors on the right, clearly sees the advantage in playing the persecution card. Recall the election-year fliers warning that John Kerry planned to outlaw the Bible. It wasn't true -- it isn't true -- but somebody must think this sort of thing plays well with the voting public.
Truthfully I tend to lean towards Mr. Marshall's argument. That said, it's worth considering both.

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