Last week’s events in Washington have caused commentators to suggest that President Bush is losing his grip on absolute power. First the Senate passed the McCain amendment to the 467 billion dollar fiscal 2006 Defense Spending Bill [HR 2863]; the amendment bans the use of torture by the military. Bush had threatened to veto the bill if it contained any such language. The amendment passed 90-9. On Friday, 10/7, the overall bill passed 97-0. This seems a clear challenge to the President, who, some say, tried to preemptively catch his falling star with a strong speech on terror. On 10/6 Bush said, "Allies of terror are enemies of civilization!" He didn’t comment on the terror many are feeling in anticipation of heating their homes during the coming winter. The grossly inflated profits of Mega Oil are an immediate and specific threat that President Oil didn’t address.
Elsewhere on the energy front, Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, stated during a "Democracy Now"[democracynow.org] interview on September 20, 2005, "We have given instructions to the president of CITGO, Felix Rodriguez. [CITGO is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Venezuelan National Oil Company. CITGO is owned by ‘PDV America, Inc., an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.’ -- citgo.com, which has 300 billion barrels of known reserves, the world’s largest in a single country. Iran is next with almost as much.] We want that up to 10 percent we refine here. We supply every day to the us 1.5 million barrels of oil, crude and product and we refine, here, close to 800,000 barrels a day refined here in the US. So we would like to take 10 percent of what we refine those products . . . to donate some heating oil, because the winter is close, and for the school transportation to school, for the Mexican neighborhood which is the largest in Chicago, La Villita, is the name of this neighborhood with close to 900,000 inhabitants, and so there are other neighborhoods with Hispanics and Latinos. October, the 14th we’re going to start with these pilot projects with small communities and schools, but there are other pilot projects that will start in November in Boston, and here in New York."
Most analysts agree, the much needed aid will be banned by a Bush decree. The president will say something like, "We’ll not allow socialism to unfairly mess up the good thing we have going, the market conditions in America, free market are democracy, you know." It’s widely held that such verbal constructs are understandable when uttered by Hugo Chavez, for whom English is a second language.
In a statement to reporters, President Bush announced today that he’s confident that Harriet Miers will render "strict constructionist" interpretations on constitutional matters that come before the Supreme Court. He told reporters, "Harriet is well qualified for the court and can be counted on to remain loyal to the principles that have brought her so far."
An injudicious reporter asked, "The framers of the constitution intended the Supreme Court to be comprised of justices, who are independent of political influence! Is the attempt to undermine the clear intent of The Constitution a ‘strict construction’ or is it an unconstitutional by pass employed to further your agenda?"
The president decreed, "Off with her head!" The naive journalist was carried out kicking and screaming by secret service agents. (Ms. Aggregate was later allowed to escape by the agents. They had moral qualms about carrying out what they believed to be an illegal order.)
The President declined to explain the constitutional authority for his decree saying, "The case is still under investigation. Hunh, Hunh!" The snicker was accompanied by the re-emergence his, missing of late, characteristic smug and leering countenance, which discouraged further questions.
Let me grab your attention by asserting that there’s no point in questioning any politician, especially federal court nominees, concerning their opinions, principles or values. Once a federal judge is seated, they no longer need to conform to a political ideology in order to maintain their position. They are free of the need to posture, pretend and lie about their true beliefs and feelings. Until seated, like anyone, they will not reveal them. Ordinary politicians, on the other hand, are never free to be honest.
In general, not only politicians but all people, no matter how modest their ambitions, must conform to the ideology of a group or party in order to survive– much more so if they’re to have the credibility and support needed to succeed at anything. Success requires that you not only attach yourself to some large party, incorporation or group but that you strongly espouse the party’s current dominant themes and positions. Conformity is the political reality and is exclusive of individuality. Until confirmed and seated for life on a bench, federal court nominees are no exception. They must be politicians like the rest of US.
I believe that many, if not most of US, certainly myself, if open, frank and honest, could admit differences with our chosen party or group. We don’t risk the support of our peers, or firing by our bosses, by doing so. All politicians, and we’re all either politicians or fools, are painfully aware of this reality. We may be hiding differences with our group which we weren’t aware of until long after we’d chosen our party. Once chosen, switching course will usually damage our careers. Few have the courage to do so and they are usually ridiculed as true believing fools. But a federal judge, once confirmed, is free from intellectual bondage. Free to be independent. Free to be an individual. A judge must be a politician only until appointed to the highest federal court to which s/he aspires. Thank God it is so!
Requiring a judge to have beliefs that conform to a factions opinion, especially with respect to the constitution, is presumptuous. The Supreme Court of the United States is the ultimate authority on the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. To demand that a Justice conform to your party’s opinion is like demanding God read the Ten Commandments under your guidance. Thank God that the framers of our Constitution saw fit to free the Justices from the corrupting influence of political and religious loyalty. Perhaps more importantly, in most cases it’s a waste of time to expect party line loyalty from a federal jurist. No judge worth having would allow the posturing and lies required to survive in politics to compromise their independence once on the Court.
It is the uncontested and clear intent of the founding fathers that the federal judiciary be independent of the legislative and executive branches of our government. If it’s true that Harriet Miers (or any other federal judicial nominee) as Bush and Hatch say, conforms to the "strict constructionist" craze or any other ideological theory that would limit the independence of the judiciary, then she’s not the right stuff for the Supreme Court.
I'll feed myself and provide other necessary resources so that I may continue to write.
A G Kaiser
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