Monday, June 27, 2005

Split Court Press

The Supreme Court of the United States has handed down two decisions regarding the display of the Ten Commandments in our nation. Both decisions are guaranteed to piss Somebody off, so let's take a look at them.

In a Kentucky case, the Supremes ruled that the Commandments could not be displayed in the courthouse, as they were there for a demonstrably religious reason. (Although the Commandments and Moses are shown in the Supreme Court building in DC, the actual tablets are blank, as I recall.)

However, in a Texas ruling, the Supremes did a little shuck and jive. They ruled that the Commandments, which were displayed as a monument on the courthouse grounds along with several other stones depicting various legal and religious bases of our government and code of laws, was perfectly legal because of the context in which it was located. Uh huh.

Both decisions were 5-4 splits, which shows just how crazy things could get if Chief Poobah Rehnquist retires. He is, after all, 80 years old and has cancer. Justice Stevens is 85, and Justice O'Connor is 75 - they are the three oldest members.

I think that Certain People in the Bushite Junta must lie awake at night and fondle themselves to fantasies about not one, but three vacancies in the Court on Dubya's watch. There would be some serious movement away from many legal positions if that happened and Dubya's lapdog GOP Senate managed to send three Freaks up.

First thing, right out of the gate: Goodbye, Roe v Wade. Second, Lawrence v Texas. Third, maybe Miranda v Arizona. And the list goes on.

Now, none of the Nine have announced their retirement, so the balance of the Court remains intact for now. Selection of the possible candidates must be interesting. One of them is the current Attorney General, who said that torture was perfectly hunky-dory and that the Geneva Conventions were "quaint."

Alberto Gonzales would be a perfect storm candidate - the first Hispanic on the highest court in the country, despised by the Democrats for his stance on torture, despised by the extremist GOP for his favorable rulings on abortion while on the Texas Supreme Court.

I'll have to lay in a supply of vodka and chocolate cookies for the confirmation hearings.


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