Sunday, April 03, 2005

Ending the Independent Judiciary

Interesting post by Atrios on the reaction of right-wing Republicans to their set backs in the Shiavo case:

I guess I always sort of believed that the attacks on the judiciary by wingnuttia was simply a ploy to intimidate liberal judges until they could finish stacking the courts with their own. But, lately it seems that either this isn't true or that many of them have forgotten that this was the plan. It seems that they actually want to undermine the judicial branch completely, which I find rather weird.

I think we are seeing the culmination of a period that started with the publication of Robert Bork's "Slouching Towards Gommorah". Up till then the right-wing program had been to take back the judiciary from liberal/activist judges by filling seats with conservative jurists trained by the Federalist Society. But Bork's book marked a change in this program. In it he put forward the proposition that it wasn't just liberal/activist judges that were the problem but the very idea of an independent judiciary. Why did he say this? Because even conservative judges were starting to rule against right-wing causes.

The Shiavo case is just the latest, most extreme example of this. Even Republican nominated judges ruled against the Schindlers and a judge nominated by Bush The First openly blasted the Republicans in Congress AND THE PRESIDENT for overstepping their bounds.

The most extreme elements of the right-wing are now convinced that the judicial branch is rotten to the core and the only way to fix it is to completely alter its foundation. If even fellow Republicans can be corrupted by an "independent judiciary" then that independence must be destroyed.

That is not the program that their fellow conservatives signed on to. It will be interesting if Republican unity can withstand this kind of philosophical disagreement.

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