Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Judiciary Strikes Back

While the snivelling wimps of the Democratic party can't seem to find a way to stand up to the George W. Bush dministration's hostile takeover of government, the judicial branch is showing an admirable willingness to stand up against Bush's efforts to dominate and control it.
In The New York Times this morning, two articles on the front page of the national section provide refreshing evidence that there still is some semblance of independence in the judiciary.
In the case of Terri Schiavo, Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr. of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals took Mr. Bush and the Republican Congress to task for acting "in a manner demonstrably at odds with our founding fathers' blueprint for the governance of a free people."
And Judge Anita B. Brody of the Federal District Court in Phildelphia struck down a Bush administration rule empowering employers to cut health benefits for as many as 10 million retirees, and issued a permanent junction barring the administration from enforcing it. Judge Brody's ruling said that the administration's rule was "contrary to Congressional intent and the plain language of the Age discrimination in Employment Act" of 1967.
What is most striking about these two opinions is that both judges were appointed to the bench by George H.W. Bush, the current president's father.
Coupled with recent rulings by the Supreme Court prohibiting the execution of children, supporting Title IX and supporting the rights of older workers to file age-discrimination complaints, these two opinions show that there are some in the U.S. government who don't believe they have to kowtow to the Republicans.
The Democrats may not be doing much to represent the 48 per cent of us who voted against Bush (and the majority who disapprove of him today), but we have some hope that the bench will delay -- if not prevent -- the coup against democracy that the Bush administration appears to be trying to stage.
I've often wondered whether some Supreme Court justices -- particularly Sandra Day O'Connor -- might just be delaying their retirement to keep Bush from filling their slot with another right-wing demagogue a la Scalia, Thomas and Rehnquist. If Rehnquist steps down in June as expected, Bush can't cause much damage by filling his spot with a like-minded fascist. But if he gets the opportunity to replace a moderate, or a swing voter like O'Connor, we could be in trouble.