Thursday, September 29, 2005

Chief Justice Blues

You're most likely to find new posts from me here either in the afternoon or late at night, just so you know. Classes, along with the reading, writing, and studying that goes with them, take up a lot of my time, especially in the evenings. I grab what free time I can for myself, and now that I'm blogging, too, things are probably going to be pretty tight for awhile, time wise.

And did I mention that I work weekends? So much for a social life! And here I thought the college years were supposed to be all about parties and hooking up. Did the movies lie? What a horrible thought!

So, today was the day that John Roberts was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as our new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The guy is only fifty years old and you know that our Government officials all have the best health care our tax money can provide (for them, of course, not for us!), so we're looking at the guy who is going to lead the court until 2040 or so.

In light of that, you might have thought the Democrats in the Senate would have put up a bit more fight. Sure, 22 of them voted against him, but so what? Given all the unanswered questions and the refusal to release all the documents relating to his work in the White House, particularly during George Bush I's Administration, the Democrats should have filibustered him on principle alone.

They did it with John Bolton, remember. They shut down his nomination because documents from the State Department weren't handed over. They should have done the same here.

But apparently enough of them were won over by his smiling charm and that adorable little son of his, paraded around just enough to paint the perfect picture of decency and family values.

Well, now we're stuck with him. Maybe he'll surprise us. Once on the court, Justices have been know to shock those who appointed them, or to slowly change over the years and become more moderate.

But can you really imagine this administration appointing anyone who wasn't going to stick to the Conservative hard line all the days of his life? I can't. They wouldn't leave anything to chance.

I read today in one of the news articles that Roberts was confirmed by the biggest majority ever for a Chief Justice. Someone Bush appointed got the biggest majority ever. Way to go Senate Democrats! Ever hear of the term 'opposition party'?

Of course, to have an opposition party, we'd have to have people serving who are actually in opposition to what the Republicans stand for. And the majority of elected Democrats aren't. They just stand for a more moderate, toned down version.

Anyone who cares about their freedoms and civil liberties should be worried right now. And as a gay man, it's doubly worrying to me that issues affecting my daily life, like my right to someday marry the person I love, to adopt children, to not be discriminated against in the work place because of my sexual orientation, and possibly even the right to have sex with the person I love in the privacy of our own home, will be coming before a court headed by a man who most likely holds the same rigid views as George W. Bush.

Some people are saying that it's okay, because it doesn't change the balance of the court. Roberts replaced the equally conservative Rehnquist, so the status quo isn't affected.

Bullshit. First of all, Roberts was nominated to replace O'Connor to start with, so don't fool yourself for a second into thinking that the next Nominee won't be just as conservative. Bush showed that altering the balance is his primary goal. And you know what? Had Rehnquist not died, there's no real doubt in my mind that Roberts would still have been confirmed today, as O'Connor's replacement. The Democrats weren't going to fight his nomination either way.

So don't lull yourselves into complacency. The balance is going to shift and the shit will be hitting the fan for decades to come. The only way the Democrats will fight the next nominee is if some skeleton emerges from his or her closet, or if the nominee is abrasive enough to make them feel safe doing so. John Roberts came off as such a nice guy that a lot of the Democrats seemed to be scared to oppose him strongly.

And don't think Bush & co didn't notice that. Look for the next nominee to be just as charming, if they can manage it.

Forgive me if I sound a bit defeatist right now. But the fact of the matter is, things aren't going to change until we make them change. It's time to vote this bunch of Centrist Democrats out of office and replace them with true liberals. That's the only way we're going to truly oppose the Republicans.

These scaredy cats in Congress aren't going to strongly oppose anything Bush & co put forward until they're sure it won't hurt them with centrist voters. Well, what more do they need? Bush is lower in the polls than he's ever been. When do these idiots feel safe enough to start showing some real backbone? And when do the Republicans wake up to the fact that Bush is nothing but a big old anchor around their necks? When will they finally distance themselves?

It's coming, but can it come quickly enough to spare us another John Roberts sitting on the bench in O'Connor's seat?

I wouldn't bet on it. But the horrible truth is, we all stand to lose a lot without even placing a bet.

I hate to end on a down note. Worse, I hate to go to sleep in a bad mood. But wait! Tom DeLay was indicted today and had to 'temporarily' step down as House Majority Leader.

Ah, now that's something to smile about.

That and some sweet dreams about the hot guy in a tight t-shirt that left nothing to the imagination who sat next to me in class today should be enough to have me feeling optimistic again in the morning.

No comments: