Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Attacking the courts

Interesting article in Slate about how the court system could be the big loser in the Schiavo mess. Although basically a neutral article, the author's belief that efforts to limit court jurisdiction and "intimidate" judges are the brain-child of right-wing nutters is apparent. But reporting on these efforts without a discussion of whether there is any justification for some of the "intimidation" efforts (impeachment threats, seeking electoral defeat of Judge George Greer, altering the lifetime tenure system in Federal courts) renders an incomplete picture of the situation.

When judges willfully refuse to follow the law (Judge Greer's refusal to appoint an independent ad litem for Terri Schiavo; the Florida appellate courts upholding that decision; the Florida Supreme Court's rulings in the Gore challenge in 2000) or when courts undermine the constitution by relying upon "foreign" law with no application to the US (see Roper v. Simmons), then the fears of an imperial judiciary are not the wild-eyed rantings of an out-of-the-mainstream group, but a genuine concern that should be evaluated and addressed.

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