May 12, 2005


The Republican Congress is launching a new campaign to intimidate and castrate the federal judiciary that amounts to nothing less than a reign of terror and a Constitution-shredding destruction of the seperation of powers. That's the meaning of a frightening report in today's Washington Post on a proposal by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R.-Wisc.) to create an Inspector General for the judiciary.

Not content with stacking the federal courts with racist, reactionary, homophobic corporate lackeys by eliminating the Senate minority's right to filibuster judicial nominations, the Republicans -- under the command of Tom Delay, Tom_delay the most corrupt politician in Washington -- are planning to set up this Inspector General's office to be under the thumb of Congress, to which it will have to render report cards on judicial behavior, with budgetary and disciplinary threats in its arsenal to force judge to toe the Republican line on everything from the right to die with dignity to affirmative action to abortion to gay civil rights. This is tantamount to putting the Christian right in charge of policing our courts. Not only that, there's also a Republican plan to split up the federal 9th Circuit -- based in San Francisco, it's the most liberal federal bench in the country -- by slicing it into three parts, taking Oregon, Washington, four mountain states and Alaska out of the liberal judges' jurisdiction.

The chances of defeating these measures are slim indeed. When the Republican "nuclear option" of eliminating the filibuster goes through, Senate Democrats will be unable to block this legislation, which will without doubt pass the House (watch for anywhere from 40-80 House Democrats to go over the side and join the ironclad Republican majority to pass these measures. And the Republicans are determined to pass all this stuff this year.

Next year's mid-term Congressional elections offer little hope of any change in control of Capitol Hill, which means that what will be done this year cannot be undone in a new Congress. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has already said in public that it would take a "miracle" for the Democrats to win back the Senate next year. And, given that almost every incumbent in the House was re-elected last year with around 60% of the vote -- thanks to gerrymandering by both parties -- the GOP control of that chamber next year is also not in doubt.

The founding fathers are turning over in their grave. But the progressive forces are outgunned and outnumbered by the well-financed shock troops of the Christian right, and not only the remaining handful of so-called "moderate" Senate Republicans but many Senate Democrats are increasingly pandering to the Christers. There won't be enough of either to stop this punitive Congressional control of the judiciary from becoming law.

The last shreds of meaningful democracy in this country are being dismantled before our eyes, one by one. Well, it was a nice little experiment for 236 years -- that's longer than any other republic has ever existed. But the mutant form of the new national security theocracy that will replace it will be unlike anything the likes of Jefferson, Madison, and Franklin ever envisioned--and much more like everything they feared.

Posted by Direland at 08:39 AM | Permalink


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