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Sunday, October 24, 2004

Judging Conservative Judges

If you’ve ever listened to a Republican mouthpiece talk about judicial appointments, you’ll hear something like I heard on the radio the other day:

“Republican-appointed Federal judges are more serious about their constitutional duties than Democratically-appointed Federal judges. The Republican appointees carefully follow the Constitution while the Democratic appointees are mostly activist judges.”

I wish I remembered who I was listening to but I’ve heard the arguments before no matter who’s talking. “Conservatives honor the Constitution, liberals tend to reinterpret it to meet their own political agenda.” What a crock.

I kept trying to call into the show, to say what I wish the “liberal” opposing guest didn’t: It’s truly interesting that while so-called liberals seem to understand that there is more than one way to interpret something, which by the way is called an opinion, so-called conservatives* seem to think that their opinions are simply fact. They either have no insight into the concept that they are just as human and fallible as everyone else, with opinions, biases, and interpretations, or they are purposefully using this fallacious argument as a political tool.

I tend to believe the latter, because I don’t think they’re that stupid.

The topic is a perfect microcosm of the entirety of current so-called conservative thought and publicity. In their minds, conservative opinion is true to the values they interpret to be the core values of America, while all other opinions are at worst heresy, or at best pie-in-the-sky idealistic liberal silliness.

Judicial appointments are a particularly important area to be aware of this game and to call it to the carpet early and often and in public. The remaking of the Federal judiciary changes the way laws are applied. Much the same way as anti-gun-control politicians keep saying “we don’t need new laws, we need to enforce existing laws,” and then don’t either enforce laws or create new ones, so-called conservative appointees on the bench will interpret the law in what they consider to be accurate. Which likely means harsher treatment of drug-and-violence defendants, and more lax treatment of business interests, more prisons, less school funding. More vouchers, less affirmative action. More what they consider “traditional values” applied to divorce and child support, less inclusive interpretations of family law (gay and lesbian), governmental interference (like zoning, environmental laws, punitive damages towards offenders), and, as they say in the sales world, “much, much more…”

*I say “so-called” because I don’t see these people as actually preserving or conserving anything; rather, I see them dismantling, reacting, and destroying Democracy, tolerance, and inclusiveness. I use the term for liberals because the word “liberal” is bandied about without actually meaning anything other than more or less an expletive.


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