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Old 12-10-2005, 09:44 PM   #1
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I want to know more

About the supreme court, alito and it's image in the eys of democrats and republicans.

Is the court activist? Does it undermine democracy by deciding social issues (abortion)? Does it do a fine job protecting our freedoms? Alito - Opinions? Democratic view? Republican stance?

Just want to learn more by seeing some hot debate!
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Old 12-10-2005, 10:01 PM   #2
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It's mostly a rhetoric game. Those who refer to the courts as "activist" are Republicans who don't like the fact that they have to deal with the rule of law and the Constitution, rather than just exercising mob rule. Most of these so-called "activist judges" were actually Republican appointees.

What's frightening about all this is that a lot of these folks whining about "activist judges" and wanting "strict constructionists" are merely wanting judges who will vote to support conservative causes. Nothing more. Nothing less.

One of the justices of the Kansas Supreme Court--a reliably conservative state, mind you--blamed a lot of these unfounded attacks on the judiciary on a lack of civics education in this country. A lot of people here plain do not understand what the judiciary does.

Looking at a lot of these so-called "activist" rulings, I would say that the vast majority of them were based on sound interpretations of existing law or the Constitution. The rulings in favor of gay marriage in some states were based on either the lack of explicit amendments forbidding it or a law that violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The latter is a particularly large part of the equation, since it is a clause that forbids creating laws that unfairly target minority groups (hence, "equal protection").

With the Terri Shiavo case, it was conservatives who were actually looking for an "activist ruling." Judges consistently ruled in favor of her husband, because the laws were all written to favor the husband's rights. Ironically, those "Defense of Marriage Acts" strengthened his position and weakened any potential rights for her parents in this kind of situation. And the judiciary was also correct in rebuking the Florida legislature and governor for creating a law that applied to only one person. Those kinds of laws are specifically unconstitutional, since the British were known to create laws making criminals out of individuals during the colonial days.

Funny enough, the judges that have dealt with both issues have mostly been Republican appointees themselves. Generally speaking, I find it highly disturbing how conservatives have politicized the judiciary for not ruling the way they wanted them to. If they want a stacked, biased judiciary, then maybe conservatives should all move to Iran for a little while and then maybe they'll appreciate the value of an independent judiciary.

Melon
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:35 PM   #3
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Thats an interesting take. How do you think alito will stand? Activist? He has an interesting history with abortion.
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Old 12-11-2005, 01:52 PM   #4
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I have no idea about Alito...but I agree that "activist" is just a vague, meaningless term given to anyone that rules against the wishes of a particular party. For example, liberals would refer to a court that overturned Roe v Wade as an activist court, but conservatives would say that Roe v Wade was itself the result of judicial activism because the Constitution never guaranteed the right to an abortion.

The conservatives have their abortion litmus tests, but then you can see from the recent hearings that anyone who refuses to unequivocally support Roe v Wade is less than forthcoming according the the Democrats. It's all meaningless.
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Old 12-11-2005, 03:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
It's mostly a rhetoric game. Those who refer to the courts as "activist" are Republicans who don't like the fact that they have to deal with the rule of law and the Constitution, rather than just exercising mob rule. Most of these so-called "activist judges" were actually Republican appointees.

That's an interesting re-write of history. Perhaps you forget the Warren Court, where the court created the rule of law where the Constitution would allow the desired result. That is where the concept "activist" judge originates.
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Old 12-11-2005, 04:32 PM   #6
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
That's an interesting re-write of history. Perhaps you forget the Warren Court, where the court created the rule of law where the Constitution would allow the desired result. That is where the concept "activist" judge originates.
The Warren Court actually had the guts to enforce the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, rather than cowing to popular racist sentiment that supported segregation. If it weren't for the Warren Court--Warren, himself, a lifelong Republican and appointed by Eisenhower, a Republican--racial minorities would still be forced to deal with that illusion of "separate but equal" that made all the bigoted white people happy.

Warren's enforcement of the 14th Amendment--100 years after it was ratified and ignored--was nothing short of courageous. He helped recognize that the Constitution and the rule of law benefits all Americans, not just white Christian Americans.

It's a shame that enforcing the inherent equality of the Constitution is considered "activist." It helps give us the moral justification to put pressure on foreign nations to give equal rights to all its citizenry. After all, in theory, this kind of moral justification helps Christians when they are in the minority in other nations. Saudi Arabia, anyone?

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Old 12-11-2005, 04:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
It's a shame that enforcing the inherent equality of the Constitution is considered "activist." It helps give us the moral justification to put pressure on foreign nations to give equal rights to all its citizenry. After all, in theory, this kind of moral justification helps Christians when they are in the minority in other nations. Saudi Arabia, anyone?

Melon
I guess it wouldn't be a proper Melon post if we didn't get back to the evils of Christianity.
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Old 12-11-2005, 04:58 PM   #8
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
I guess it wouldn't be a proper Melon post if we didn't get back to the evils of Christianity.
And I guess it wouldn't be a proper nbcrusader reply, if you didn't ignore the main point of my arguments and merely look for the side point that makes you look like a victim at every twist and turn.

If Christians are bigoted and actively work to support bigotry on the flimsy argument of trying to "keep everything the same," they're as evil as anyone else. The blood of many lynched blacks in the 19th and 20th centuries are still on their hands, and if it weren't for the Warren Court, we'd probably still think it's alright to lynch blacks with all-white juries in puppet trials, with the all-white police force clapping along with it.

That aside, since that's history, you can't hide behind God to justify hatred. Ever. Christianity is not inherently hatemongering, but bigots love to use Christianity as an excuse to justify their prejudices. I hope they receive the same Judgment that they've applied to others over the years.

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Old 12-11-2005, 05:03 PM   #9
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Woah this is steeping alittle besides the point. The evils of christanity aside....

It sounds like the debate has alot to do with the parimeters of courts control. Is that ever clearly defined?

In some reseach I now know that the decision Marbury v Madison was when the court was defined as the final arbitor on the consitution.

But when does it become a judical oligarchy? Would we be better off leaving things to popular vote and states rights? But where would that leave minorities in history?

Its an interesting set of questions. Ideas? Opinions?

Oh and I am still curious about Alito!
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Old 12-11-2005, 05:13 PM   #10
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Originally posted by Tarvark
But when does it become a judical oligarchy? Would we be better off leaving things to popular vote and states rights? But where would that leave minorities in history?

Its an interesting set of questions. Ideas? Opinions?

Oh and I am still curious about Alito!
The Constitution was meant to protect the rights of the minority, along with the majority. As such, there are constitutional limits on what the majority can exercise, as to prevent the tyranny of the majority onto an unpopular minority. Granted, there have been periods of history where such tyranny has indeed occurred, such as the embarrassment of racial segregation in complete contradiction of the 14th Amendment, which is why I often get perturbed when conservatives look to trash the Warren Court. It was racist nonsense back in the 1970s that hated Warren, where conservative areas wanted nothing to do with school integration or allowing blacks to vote without restrictions, and I cannot help but wonder what kind of people, 30 years later, would condemn his rulings now?

But again, people have a poor understanding of civics in this nation.

Alito is a puzzle. Conservatives trumpet him as the next Antonin Scalia, whom I think is one of the worst excuses for a Supreme Court "Justice" ever. It's not that I object to the fact that he has conservative rulings, inasmuch as his justification for his rulings are often sewn together with histrionic prejudiced ranting, rather than an actual legal basis.

Anyway, back to Alito, a lot of people that have worked with him have commented that they're baffled as to why conservatives want to link him to Scalia, and say he's been a rather mainstream judge. So, really, the reality is that we just don't know what kind of judge he will be. But that wouldn't be the first time that's happened. An upwards of 40% of Republican judicial appointees tend to turn out more "liberal" than expected. Maybe that's because the rule of law is more "liberal" than perceived by conservatives.

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Old 12-11-2005, 06:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
And I guess it wouldn't be a proper nbcrusader reply, if you didn't ignore the main point of my arguments and merely look for the side point that makes you look like a victim at every twist and turn.

If Christians are bigoted and actively work to support bigotry on the flimsy argument of trying to "keep everything the same," they're as evil as anyone else. The blood of many lynched blacks in the 19th and 20th centuries are still on their hands, and if it weren't for the Warren Court, we'd probably still think it's alright to lynch blacks with all-white juries in puppet trials, with the all-white police force clapping along with it.

That aside, since that's history, you can't hide behind God to justify hatred. Ever. Christianity is not inherently hatemongering, but bigots love to use Christianity as an excuse to justify their prejudices. I hope they receive the same Judgment that they've applied to others over the years.

Melon
The constant rants against Christianity shred any credibility of the arguments you share. I guess this is what the fullfilment of the law looks like.

As for the prior post, you were essentially making my argument. An "activist judge" is not as concerned with the rule of law, but instead wants to achieve a result. So, instead of making an argument based on the 10th and 14th amendment, the role of federalism, etc., the focus was simply on the proper result.
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Old 12-11-2005, 06:59 PM   #12
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
The constant rants against Christianity shred any credibility of the arguments you share. I guess this is what the fullfilment of the law looks like.
I will continue to oppose the false prophets of Christianity, who choose to invent a reactionary ideal past that never existed and wish to scapegoat unpopular minorities for all the world's problems. I will always have problems with people who proclaim loudly that they're "pro-life," and then equally shout to deny mercy to condemned prisoners.

What you call my rants against "Christianity" are rants against the Religious Right elements that have hijacked the faith. I have no apologies, just as Jesus had no apologies for challenging the reactionary Pharisees. If everything can be reduced to "right" and "wrong" with no shades of gray, then, frankly, the Religious Right will sow the seeds of their evil come Judgment Day. Those who give no mercy to the least of their neighbors should expect no mercy from God.

Quote:
As for the prior post, you were essentially making my argument. An "activist judge" is not as concerned with the rule of law, but instead wants to achieve a result. So, instead of making an argument based on the 10th and 14th amendment, the role of federalism, etc., the focus was simply on the proper result.
This argument makes no sense. Segregation was--and always was--a violation of the 14th amendment. It has nothing at all to do with some arbitrary notion of the "proper result." Applying poll taxes to prevent the poor from voting was always unconstitutional. Trying and executing minorities with racist juries was an absolute travesty of justice.

What bothers me most of all here is the fact that I still have to argue these points in the 21st century. I find this to be completely mindboggling. What the fuck is wrong with Americans today?

And you know what worries me even more? I wonder if the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s has much in common with the end of World War I. Seeing the absolute xenophobia and intolerance in the name of religion makes me fear that in a generation or so, we'll be heading down the line of Nazi Germany. Before you blow this line out of proportion, I don't think we're there. But when the majority thinks that it is within their right to exercise tyranny against the minority, we're well on our way there.

Melon
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Old 12-11-2005, 07:21 PM   #13
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I think you've missed my point on both parts.

First, you can have your opinions regarding Christianity, and share them. I guess the command to love one another is conditional. But to insert an extra comment in each and every thread is tiresome and diminishes what you otherwise offer to this forum.

Second, we are not discussing the application of the 14th amendment, but the definition of "activitst judge". I think you've adequately made my arguement.
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Old 12-11-2005, 07:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Second, we are not discussing the application of the 14th amendment, but the definition of "activitst judge". I think you've adequately made my arguement.
*sigh*

Quote:
That's an interesting re-write of history. Perhaps you forget the Warren Court, where the court created the rule of law where the Constitution would allow the desired result. That is where the concept "activist" judge originates.
YOU were the one who turned it into a discussion of the Warren Court, citing it as an example of "judicial activism," and NO discussion of the Warren Court is complete without mentioning its enforcement of the 14th Amendment. That was the hallmark of his tenure that covered the vast majority of his prominent cases, so if you're going to cite his court as the definition of "judicial activism," then elaborate your point, instead of being smug. I have no idea what your "argument" even is, because you never even bothered to make one. I've cited examples for my case, and the best you can do is speak in generalities and play the victim yet again.

Unless you wish to actually elaborate your point with examples, then I think our discussion here is finished.

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