Friday, July 01, 2005

BOOM! The War Is On!

Justice O'Connor Retires; Setting Off Firestorm

Just as the British attacked the colonists at Lexington and Bunker Hill and the Southerners fired the first shot at Fort Sumter; the war is on in Washington. Unlike those famous American military firsts, this war will be fought in your checkbooks, on the job and weirdly in the womb of every women in this land.

It was a semi-surprise that the first female Supreme Court justice, Sandra Day O'Connor would retire from the bench rather than the ailing William Rehnquist or even the 85-year-old, liberal judge, John Paul Stevens. So, as it stands, the tenious balance of the court will, very likely, shift dramatically to the right.

Although, a conservative, O'Connor was typically the linchpin moderate that kept the court was shifting radically to the right. Talk of a moderate successor is pure folly. Never in five years of the Bush presidency has he shown any penchant for appeasing the wishes of the electorate. With the court so close to overturning Roe vs. Wade on numerous occasions, Bush will stop at nothing to feed his zealous conservative base with a pre-approved nomination straight out of the Bible.

Twice during her term on the Supreme Court, O'Connor acted as the crucial swing vote that upheld the landmark 1973 case that made abortion in the United States legal. In 1989, she sided with the left when the question of whether granting states the right to abolish abortion when her conservative brethren vowed to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Again, in 1992, she led a five-justice majority that reavowed the court's stance on the earlier 1973 decision.

Aside from the huge social ramifications this retirement may pose, the court may now be in the hands of a conservative, pro-business cartel. Here's what the TalkingPointsMemo had to say:
The end of Roe v. Wade is likely to be the most immediate and conspicuous result of today's resignation. But don't forget the effect in the workplace and the economy at large. The decision on who will to appoint is in the hands of those who would turn the US economy back to what it was in the latter part of the 19th century, a world in which state and federal legislative action to insure the common good was hamstrung by court decisions that left everything in the hands of the marketplace.

What this in practical terms will mean is that the likelyhood that any pro-worker questions will be stricken down by any future court or rolled back to pre-1960s rulings. Forget the rights of the handicapped, overtime pay, or any help regarding worker's rights.

The future may seem bleak, put the Democrats will be undaunted in their quest to shoot down any and all nominees who's idealogy strays too far to the right. The war is on and we can only hope that Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Harry Reid is again up to the task of fending off another phantom menace.

There are rumors, already, in Washington of a potential double whammy, where Rehnquist will announce his retirement soon. The rumor mill also states that Bush appoint his counsel, Alberto Gonzales, as Chief Justice. This firebomb of a nominee could send Washington over the edge.

Gonzales was appointed the Texas Supreme Court by Bush and has been special counsel to the President in Washington. He well known for his briefs that seemed to uphold the Bush administration's policy of torturing enemy combatants and found a legal stance for holding prisoners without a lawyer or without charging them for a specific crime.