Wednesday, July 20, 2005



The fight for the soul of America begins

Bush has nominated conservative appeals court judge John Roberts to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the US Supreme Court. Roberts is 50 - meaning he will affect the course of US law for the next 25 to 30 years - and while he has only limited experience as a judge, has generally taken a hard conservative line. TalkLeft has the dirt on his decisions if you're interested.

What's scary is that this is just the first nominee. Chief Justice Rehnquist is also expected to retire soon (he has thyroid cancer), meaning that Bush will get to make two Supreme Court picks. His decisions will determine the course of America for a generation. If he picks extremist conservatives, we may see a hard turn towards a theocracy, with decisions on access to abortion and the seperation of church and state being rolled back. We may also see the US effectively legalise arbitrary detention, or even torture, if Bush's nominees favour the administration line. The confirmation hearings will literally be a battle for the soul of America - and its a battle we should all be very, very worried about. For all its flaws, America has generally been a beacon of freedom to the world. I'd like to see that continue, rather than see it fall.

14 comments:

i know i'm opening myself up to accusations of histrionics, but it does seem that global events being what they are, the US is gradually losing its place as the world's premier democracy.

i know that democracy is all about 'reflecting the will of the people', but what kind of country is the US becoming under the pressure of the war on terror, and the general slide towards conservatism?

with the increasing entrenchment of conservatives in powerful positions, the liberties the Americans trumpet so loudly are under threat from fundamentalism of various kinds.

sure, maybe it's just the political wheel turning back over to conservative for awhile, but it remains disconcerting in a world where the formerly reclusive US is happy to strike out militarily...

Posted by che tibby : 7/20/2005 05:00:00 PM

My God, a conservative President is going to nominate a conservative. Who would have thought. The world will end.

What I find interesting is how liberals sound just like conservatives these days. Whenever they don't get their way it must mean Democracy is Under Threat.

Wouldn't it be more productive to question why the Dems lost? I know the activist Left hate the Dems as much as Bush and consider Clinton to be just as much an imperlaist war monger as Bush and Blair(Bosnia etc), but in the real world there is a difference.

Maybe embracing Michael Moore was worth having Bush for a second term and making 2 Supreme Court nominations. Or maybe the centre Left could tell the activists and peaceniks where to get off.

Posted by Sock Thief : 7/21/2005 09:10:00 AM

deep breathe sock.... deeeeeep breeeeatheee.

i was waxing lyrical about the repercussions for liberty in the US in light of the overturning of major laws like Wade v Roe under the new supreme court.

as i said "the wheel is probably turning conservative".

Posted by che tibby : 7/21/2005 09:39:00 AM

Well this view that the US is at risk of becoming a theocracy is a bit OTT. And a bit misguided since we do have people wanting to force a theocracy on a large part of the world's population - but they aren't Christians.

I'm not particularly impressed with the "in the good old days when the US really was a beacon of democracy". When was that exactly? Certainly not under Clinton when the Left in NZ were calling him an imperialist for standing up to Milosevic. And certainly not with Bush and Afghanistan where, before the Iraq war, the Left were calling Bush an imperialist war monger for getting rid of the Taliban.

Posted by Sock Thief : 7/21/2005 11:40:00 AM

well, the theocracy thing is a bit of a furphy. the bigger danger is that the RelRight has an excessively large influence on the future direction of the country. as it is things like creationism and other obviously fundamentalist ideas are gaining way too much ground. and personally i see that as a threat to all political persuasions.

for example, what would happen in an imaginary world were hard science is brought to a grinding halt because the guiding hand of 'jebus' will sort out problems like global warming?

plus, this particular type of lobby group is being closely watched in other countries like Australia and here. do you really want to be told to stop doing all the fun things in life?

and that's not OTT, it's a very real aim of these groups. the democracy component is that government should represent the will of the people. places like the US and here are already christian countries, how much more christian can we handle them being?

Posted by che tibby : 7/21/2005 12:06:00 PM

"how much more christian can we handle them being?"....As much as the people of America want it to become you moron....It's called democracy!

Posted by Sector 7G : 7/21/2005 02:31:00 PM

Chief Justice Rehnquist has made it clear that he's not retiring (see
"Chief Justice Isn't Retiring" in the LATimes last week). He'll likely be one of the guys who gets carted out of the Supreme Court in a box.

Posted by John : 7/21/2005 04:41:00 PM

sector you completely missed the point.

yes, it is a democracy, so they can choose whatever direction they like. But, one of the premises of democracy is open and free speech, and an open and free society.

if fundamentalist christianity is preventing either of these things, it has to be considered a 'bad thing'.

as it is, fundamentalism is already threatening to undermine many of the great American traditions. and that is bad for the US in the long term.

Posted by che tibby : 7/21/2005 05:55:00 PM

Che Tibby......Can you please list the many, great American traditions?

Posted by Sector 7G : 7/22/2005 01:02:00 AM

Sure, no problem.

Freedom of speech.
Freedom of religion.
An entrenched democratic constitution.
Freedom of the media.
Impartial jurisprudence and justice system.
An open civil society.
Freedom of expression in art and music (rock and roll, baby!).
A non-overt class system.
Full democratic franchise.
*Relatively* open citizenship (i.e. not being born American doesn't preclude eventual citizenship).

The US was a trailblazer in many of these traditions.

But, the extent to which they've been applied over the past centuries has waxed and waned.

Posted by che tibby : 7/22/2005 07:59:00 AM

Yeah i agree che tibby....Especially freedom of religion!

Posted by Sector 7G : 7/22/2005 10:11:00 AM

ah. i guess that makes you a christian then.

the vested interest shows.

Posted by che tibby : 7/22/2005 03:50:00 PM

>"in the good old days when the US really was a beacon of democracy".

cripes you dont have to go back very far to when they were apatheid isolationist and so forth. and jsut after that many of the people who now say it was a beacon of democracy were probably complaining about the fact htat it wasnt comunist enough and was supressing comunist groups and so forth.

Posted by Anonymous : 7/22/2005 07:55:00 PM

Just a note of history here to those terrified of Christians. Remember who founded modern America? Anyone?

Cripes! It was the Puritans. Well now, weren't they Christian, and shucks, even fundamentalists? Well blow me down, the earth hasn't imploded yet.

Honestly I feel like I could wave my rosary at some secular humanists, and induce them to wet their knickers. Give you lot power and us "religos" would be off into the re-education camps faster than you can say "Hegal made love to Dawin".

In a nice labour camp in an un-named blue state of America:

- Yes. Democratic Unit 67843 reporting. God and the tooth fairy are not real. Hail Science. Hail materialism. Only the empirical is true. Scientists decide the truth. Religion is the opiate of the masses. I am happy. They are feeding me well. I am free. I have free speech. Thank humanisim. -

Posted by muerk : 7/23/2005 09:05:00 AM