Monday, June 27, 2005

Why the New York Times is just as bad as the others, a Supreme Court article

In today's New York Times' an article about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy plainly asserts that the judge has few loyalists on the right, thus assuredly eliminating his chances for a Chief Justice nomination should William Rehnquist retire. This article is problematic in many ways.

Take this excerpt:

A genial apostle of tolerance and consensus, Justice Kennedy, 68, is an unlikely lightning rod, one whose traditional Catholic background has little in common with the flag-burners, pornographers or abortion advocates his reading of the Constitution protects. [My emphasis]

For one, this sentence, idenitfying Kennedy as a "traditional Catholic" and a "genial aposlte of tolerance and consensus" establishes Kennedy as a man who can do no wrong. Then, by placing Kennedy as morally opposed to the people he has ruled in favor of, the article suggests that Kennedy, not the "abortion advocates" are the good guys. Furthermore, the article employs the term "abortion advocate" rather than pro-choice activist, which is mis-representative of how many pro-choicers feel about abortion. Also, that the setence lumps in pro-choice groups with pornographers is pretty damn messed up. Pornographers usually have pretty diametrically opposed values to pro-choice supporters, such as an inherent disregard for women's rights. The Times is all about recognizing how great Kennedy is though to care.

The article also quotes a crazy man by the name of Robert H. Bork as an authority on who should be confirmed. Bork was Ronald Reagan's failed nominee for the Sureme Court and is to the right of Atilla the Hun. He was the man directly responsible for firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox when Cox asked Richard Nixon to turn over tapes for investigation into the Watergate burgalry, showing how ethical a man he is.

In the Times article, Bork disingenously claims there is a "judicial oligarchy" (presumably that his right-wing judge buddies aren't a part of) and that there exists a phenomenom called "judicial activism" which theoretically is defined as a judge over-stepping his jurisdictional bounds, but in Bork's case, it basically means that a judge has made a ruling that Robert Bork doesn't like. He doesn't like Harvard because it has liberal intellecutals. (A) Harvard is a huge feeder into corporate firms. (B) Harvard, like any other big law school has an active Federalist Society chapter, which is the group that is behind getting more judges with Republican values in the judiciary.

The articles sources, with all of their quotes about plans to ensure "no more unknown packages," that is, no judges whose rulings won't be amenable to right-wing beliefs (like David Souter, or Anthony Kennedy according to these extremists) is audacious in the fact that these groups have no intention to try to keep the judicial branch above politics (which of course is impossible, but it is easier done without people like Bork trying to influence selection).

Finally, the article is a total puff-piece, fawning all over Kennedy by placing him above politics. Vaunting a man who signed on to one of the most problematic majority opinions, Bush v. Gore, as impartial and above the political fray is pretty irresponsible. Take this line: "His admirers see in him the essence of a judicial temperament: good judgment, fair-mindedness and a willingness to disentangle his own moral values from the law."

Basically the article puts Kennedy on the left by virtue of being less extreme than Phyllis Schlafly, Robert Bork, and right-wing organizations like Focus on the Family. Liberals need not apply, as they will not be interviewed by the New York Times.

1 comment:

jacquelyn finney said...

Judicial Activism-Ninth Circuit

The California Bar Journal, February, 1996 stated that U.S. District Court Judge Dickran Tevrizian proposed, promoted, and extrajudicially affirmed that California Rule of Court 989.3 is "consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act", as applied to the California courts.

Does Judge Tevrizian's proposal, promotion, and extrajudicial affirmation of a state law subject to constitutional challenge in federal court mean that Judge Tevrizian is a "judicial activist," subject to recusal under 28 U.S.C. 455?

The U.S. Supreme Court was asked this question in Finney v. Nugent, cert petition No. 04-1653 filed on June 6. The legal case documents are posted on I am the petitioner, a former federal fraud investigator, who is totally disabled by polio and has been denied access to the California courts.