Saturday, September 16, 2006

Two Pieces On The Court


First posted on olvlzl, Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Molly Ivins' most enduring statement might turn out to be her observation that everyone in Washington DC ends up saying the same things. One of the same things today is that the Senate Judiciary hearings for Supreme Court Justices have become a Kabuki dance. What do you think the chances are that even three of the parrots of the DC press corps knows anything about the high art of Kabuki? Given that within the past year we have been witness to two of these shows and what those were like I'd like to suggest we pass up the obvious "theater of the absurd" designation and go straight to "charades".

But charades isn't the right word either. In charades while the player says nothing they make gestures that are designed to get the audience to say what the player is thinking. In these hearings there were a flood of words and few gestures, give or take a staged bout of tears, and the exercise was to make the audience NOT say what everyone in the room and beyond knew was the subject of the play.

Roberts and Alito lied every single time they verbally mimed the pose of not having made up their minds before hearing a case. These kobe cattle were bred and hand raised to provide the most predictable results. They were nominated into entirely predictable and safe Republican hands to be put on the court to join Scalia and Thomas to gut the Bill of Rights and Civil Rights amendments and to continue the Republican handover of the country to the oligarches and their corporate properties.

Everyone in the room knew they were lying. Such press as had any knowledge of the Court and things judicial knew they were lying though I'm prepared to conceed that the cabloid clack might not have even known what the Court was. The large majority of us who listened to the entire farce knew they were lying. And now the lies will continue as they do exactly what everyone knew they would do. The very rare times that one of them has a bit of a woozy stomach and does something slightly unpredictable will be held onto like a life raft to prove the myth of judicial independence but that won't happen very often.

The lesson for the left is that Earl Warren is dead. He's been dead a good long while now. We can stop pretending that the Supreme Court is going to be anything but the hand maiden of the corporate oligarchy. If we are going to fight this its going to be through the ballot and if not there God save us.


First posted on olvlzl, Tuesday, June 20, 2006

"Men like to substitute words for reality and then argue about the words," Edwin Armstrong, inventor of FM transmission*

That is one of the wisest sentences ever spoken about the law. Referring obliquely to the lawsuits and court rulings handing his inventions to people who couldn't even understand the science behind them, Armstrong said precisely how our judges and legal scholars do those things that earn them the contempt of millions.

That's the how of it, the why is to uphold the profit of their patrons. Judges say the stupidest things in the most elegant language in service to corporate oligarches. The excuse is "originalism", "federalism" or whatever fashionable verbal distraction has been cooked up in the interest of privilege and wealth.

But it's not all sherry and aphorisms at the top. This week's ruling on wetlands was inconvenient for John Roberts, the Chief of the Republican majority. Anthony Kennedy went off program, issuing an opinion producing less than the full gutting of wetlands protection laws that his patrons wanted. Kennedy's opinion holds the balance on the issue until Bush and the Republicans appoint another hack. No doubt Roberts, being the very model of the Republican golden boy, wants to deliver as fast as he can and get the pat on the head he craves.

In the year after Hurricane Katrina, for their empty words to endanger the entirely real and vitally important wetlands is nothing short of a crime against the People of the United States. Even as they make national security an excuse to suspend the Bill of Rights they will allow developers and others to destroy the environment, leaving us all in peril. Remember the dead in New Orleans if you think that's overblown.

It would be interesting to know how the legal thinking of those taking what is clearly the ascendant position will leave what's left of the natural barrier protecting the Gulf Coast and other areas. I mean an accurate scientific assessment based on physical facts, not Bush science, not judicial bushwah. Now, wouldn't that be a really interesting legal analysis, for a change. The real world has such a way of making it all so real.

Through the PR environmentalism like what now could sadly become know as Blue Smoke Hawaii, look for more permits to plunder. The Reagan-Bush legacy will be more distruction of wetlands and as sea levels rise we will see more of what last summer brought. Say good-bye to many more people, species and maybe the entire biosphere. With their dying gasps, turning blue, these robed hacks will be consulting the Federalist Society over the best way to cover environmental plunder in the age of gigadeath.

* My thanks to Tom Lewis and Ken Burns for pointing out this revelatory quote in their "Empire of the Air The men who made radio,". When I first wrote this I though these words applied to the law, but after thinking about it, this is one of the most widespread problems of politics and life in general. Moving and rearranging words is so easy, dealing with reality not nearly as simple or well rewarded.