Monday, April 11, 2005

Theocracy on the March, Part 2

Not content to win elections, the zealots are attacking Republican judges.
What's perhaps most astonishing is that this anger is being directed at a federal judiciary in general, and a Supreme Court in particular, that is far more conservative than the liberal bench that once provoked similar complaints. Consider the distance traveled: What started as "Impeach Earl Warren" -- the archetypal judicial activist -- has now become "Impeach Tony Kennedy" -- the archetypal middle-of-the-Republican-roader.
The proposed "solutions" include not only impeachment but also simply removing judges from office, without having to go through the bother of impeachment proceedings, on the grounds that they have failed to live up to the required standard of "good behavior" in office. In addition to the usual misguided push for Congress to strip the federal courts of power to hear certain types of cases, such as abortion or the Pledge of Allegiance, lawmakers are also threatening to cut courts' budgets if they are displeased with their rulings.
Hype? Hardly. Here a short excerpt from S520/H.R.1070
Provides that any Supreme Court justice or Federal court judge who exceeds the jurisdictional limitations of this Act shall be deemed to have committed an offense for which the justice or judge may be removed, and to have violated the standard of good behavior required of Article III judges by the Constitution.
Radical conservatives have seized on the "good behavior" standard as the means to trump the authority of an independent judiciary after two centuries of constitutional government. For the theocons, "good behavior" means doing as they say.


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