Below I have included a specific look at Roe v. Wade, but since that's not the primary issue here I'm leaving it at the bottom.
I think Alberto Gonzales is the next pick for the Supreme Court. I'm not entirely sure about historical precendents for putting Janice Rogers Brown
up so quickly after they've just barely gotten her into the DC circuit, and it would be a risky gambit for Republicans to spring the nuclear option
before 2007. It would hurt them in the mid terms, so they need to save that until they find themselves in grave danger of seeing the justices
appointed by a democrat in 2008.
We also have to remember that the democrats more or less compromised specifically so that the "nuclear (or constitutional) option" wouldn't be in
place when this fight came around. I think they're hoping that O'Connor's last vote will be to strike down the nuclear option if it is used to
replace her with too strong of a conservative.
It's going to be much harder for the democrats to kill a Latino nominee with mid-term elections coming up, although I'm sure that Republicans wish
this was happening in 2006 or 2007 instead (which might lock down New Mexico, since Democrats in the South West who open their mouths against Gonzales
will do so at their peril.)
Obviously the political capital that Gonzales might give them in New Mexico, maybe Florida, and to a lesser extent Arizona is important- it leaves
them more money to spend in Ohio. In a fantasy world, Republicans might even be thinking 12-20 years ahead at making the Los Angeles area turn red on
that map and forcing the Democrats to start defending California.
So that does open up the possibility that they will save Gonzales for 2007 and put up some other moderate in Connor's place, but I don't know who it
would be in that case- I've heard John G. Roberts' name kicked around, along with a "conventional wisdom" that the DC circuit is a proving ground
for future Supremes.
In the final result, the republicans are going to have to give up something in the court if they don't want this to hurt them in the senate- and the
senate is far more important, especially with the uncertainty of the 2008 race looming ahead. They'll get a slightly more conservative judge than
O'Connor perhaps, but when Renquist comes around their likely to be trading a very strong conservative for a fairly moderate one.
On the other issues:
The courts in general are pretty much full of crap- any Republican can tell you that- even if he has no idea what he's talking about. Often enough,
unfortunately, they don't know what they are talking about, even though they are right. For one thing, not all of the horrible court decisions are
coming from the top.
As much of our trouble comes from the 9th Circuit (and other circuit courts depending on where you live- but the 9th is infamously liberal) as comes
from the Supreme Court.
The 9th Circuit found the Pledge of Alliegance to be offensive- in Nedlow v Congress, but the Supreme Court overturned that, granted without actually
ruling as to the relationship between the pledge and the establishment clause.
I don't remember the details of the case, but a New York court ruled a while back that anti-terrorism laws can be applied beyond their original
intent (it was an easy decision for some conservatives to agree with because the defendant was a drive-by shooter, but some of us were disturbed by
the precedent. It seemed very liberalesque to me when we let the court do for us what the legislature wouldn't in New York)
On the other hand, the Supreme Court, spearheaded by the libs but with Scalia joining them, did apply the commerce clause to private activities just
recently- and the hillarious thing about this is that they had to OVERTURN the 9th on that one (granted only because the 9th is full of potheads and
this was a marijuana case).
So my point is that plenty of bad decisions come down from the courts, but the blame doesn't always go to the Supremes. And of course from time to
time they do right. The Supremes saved the pledge, at least temporarily, from the 9th.
Then there is the Roe v. Wade case
Roe v. Wade was not the crushing moral blow that fundementalist Christians make it out to be. The ruling does provide considerably more leeway for the
passage of laws relating to the second and especially third trimester.
The primary problem with the court's opinion can be found in the first item enumerated in section VII, where the court explored the what
justification there might have been for anti-abortion laws, which the court claimed had no historical precedent.
The first item raised is that women who may have abortions are more likely to engage in "illicit sexual conduct". The court dismissed this out of
hand, probably because in 1973 the stakes were not viewed as being nearly so high. At that time, it would have been an unwarranted invasion of
privacy. AIDS being what it is today however, it is likely that this specific point of the decision could be called into question- the government now
has an interest in preserving the life of the citizenry which is perhaps served by leaving the obvious consequences of sexual activity (pregnancy) in
Forgive me for not sourcing all of my info- I closed a few windows before I meant to. Nothing here is verbatim or even close though, just clean
wikipedia research with my own spin on it,
[edit on 3-7-2005 by The Vagabond]