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July 12, 2005

Doing Bad in Conflicting Ways

Matt is probably correct, I should be a bit more cautious about gleefully predicting a split between Big Business and the Christian Right on Bush's pick for the Court. But Matt too should be careful: just because both groups want bad things, doesn't mean they want bad things in the same way. And while Bush can most likely find someone inconsistent enough to promise bad things in multiple ways, there are times when ill intentions use conflicting means.

The Christian Right's strategy has long been State's Rights warfare: they know the majority of the country is oriented against their agenda, so they try to enact it in ways that sidestep federal judgment. They change a few state curriculums, ban gay marriage on state ballots, ban civil unions on other state ballots, implement piecemeal abortion restrictions where they can, etc, etc. They want the Supreme Court to overturn the precedents that make doing this so tricky (In Utah, Delaware, and Minnesota, for instance, partial-birth abortion bans are languishing in courts). That means less federalism.

Business, on the other hand, wants more federalism. States rights are dangerous to them. The best example here is California. Because of our environmentalism, any auto maker hoping to serve the largest state in the union has to produce a different sort of car in order to do it. Thanks to the size of our market and thus the amount of production our car demands, that often creates de facto national auto regulation, even without a federal mandate. Same deal with the single-payer initiatives gathering steam in state legislatures -- if they succeed, and states rights are upheld by the Court, the unholy duo of pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies are fairly screwed. Considering the composition of Congress, the danger for business isn't federal regulation, it's state regulation, particularly in big states. So they want to see that power kicked back to Tom DeLay.

So Matt's most likely correct that John Engler's plea for judicial stability is a lie. Engler, as he points out, is a business lobbyist paid to make bad sound good. But what's underlying the bad is a strategy that uses Tom DeLay to dismantle regulation at the federal level and the Supreme Court to strike down attempted reregulation among the states. Dobsen wants DeLay legislating for Christ and a Supreme Court that allows his state-specific initiatives. In most judicial philosophies, these two things would conflict. Can't be state's rights sometimes and not others. But that's actually not true, Matt may be right that Bush will find a hack able to do both. Nevertheless, Democrats should recognize that there's a tension underlying these brands of conservatism and that anyone Bush picks who's able to bridge them can -- and should -- be painted as judicially incoherent.

July 12, 2005 in Republicans | Permalink

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» Business And The Christians from CommonSenseDesk
Ezra comments on the relationship with not always goals.Matt is probably correct, I should be a bit more cautious about gleefully predicting a split between Big Business and the Christian Right on Bush's pick for the Court. But Matt too [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 12, 2005 11:46:42 AM

Comments

I guess I just don't understand all of the whining and caterwalling about the possibility of Bush picking conservative judges. Wasn't that really what the election was about?
Clinton picked overtly liberal judges, Breyer and Ginsburg, and no one thought that he didn't have a right to do so. In fact they sailed through confirmation without any litmus tests.
Posts such as this attempt to show some nefarious behind the scene evil when in reality, yours and Matt's posts are simply partisan speculation and nothing more.
I am guessing it's the suspense that is killing you and driving this type of activity.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jul 12, 2005 8:26:30 AM

I think you're misusing "federalism," Ezra -- federalism = state's rights, whereas wanting less federalism means wanting the federal government to have more power. (It doesn't make any sense to me either why "federalism" means the opposite of what it seems to mean, but there we are.)

Posted by: M.A. | Jul 12, 2005 9:13:11 AM

The reason Breyer and Ginsburg sailed through confirmation was because Clinton sought and took the advice of Warren Hatch.

If and when Bush deigns to solicit advice from Henry Reid, then we'll rest assured.

Posted by: Matt | Jul 12, 2005 10:14:29 AM

Matt,

It's Orrin Hatch.

Ezra,

M.A. is right. The new Federalism of the Rehnquist court is all about striking down Federal laws and giving states sovereign immunity. It's pretty much the exact opposite of what the early Federalists wanted. So, it gets confusing.

Posted by: bostoniangirl | Jul 12, 2005 10:32:48 AM

Maybe a better word for what Ezra's talking about is "federalization," and it's a good point. Business's agenda since the Reagan years has been to replace state law restrictions on labor/employment issues, environmental issues and safety issues with federal "regulation," and then to "deregulate" the area through the mechanism of federal laws and regulations that allow the industry at issue broad discretion with respect to the area that has been regulated. See, for instance, Geier v. American Honda Motor Co., 529 U.S. 861 (2000), which is a prime example of what business is aiming for.

Posted by: nolo | Jul 12, 2005 10:53:54 AM

If and when Bush deigns to solicit advice from Henry Reid, then we'll rest assured.

So, Matt, what you are saying is that as long as Bush consults, he can send anyone up? Ginsburg is pretty much an extremist. After all, she was a lawyer for the ACLU, a very , very left-leaning group originally established by communists....certainly within the definintion of extreme.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jul 12, 2005 11:32:04 AM

It would be a nice change of pace. Clinton actually followed Hatch's advice and nominated people that Hatch suggested. Will Bush do likewise?

And can we ever understand the mind of somebody who describes the organization dedicated to the defense of the Bill of Rights as "very, very left-leaning" and "originally established by communists?" Somehow I don't recall the USSR being a haven for free speech.

Posted by: Matt | Jul 12, 2005 12:07:01 PM

Is Zimmermann for real? Ginsburg isn't terribly liberal if you look at justices in fairly recent history - she's certainly no William O. Douglas, or even a William Brennan. And anyone who calls Breyer a liberal deserves a slap in the face.

Posted by: John | Jul 12, 2005 12:51:11 PM

Ginsburg isn't terribly liberal if you look at justices in fairly recent history

No kidding. Didn't Pat Buchanan used to get his pot boiling and call Brennan "The Little Dictator"? And the ACLU jab just cracks me up.

Posted by: sprocket | Jul 12, 2005 1:12:29 PM

And the ACLU jab just cracks me up.

I can't name one original founder of the ACLU that wasn't a communist. However, I *CAN* name at least a half dozen that were. Perhaps you can "enlighten" us all.

And can we ever understand the mind of somebody who describes the organization dedicated to the defense of the Bill of Rights as "very, very left-leaning...

Perhaps Matt could explain why the ACLU doesn't support the second amendment since he has made the statement above.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jul 12, 2005 2:49:48 PM

Or you could check the ACLU's website yourself for that explanation.

Posted by: Matt | Jul 12, 2005 2:54:19 PM

Zimmermann >>I guess I just don't understand all of the whining and caterwalling about the possibility of Bush picking conservative judges.
Zimmermann >>Wasn't that really what the election was about?

No, not really. The dreaded spectre of dudes kissing at the altar was what really motivated the red state rabble who came out in droves to vote against it.

Cheers,

Naked Ape

Posted by: Naked Ape | Jul 12, 2005 3:10:38 PM

Here's the ACLU's position on the Second Amendment.

Posted by: nolo | Jul 12, 2005 3:24:10 PM

No, not really. The dreaded spectre of dudes kissing at the altar was what really motivated the red state rabble who came out in droves to vote against it.

Granted, the queer issue and the other perversions that the Democrats wished to institutionalize didn't help them any, that's for sure but the overriding issue was abortion and the liberal Supreme Court.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jul 12, 2005 4:18:37 PM

Here's the ACLU's position on the Second Amendment.

Here's the problem:
10 amendments passed at on time in one bill and they *ALL* refer to individual rights except the second? Oh, please! Do you *really* believe that was what was in the mind of the authors when they wrote it?

ACLU and those like-minded are just one more reason why the people, regular people, want justices that will attempt to look to the original meaning of those who wrote these laws to determine cases instead of some ridiculous 'reach' to achieve a predetermined political end.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jul 12, 2005 4:36:33 PM

10 amendments passed at on time in one bill and they *ALL* refer to individual rights except the second? Oh, please!

Ya know, RZ, I obviously don't have as much time during the day to dick around on the internet as you do, but I did read that link and it said alot more than that. It gave a good rebuttal to the weak-on-2nd-amendment whine that the wingnuts get stuck on.
Here is another reason they don't need to bother with the 2nd that the ACLU never even mentions; with their limited resources, why should they devote any of their work to it when the largest, most well funded lobbying group in US history is already solely devoted to 2nd Amendment issues?

Posted by: sprocket | Jul 12, 2005 6:12:57 PM

Yeah, that point about the 10 amendments passed in the same bill at the same time and yet only the second is somehow the only one that is a "collective" right is a hard one to to get around. It is a position that makes no sense to any reasonable person.
The reality is that the bill of rights were intended as limits upon how government interacts with it's citizens....individuals.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jul 12, 2005 7:16:53 PM

ACLU and those like-minded are just one more reason why the people, regular people, want justices that will attempt to look to the original meaning of those who wrote these laws to determine cases instead of some ridiculous 'reach' to achieve a predetermined political end.

BS, RZ. People don't give a crap about judicial philosophy. Normal folks just don't. They don't know what it is. Regular peoples really only care about judicial outcomes, conservatives included.

Posted by: TJ | Jul 12, 2005 7:51:34 PM

That has been the great mistake of the left.....to underestimate the voters.

Posted by: Robert Zimmerman | Jul 12, 2005 9:12:22 PM

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Posted by: peter.w | Sep 17, 2007 3:16:15 AM

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