Tuesday, June 28, 2005

MH - The Supreme Court's Commandment

This is, after all, a blog that delves into politics as well as religion, so you're probably expecting me to say something when the two of them collide, as they did yesterday with the SCOTUS decision on the Ten Commandments.

Well, there isn't much I can say. I wasn't surprised. I think they were wrong. I don't think this will end the matter.

We've already established that SCOTUS (along with an alarming number of people) totally misunderstand the Establishment Clause of the Constitution. Do they do this unwittingly, having fallen into the conventional trap, or do they not realize what they are doing? I do think Souter's statement that "The touchstone for our analysis is the principle that the 'First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,'" was absurd. Particularly lacking was his suggestion that because religion had become so divisive in society, all the more reason to practice tolerance of other faiths. This may well be true in personal practice, but allowing the current passions of the public to influence your interpretation of the Constitution is not, I believe, what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

Scalia's dissent was (as usual) brilliant, witty, and pungent. One of the commentators last night summarized his thoughts as follows: the majority opinion owes more to the French Constituion than the American. His vote was no surprise; as Fox noted, "Scalia, Rehnquist and Thomas have all said that there is nothing wrong with government asserting God's supremacy, while the other justices on the court believe doing so would be to the exclusion of Americans of other faiths or no faiths, and is therefore unconstitutional."

What this, and so many bad decisions during this term, points out is the importance of the judge in this age of judicial tyranny. It underlines the reason many Republicans have had for supporting Bush and a Republican majority - control of the appointments process. Of course, what they didn't tell us during those campaigns was that having a majority doesn't mean a thing when it's a Republican one, what with the half-hearted liberal Republicans who vote with the Democrats on key issues, or the faint-hearted Republicans who try so desperately to shy away from controversy when it comes up.

Yes, the next Supreme Court nomination will be a crucial one. Bush's choice will be important, but so will the reactions of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. I would think that Bush will go the route of confrontation and nominate a conservative, rather than a moderate who might face an easier confirmation (although, keeping in mind the death wish of the Stupid Party, you can't take this for granted). One can hope to sway a few Democrat votes to support the nominee; it's the Republicans that conservatives have to worry about.

More commentary over at The Seventh Age. I wonder what Billy Graham thinks about this? I have no doubt about where Bill and Hil stand.

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