Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another parade of poseurs

Following the confirmation hearing for Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Justice David Souter, I'm once again struck with how predictable this process always is.

From AP:
While Souter was appointed by a Republican, President George H.W. Bush, he frequently sided with the court's liberal bloc on controversial issues such as abortion and affirmative action. As a result, if confirmed, Sotomayor appears unlikely to alter the court's balance of power on those issues.

Click here to read the entire article.

What happens every time is that too many politicians assume that whatever shade of politics they think they see inside the head of the nominee will be the platform on which their decisions will stand. And, they say so over and over again.

Which is tantamount to saying to prospective justices that they won't be able to be objective when they are hearing and deciding cases before the Supreme Court.

Perhaps that's because so many of the politicians, themselves, seem incapable of escaping their prejudices, or acting in a way that clashes with the perceived interests of their important financial backers. It seems the cynical pols believe everyone smart enough to get through law school has to be just as willing to twist the truth for the sake of political gain as they are.

Insert your favorite lawyer joke here _______.

Yet, there's a long list of justices who surprised nearly everyone with the tilt of their decisions after they got confirmed. Chief Justice Earl Warren, who served from 1953-69, is the first who comes to mind. In fact, Souter, who Sotomayor is hoping to replace, turned out to disappoint many a conservative Republican.

In truth, America's entire system of justice depends on judges being able to make sound decisions that might go against their own personal opinions. If we all start believing that no one is capable of being fair, when they are called upon to do so, there isn't much hope for our society.

What I see in all that posturing and bluster is politicians playing to their base. Grandstanding is a more polite word for it than some others. And, it seems to happen every time, regardless of which party is in power.

1 comment:

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