Monday, August 08, 2005

Am I missing something here?

Honestly. This scares the shit out me.
In the first hint of how he will steer the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Judge John G. Roberts Jr., Senator Arlen Specter, the Judiciary Committee chairman, said Monday that he would press the nominee for his views on specific cases involving the authority of Congress to pass broad social legislation, a power that Democrats fear will be rolled back by a more conservative court...

"I think Republicans have a duty to pursue this line of questioning and any relevant line of questioning," Mr. Specter said on Monday in a telephone interview from his home in Philadelphia.

He said he was particularly upset that the court, under Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, had questioned lawmakers' "method of reasoning" in striking down laws.

"Well, that's just another way of saying Congress is incompetent," Mr. Specter said, adding, "I'm not suggesting we pack the court, but at a minimum, the Senate is determined to confirm new justices who respect their role."

Democrats and liberal advocacy groups, caught off guard by Mr. Specter's letter, were elated.
Um, why are they elated? I know that Specter, being a smart guy, used the overturning of the laws behind United States v. Lopez and United States v. Morrison--a gun control law and a section of the Violence Against Women act--but couldn't he also be talking about any other law Congress may choose to make? Isn't that exactly what the conservatives have wanted? A court that will let them make whatever crazy fucking laws they want?

Hell, before Specter asks those questions of Roberts, I'd like to ask roughly the same question of him. What does he see as the court's proper role? Is it or is it not to regard the constitution as "superior to any ordinary act of the legislature" or that "a law repugnant to the constitution is void; and that courts, as well as other departments, are bound by that instrument"? Isn't Specter saying the court shouldn't, you know, be a check against the legislature's power?

I'll admit I might be missing something, but this all seems creepy to me.


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