Blast From the Past: The Supreme Court and the Liberals: Dodging the Abyss

Originally posted 23 July 2005.  The course of the Supreme Court is probably the most significant unheralded issue of the presidential campaign.  The conservative side to this will be dealt with tomorrow.

If there is one thing guaranteed about the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court, it is that the Democrats in the Senate will, on the whole, oppose it. They are currently trying to conceal this fact to appear “evenhanded,” but their base will make this cordiality difficult. In his nomination the interest groups that are at the core of the left see the end of a “swing vote” on the Court and a turn to the “right.” Thus they are forced to oppose it, even if some of the senators come to suspect that they have another David Souter on their hands.

One of the hallmarks of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence is the use of judicial precedent in deciding cases before the court. The proper working of such a system is dependent upon the judges’ willingness to assume the “mind of the court” in their deliberations. The simplest way to ensure this is for judges themselves to have a basic reverence for the law and for that reverence to be their foremost value system. Any wholesale shift in that value system will lead to a shift in the way precedent is “set” and how cases are decided, and in reality on the shape of the law itself.

That shift in the values of the elites—a shift that has come to define liberalism itself—is now extensively reflected in the types of decisions that American courts produce today. As the final court of appeal in the US, the Supreme Court has become the centre in the left’s desire to remould the US. The urgency of focusing on the Court is accentuted by their failure to hold control over the executive and legislative branches of government.

This means that, for the left, a Supreme Court nomination is a “do or die” process, more important in some ways than recapturing the White House in 2008. Losing the Supreme Court on a consistent basis would lead to the progressive unravelling of the liberals’ agenda. The left’s non-governmental recourse is not as broad as the conservatives’ because their control of the government—especially the money-favouring created by political appointments in the bureaucracy and the endless grants to academia—is central to their whole concept of success in life. Their loss of government control would be the abyss for them. Like their Islamic careerist counterparts, for the left belief and politics are one, which may explain why they find being allied to Islamic groups against the Bush administration so convenient.

And an analogy to Islamic careerists is fruitful all around. Their position is akin to that of the Sunnis in Iraq: after years of being in power as a minority in the country, they are faced with the majority rule of the Shi’ite/Kurdish coalition that has emerged after the American invasion. The Sunni response has been an all-out war with the help of al-Qaeda. The left, with the exception of groups such as ELF and perhaps Act-Up, are simply not up to such an insurgency, and in reality they’re not up to fighting insurgencies of others, which is why they leave such tasks up to others and trash them when they no longer suit their own purposes.

The left, however, does have one option, and they only need to look at the example of other countries, something they generally enjoy doing.

Today in the US abortion, legalised sodomy, and in Massachusetts gay marriage are all products of judicial fiat. In other places these are accomplished through legislation. The succession of one “activist” court decision after another has relieved the American legislature of having to tackle many of the really difficult issues of the day. And the process of judicial fiat has mobilised opponents in a way that legislation has never done. Although many Christian political “pundits” wouldn’t want to face it, the reality is that much of the left’s agenda would probably eventually pass given time and the left’s talent for “raising the consciousness of the masses.”

But the left will not allow this to happen if they can help it. For untimately the greatest problem of liberalism is the liberals themselves. They prefer to issue their edicts, relying on Americans’ reverence for the rule of law to make their dreams come true. Unfortunately, as we saw in the last piece, their overreliance on the judiciary would lead to the erosion of the rule of law, and that in turn would only advance the agenda of criminals.

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