Judging the Judges

Judging the Judges

Judging the Judges

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
April 13 2005 6:53 PM

Judging the Judges

Inspired by debate over the use of filibusters to block judicial nominees, bloggers consider the judiciary's rightful role. They also discuss the role of China and Japan in stabilizing the U.S. dollar and speculate about Britney Spears' pregnancy.

Judging the judges:Republican senators are considering accelerating efforts to block Democratic filibusters against judicial nominees, a confrontation that had been expected no sooner than May. Debate has heated up over procedure for judicial appointments and the role of the judiciary itself following a conference held last week by religious conservatives on the dissonance between religion and the courts. Participants called for the impeachment of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, saying the justice "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law," the Washington Post reported. (Sam Rosenfeld has direct-to-blog coverage of the conference at TAPPED, the roundtable of liberal monthly American Prospect). The New York Times reports that both Bill Frist and Arlen Specter think the rhetoric of the struggle has been getting out of hand.

"I hope the cooler minds among the Republicans in Congress see the need to distance themselves from these sorts of attacks," writes law professor Ann Althouse. Self-proclaimed "voice of moderation" Jeremy Dibbell sees a kindred spirit in Bob Dole, who warned Republicans to be careful in taking on legislative tradition. At Charging RINO, Dibbell writes he "is glad to hear that some more responsible Republicans are weighing in against such a disastrous move" as preventing filibusters against judicial nominations. At The American Mind, Sean Hackbarth objects to the Post's "hit piece," adding that "[t]here's also the fact the conference was a straw man." He questions the political relevance of the conference participants and notes that "Christian Conservatives are the red-headed stepchild of American politics. Anyone can pound on them with impunity."

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One such stepchild is James Dobson, who recently compared the Supreme Court's justices to the Ku Klux Klan. "These folks are mostly going to be useful to the Democrats, if they turn out to be useful to anyone," writes Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds. "What's oddest," he adds, "is that they're upset about the federal judiciary not for being activist, but rather for not being activist."

Defending Dobson at National Review Online's The Corner, Mark R. Levin suggests that debate over the judiciary concerns more than activist judges and minority-party filibusters. In assessing the court, he writes, "we must be honest about [its] full legacy," and at several key moments in American history, he argues, "the Supreme Court as an institution has done enormous damage to this nation."

Read a Slate assessment of Dobson, and more blog posts about him here. Read bloggers on last week's conference and on the confrontation over filibusters.

The currency, currently: The New Yorker reports that Asian countries have helped stabilize the American dollar, which has been weakened by ballooning foreign debt and panicked investors, in part to protect the U.S. as a market for their own exports. "As long as it's in their self-interest to keep America afloat, the dollar will not crash," promises the writer. But if priorities shift—watch out.

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"That's a system that just can't last," worries Warren Frey at Freyburg. "All you geniuses who voted for Bush because you liked his combination of foreign military action, additional social programs, and tax cuts, please keep this in mind when it's time to vote in 2008," says Evil Overload at Bored Athenians. Software developer Rafe Colburn praises the article but thinks it's nothing new. "You can read about this stuff in The Economist every week," he writes. "I'm waiting for the IMF and the World Bank to step in and start imposing all sorts of silly economics on the United States," writes Ramanan Sivaranjan at A Funkaoshi Production. "Oh how I would love to see that."

Read more responses to the article.

An apparent heir:"Britney Spears has put an end to the tabloid rumors that she is expecting a baby . . . by confirming them," reportsNews America Now. Indeed, the Queen Abdicate of teen pop announced on her Web site that she and much-maligned husband Kevin Federline are expecting. Gossip bloggers are typically harsh. "Don't be nervous, K-Fed," coachesDefamer, "the first non-bastard is always the hardest."

Some bloggers take the news harder than others. "I thought, for a brief moment, that Brit-Brit and I had a future together," mourns diarist Joshua Stecker. "But alas, this dream was not meant to be." Others puzzle over the rabid coverage of the quotidian news. "[W]ith all the things going on in the world right now should the fact that Britney Spears got herself knocked up make CNN's mainpage?" asks one diarist. "Could it be something as simple as envy?" wonders another.

Find more blog posts about Britney.

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