As a rule, I don’t criticize court decisions until I’ve read them, and I haven’t had time to read the Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo v. City of New London. I see people across the blogosphere (on both sides of the fence) are angry. Based on a quick glance at the lineup and the quickest possible skimming of the opinions, I have two points that don’t violate my rule against criticizing an unread decision:
1) It’s tough to condemn this decision and support the Court’s abortion-rights jurisprudence. Why am I jumping to the topic of abortion? Stay with me; it’s not as much of a stretch as it sounds.
If you disagree with yesterday’s decision, it looks as though your problem is not so much with the decision per se, but with the law leading up to it. If you really think the Supreme Court needs to do something in this area, you have to be willing to allow the Court to reconsider a fairly long line of precedent, simply because you think it’s wrong.
If you are a Roe v. Wade supporter, this will cause you consistency problems, since the only conceivable principled justification for keeping that poorly reasoned decision around is respect for precedent. And the Roe precedent is only 32 years old; the troubling precedents in the “public use” area go back over 50 years.
The same thing goes for the recent medicinal marijuana decision, by the way. For all the blog-driven criticism of Justice Scalia’s position in that opinion, the majority’s argument was mostly an application and slight extension of pre-existing law. The problem lay more with the precedents than with the decision itself.
2) If you disagree with the decision, it’s time to get on board and support President Bush’s judges. President Bush has said that he wants to nominate judges in the mold of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, both of whom dissented in this case. The majority was nothing more than the four liberals, plus Anthony Kennedy — the judge for whom I have the most contempt of all nine Justices.
Here I am speaking directly to any upset leftists, as well as to my friends the RINOs, including the Commissar, John Cole, Say Uncle, and Bill Ardolino.
I’d be willing to bet that any of the judicial nominees that the Democrats have filibustered would have voted for the view held by the minority.
If this decision upset you, let it serve as yet another reminder of the importance of having good judges in our federal courts. It’s a critical issue. Let’s start treating it like one.
UPDATE: Apologies to Jeff Goldstein for originally including him in the above list. As to the whole list, I sloppily conflated generalized RINO opinions (such as Jeff’s opinion on Schiavo) with softness on judges. Prompted by Bill Ardolino in the comments, I’ve gone back and looked at Jeff’s posts on the filibuster compromise issue again — and I do indeed recall reading his appropriately outraged reaction to the filibuster compromise. Reading these posts again — posts which, believe it or not, I did see the first time around — I am reminded that Jeff has been quite good on the judges issue. Indeed, his argument has been that the Schiavo flap would actually hurt Bush’s ability to get his judges through.
Apologies to Jeff.
I note that Uncle has withdrawn from the “Coalition of the Chillin’.” Good for him.
What about the rest of you in the Coalition?
UPDATE x2: I should note that my use of the term RINO is not meant as an insult. In the past I would have considered it as such, but I don’t any longer, now that the Commissar has appropriated the name to refer to his brand of moderate Republicans.