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Thursday, March 17, 2005
Time for a Paradigm Shift:
Or: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
It occurred to me today that conservatives may have this whole judicial philosophy thing all wrong. For decades, the right has decried activist judges who substitute their own notions of right and wrong for the Constitution.
-Like that idiot in California who decided that the millions of Californians who voted to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman were misguided. That they, along with the vast majority of the country, along with the teachings of all the worlds major religions for thousands of years don't account for anything because Judge Richard Kramer knows better.
-Judges like the spineless Anthony Kennedy who decided that it's now unconstitutional to execute murderers who were minors when they committed their crimes - using the laws of FOREIGN NATIONS to justify their insipid views. Kennedy, by the way, voted precisely the opposite way just 16 years ago.
Conservatives have argued that "evolving standards" of right and wrong are properly the purview of legislatures, whose task it is to write laws. Not of judges, whose task it is to interpret laws and their constitutionality.
But maybe we've had it all wrong. Maybe we should just jujitsu this thing. Rather than decry activism, maybe we should just cry uncle and promote our own brand of judicial creativity.
For instance, wouldn't you love to hear the left howl as the Supreme Court votes 5-4 that income tax rates above 20% violate a right to economic liberty emanating from the same "penumbra" Harry Blackmun devined to invent a right to abortion?
And wouldn't it tickle you to hear the caterwauling as Justice Scalia writes for the court that "hate crime" laws violate the Constitution's Equal Protection provisions?
Or how about this. Suppose a right-wing court were to suddenly decide that "evolving social standards" mandate affirmative action programs at public-funded universities to achieve ideological and political diversity among their faculty. With goals and timetables.
It could be fun! The capital gains tax could be declared Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Environmental laws could all be declared unconstitutional on the grounds that......hell on any grounds we please! Let's just say they violate "evolving standards" against something-or-other.
It was good enough for Justice Kennedy.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
I Celebrated This and I Didn't Even Know it!
Thanks to Gary Collard for pointing out that Tuesday, March 15th was the Third Annual Eat an Animal for PETA Day.
If you somehow forgot to celebrate, not to worry: McDonalds will be open tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Democrats Ignore "Ownership Society" at Their Peril
So says John Zogby - no friend of the GOP - in this article at OpinionJournal.com.
Self-identified investors comprised 46% of the total vote in 2004, a significantly higher figure than pre-election polls suggested. The group is neither dominated by the wealthy nor do members necessarily aspire to become wealthy. According to a series of polls we did on behalf of PBS's "Wall Street Week with Fortune," this group tells us they simply are saving for a retirement that maintains their current lifestyle and for college for their children. Importantly, their worldview remains middle class, modest, and basically conservative. They are a group I have followed closely since 2000 and will, for obvious reasons, continue to watch.
Zogby begins by wondering why the President would spend so much energy and political capital on a plan that will have zero support from congressional Democrats and "tepid" support from the House and Senate GOP. He ends by convincing himself that the plan might be the cornerstone of a grand realignment whereby those who consider themselves members of the investor class (44% of the voters in the last election) move permanently to the GOP irrespective of other more traditional affiliations (union membership, ethnicity, sex, even income).
He presents some compelling data in the form of a simple table comparing presidential voting by investors versus those of noninvestors. The figures are pretty remarkable.
-Self-identified noninvestors who are in a union household supported Kerry over Bush by 57% to 42%. Investors in union households supported Bush 61% to 39%.
-Female noninvestors favored Kerry 63% to 27%. Female investors favored Bush 55% to 45%.
-Noninvesting voters in the $50K - $75K income range favored Kerry 55% to 45%. Investing votes in the same income range favored Bush 64% to 36%.
This actually answers not only the question of why Bush is pushing this so hard, but more importantly, it clarifies why the Dems are fighting it so hard.
If the day ever comes when just about everyone is an investor, Nancy Pelosi might find herself leading a caucus consisting of herself, John Conyers, Charles Rangel and Jesse Jackson Jr.