Water Man Spouts

Monday, May 19, 2008

Two Visions of the U.S. Supreme Court

John McCain and Barack Obama: Two visions of the Supreme Court
By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer May 19, 2008

Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.), in a speech two weeks ago, echoed the views of conservatives who say "judicial activism" is the central problem facing the judiciary. He called it the "common and systematic abuse . . . by an elite group . . . we entrust with judicial power." On Thursday, he criticized the California Supreme Court for giving gays and lesbians the right to marry, saying he doesn't "believe judges should be making these decisions." ….

Obama has thrown the charge of judicial activism back at Republicans.

"The nation has just witnessed how quickly settled law can change when activists judges are confirmed," he said last year. "In decisions covering employment discrimination to school integration, the Roberts-Alito Supreme Court has turned back the clock on decades of hard-fought civil rights progress."

He referred to the 5-4 decision that struck down the voluntary integration guidelines that were adopted by school boards in Seattle and Louisville, Ky. The same 5-4 majority also rejected a jury's discrimination verdict in favor of Lilly Ledbetter, a longtime manager for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. She showed she had been paid far less than men in the same job over many years. The court's opinion, written by Alito, said her lawsuit was flawed because she had not filed her claim within the time frame required by law. ….

"Sen. Obama certainly doesn't share Sen. McCain's remarkable view that the greatest threat to American values and traditions comes from our independent federal judiciary," (Harvard Law School professor Lawrence H.) Tribe said. "On the contrary, Sen. Obama would find it crucial to preserve judicial independence in part to hold in check the excesses of unilateral executive power that have threatened our democracy under the Bush-Cheney administration.

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(Note: The 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections will determine the nature of the appointments to the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. The cases that will be decided in the next four years will include those involving issues abortion rights, as well as numerous others involving the nature of citizen rights in our society. This is a good reason for all democrats to put minor differences behind them, and to unite to support all democratic candidates in November.)


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