Relentless Pursuit of Wisdom and Liberty

The weblog companion of, dedicated to pondering, "If Patrick Henry could see us now..."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Quotes on filibuster compromise

The Register quoted some prominent people in its coverage of yesterday's 14-senator compromise - here are the (IMO) choicest ones, along with a few comments of my own.

Nancy Keenan, president NARAL Pro-Choice America:
We're heartened that the crisis has been averted and the right to filibuster preserved for upcoming Supreme Court nominations. We are confident that a Supreme Court nominee who won't even state a position on Roe v. Wade is the kind of 'extraordinary circumstance' this deal envisions.
And the proponents of nationwide legal abortion-on-demand worry about what kind of "litmus test" nominees would be put through by their Republican appointers? What's even worse is that the kind of position she wants a nominee to state is "does abortion = murder or not", rather than the far more defensible and Constitutionally sound "the definition of murder belongs to the states or it belongs to the feds".

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.:
This is a victory for the American people. It is a defeat for the abuse of power known as the nuclear option. I will continue to defend the independence of the judiciary by doing all I can to ensure that we confirm mainstream judicial nominees who will protect the rights and freedoms of the American people.
Interesting how in her mind the judiciary acheives independence through their mainstream worldviews. One might be justified in thinking that the independence (or lack thereof) of a branch of government would be established (or specifically not established according to some founding document or some such thing, rather than according to whether or not the principles of the members of said branch sway with the slightest breeze of popular opinion. However, the judiciary is not independent from the other two branches, any more than the executive or the legislative is independent. Individual justices are subject to impeachment by Congress and their jurisdiction over specific areas of legislation is subject to limitation by Congress. Honestly interpreting the meaning of the words in laws and the Constitution as they relate to each other, and not making up rights out of whole cloth from emanations of penumbras - not their mainstream views or lack thereof such as whether they personally believe abortion is murder or not - is what will make the judiciary as independent as it can ever be under those two limitations.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.:
We have reached an agreement to try to avert a crisis in the United States Senate and pull the institution back from a precipice.' The deal was based on 'trust, respect and mutual desire to .... protect the rights of the minority.'
Johnny boy, that institution was pushed over the precipice long, long ago - 1913 to be precise. A little something called the Seventeenth Amendment was passed that effectively silenced from national discourse the political entities we know as "states" - which until that time actually had a voice in federal policy, as the state legislatures (representatives of the people thereof) actually took great pride in literally and precisely instructing their senators how to vote. Making the Senate just a smaller, more aristocratic House (and you wonder why they call it the "upper" chamber) only moved us further away from a republic and closer to a direct democracy (which, for those watching at home, is the wrong direction).


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