Monday, September 27, 2004

You Have the Right to Remain Silent - For Now

We spend a lot of time here on ASZ discussing various life-and-death issues, and like to think that we occasionally provide some comic relief (and well placed outrage) in an otherwise excruciating presidential campaign. Kate and I have gone back and forth time and again (as have some of the rest of us) talking about the reality of politics. Demoplicans. Republocrats. Jackasses of different colors, but still jackasses. Hope and fear. Yada, yada.

There's one issue that's received next to no discussion on ASZ, and I suppose that's simply because none of us feel terribly comfortable addressing the judiciary. I won't claim any expertise in the topic, but I carry a whole lot of opinions on the subject matter. In that regard, I suppose I'm no different than anyone else.

We all know what happened in 2000. We've seen Al Gore play 'surrender monkey' after the Supreme Court of the United States, a court that was stacked by 41, chose 43. We're coming perilously close to seeing 50 years of progressive legislation and legal interpretation overturned. And if George Bush is re-selected, it's almost a stone cold certainty that he'll be replacing possibly two, and as many as three Supreme Court Justices, including the Chief Justice.

Yes, it's a scary thought. Of all the potential ramifications of this election, perhaps the judiciary is the single most important issue. Because if Bush stacks the SCOTUS, it could literally be another 100 years before a progressive majority makes it back to the bench. In other words, more than anything, even 4 more wars, George Bush has the chance to leave a lasting legacy -- a legacy which would turn back the clock 100 years on civil rights, women's rights, environmental law, equal protection, labor law, and a host of other progressive initiatives and constitutional interpretations.

I hope our readers have some learned opinions to share on this issue - like I admitted, I'm not really a legal eagle, but even as a layperson I understand that four more years of George Bush would truly wreak havoc on the Judicial Branch.

Here's an AP article on the topic to get you started.

Update, 9/28/04, 10:15AM: If you need any reminders on how important this issue is, Digby reminds us.