Daily Archives: June 29, 2009

White House falls into wingnuts’ ‘legislating from the bench’ word trap?

So the Joe the Plumbers must be celebrating that today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that white firefighters in Connecticut were the victims of unconstitutional, reverse discrimination. A bonus for the wingnuts is that in making its ruling, the Supreme Court reversed an appeals court decision in which Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor had joined.

Oh, please. Isn’t this the same right-wing U.S. Supreme Court that, 5-4, installed George W. Bush as president, even though the majority of American voters (nationwide and in the pivotal state of Florida) had voted for Al Gore? (Today’s aforementioned Supreme Court decision, as so many of them are these days, was 5-4…)

As far as affirmative action goes, I can argue either way. As a white male (a gay white male, but still a white male), I can’t say that I’d be thrilled to be passed over by a less qualified individual because that individual isn’t a white male. That doesn’t seem fair. At the same time, the stranglehold that white males have had on power in the United States isn’t fair, either.

There isn’t an easy solution that is fair to everyone involved.

The White House is saying that Sotomayor was only following legal precedent when she made her decision in the case involving the white firefighters, and that it is the Supreme Court Five, not Sotomayor, who have violated legal precedent. 

This proves, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs proclaimed today, that “There’s little political significance to whatever the [Supreme Court] decided today in terms of Judge Sotomayor except to render a fairly definitive opinion that she follows judicial precedent and that she doesn’t legislate from the bench.”

Yikes.

I’m not sure that the Obama administration’s parroting of the unelected Bush regime’s and the Repugnican’s “legislating from the bench” propaganda is such a good idea.

While I’m all for throwing the Repugnicans’ own shit right back into their faces, I’ve always had a problem with the Repugnicans’ “legislating from the bench” line.

Judges don’t legislate. They interpret existing legislation. When judges interpret existing legislation in a way that the wingnuts don’t like, the wingnuts call it “legislating from the bench.” (When judges interpret existing legislation in a way that the wingnuts do like, then, of course, the judges are just being great judges and most certainly are not “legislating from the bench.”)

Interpeting existing legislation is not always easy to do, because existing legislation often is fairly useless in changing times.

Same-sex marriage, for instance, is not an issue that the Founding Fathers felt they needed to deal with.

However, because the Founding Fathers were silent on the matter of same-sex marriage doesn’t mean that the prohibition of same-sex marriage is constitutional.

In fact, in their foresight, the Founding Fathers adopted the Ninth Amendment, which states:  “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

We Americans are supposed to be all about freedom, yet the same wingnuts who can’t shut up about “freedom” are the very same ones who want to deny actual freedom to everyone but to themselves and their cohorts. Since the U.S. Constitution was written by rich white men, and thus the Constitution guarantees the rights of rich white men, and since the wingnuts want rule by stupid rich white men to continue indefinitely, the wingnuts term any modern deviation from the law of the days of the rule by rich white men as “legislating from the bench” — ignoring the Ninth Amendment, of course. 

No, it’s not “legislating from the bench,” it’s interpreting the law — which is necessary for the social, spiritual and legal evolution of the United States of America, which the evolution-denying wingnuts want to prevent at all costs, because they want to continue to try to drag us backasswards rather than to help move us forward.

The United States of America that I know and love is a United States of America in which liberty and justice for all actually means what it says. I envision the United States as a nation in which individual rights continue to expand. The wingnuts envision the United States as a nation in which time not only stands still, but in which time goes backasswards.

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