Man Without Qualities

Friday, November 14, 2003

An Abrogation Or Demeaning Of Democracy? II

The reasoning of this New York Times editorial seems to justify the removal through impeachment of any federal judge who follows conscience instead of clear meaning of the law. Judges are entitled to serve only during times of "good behavior" - and the stentorian rhetoric of the Times editorial purports to make the case that Judge Moore was not meeting that standard. And not a word from the Times about the millions of votes that were required to put Judge Moore in his office - undone by only nine. Is that "democracy?"

Does this mean that the Times will be urging the removal of, say, Judge Stephen Rheinhart of the Ninth Circuit? Or Harry Pregerson, who actually confessed to the Senate that he would follow his conscience if it conflictd with his understanding of controlling law? Is the Times reference to Mr. Moore's knack for demagoguery supposed to suggest that his acts were not, in fact, true products of his conscience? If so, what evidence has been adduced that Judge Moore has less of a conscience than the often grandstanding Judges Rheinhart and Pregerson? How about Justices Brennan and Marshall - who consistently and repeatedly attempted to hold the death penalty completely unconstitutional, even after the Court had repeatedly and clearly held otherwise? Was that "good behavior?"

Somehow, I foresee no such effort by the Times on the Rheinhart and Pregerson front. Today's ad hoc rhetoric is probably already back in the drawer.

But those like the Times naively celebrating the removal of Judge Moore today should keep in mind that his removal has likely very much weakened the judiciary throughout this country.

UPDATE: And it is quite irrelevant to the damage Judge Moore's removal has caused to the judiciary that he is not a guy you want on your side.

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