Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Politics and the Judicial Branch in America

 
Since America is a "nation of laws" it becomes very important to pass the "right" laws and to make sure that the American Supreme Court upholds them. To this end, each side of an issue wants to stack the Supreme Court with their sympathizers. Now that one of the members of the Supreme Court has retired, the lobbying to replace him has begun.

Eddie Tabash is very interested in the separation of church and state issue and he wants the next Supreme Court justice to be sympathetic to his point of view on the law. Apparently, there are well-qualified judges who would not be sympathetic, so the nomination process becomes highly politicized. Apparently, the Democrats want a judge who will agree with Tabash while the Republicans want a judge who might favor different laws.

Tabash has written a special article on RichardDawkins.net explaining how the process works [ It happened. There is now a Supreme Court vacancy]. It's very helpful for those of us in other countries. The politicization of the Judicial Branch of government seems very bizarre.


[Photo Credit: Tim Dillon, USA TODAY]

7 comments :

  1. The politicization of the Judicial Branch of government seems very bizarre.Oh, so the judicial appointment process in Utopia - sorry, Canada - is devoid of politics?

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  2. Jud asks,

    Oh, so the judicial appointment process in Utopia - sorry, Canada - is devoid of politics?

    Yes, as much as it can be, although there's always room for improvement. I think that's also true in most other Western industrialized nations.

    Most Canadians don't have any idea who is on the court. I certainly didn't. I had to check the website. Our Chief Justice is Beverley McLachin. The other justices are here.

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  3. As far as I know, Canada is subject to similar circumstances as is the US in terms of a current government attempting to 'stack the deck' with regards to both the Supreme Court and the generally ineffectual Senate.

    However, unlike in the case of the US, such things rarely become a media spectacle (which is probably what is meant by 'politicization'). I usually find out who's been appointed to the Senate, for example, when a list is published on page 1X of my local paper.

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  4. Why are the Canadian chief justices all dressed as Santa

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  5. In fact, in Canada the process of appoints Justices to the SCC is arguably worse than in the US; here, the Prime Minister has sole powers over the appointment, and the person does not have to go through an approval process.

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  6. Jud wrote: Oh, so the judicial appointment process in Utopia - sorry, Canada - is devoid of politics?To which Dr. Moran responded: Yes, as much as it can be, although there's always room for improvement.Odd, that is not what the Canadian lawyers with whom I worked closely for years on a rather large case (I spent about half of each month from January - June in Alberta between 1989-90 and 1994) gave me to understand.

    Most Canadians don't have any idea who is on the court. I certainly didn't.Ah, I think I understand the reason you can have the opinion that judicial selection in Canada is apolitical. :-)

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  7. The reason why nominations to the US Supreme Court are so contentious is because of the issue of abortion. There was a SCOTUS decision back in the early 1970s that essentially made an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy legal (Roe vs Wade). Since that time, many of the conservative churches have been trying to overturn that decision by getting the president to stack the Supreme Court with anti-abortion judges. Currently, there are 4 (out of 9) justices who it is believed would vote to overturn Roe vs Wade. Abortion is one issue in the US on which there is no possibility of compromise.

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