Judges Chosen on Ideology
Every month since November 2004 has seen one more reason George W. Bush should not have been reelected president of the most powerful country in the world.
There is clearly something wrong with an administration under investigation for breaching national security, but there are other problems that might not seem very important to those American citizens who would like to pretend that nothing really bad has happened.
After failing to convince both Democrats and most Republicans of Harriet Miers’ qualifications, Bush has replaced his former nominee for the Supreme Court with Samuel Alito, a Trenton, N.J. native.
At this time, very little has surfaced in regard to his own personality, politics and beliefs. If only it would remain this way. If he is appointed, the judicial system will be tainted for the next 30 years because one (or maybe more) of its justices was nominated solely for his politics.
That Bush withdrew his first nominee and replaced her with someone who would appeal to his conservative base demonstrates that he has no regard for justice. He’s not selecting someone because he thinks they will hear cases objectively and provide reasonable judgment.
In fact, he’s deliberately picking a nominee whom (he hopes) will make his decision long before the case is brought before the high court.
John Roberts was picked because he believed the judicial branch should have a limited, constructionist role. He vowed to remain objective and open-minded when hearing those cases brought before him.
But with Miers’ nomination, there came a flurry of criticism from the right. They did not think she was qualified to serve as an associate justice.
Fair enough, but they also wanted assurances that she would make up her mind on decisions long before she swung her gavel.
This is ridiculous; she is an evangelical Christian who belongs to a very conservative congregation in Texas. She was all but guaranteed to vote in their favor. Miers is gone, but the same issues will be raised with Alito.
How can we hope for a judicial system that will remain unbiased when the president is only trying to appease religious fundamentalists who would like to abolish women’s rights and bring religion into public schools? I can hear the centrists and right-wingers in America shouting, ‘But this is how it is always done. Why should this occasion be any different?’ But precedent, as I’m sure Alito and Bush would probably agree, does not make something right.
It is inevitable that moderates will join conservatives in accepting Alito’s nomination and Bush will get his way, but I find it difficult to support any decision made by this administration.
I know I’m not the only one. Bush’s approval ratings have sunk to 37 percent, his lowest since taking office. He failed to respond effectively to two natural disasters.
He has failed to provide compelling (and truthful) reasons for the presence of American troops in Iraq. He has failed to appoint White House officials who are trustworthy. He has even failed to uphold the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, allowing torture to be employed on those detained as a result of his war on terror. For none of these failures has he issued an apology to the American people. He obviously believes doing so would be a sign of weakness.
So how should Americans interpret the pacification of Bush’s constituents? How is this not a sign of weakness? Unfortunately, it is too late to remedy any of these problems. They should have been taken care of a year ago. But 2006 is approaching, and with it comes the midterm elections.
Perhaps the country will vote more intelligently than it did in 2004. Just because Bush is incapable of making the right decision does not mean voters are too.
Jacob Beizer is a second-year English major.