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What I Read in the Waiting Room of Hell

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« THE POTEMKIN COUNTRY | Main | MAKE IT MARDI GRAS AT LEFTY'S LOUNGE »

September 04, 2005

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Aaron

I give Chief Justice William Rehnquist credit, surely he knew his days were numbered, but he refused to retire choosing instead to die in office. I think this makes a statement.

I can remember back when Justice Rehnquist was the most conservative member of the court. He was well to the right of Chief Justice Warren Berger, once considered a conservative. But these days Chief Justice Rehnquist was viewed as a moderate by some, and an outright liberal by many on the right.

As stated in the recent Harper's article "Fighting for the Supreme Court," the center has become the left, the right is now the center, and the left no longer exists.

At this point there's nothing to stop Bush from appointing an ultraconservative to the Supreme Court. If push comes to shove, Congress will simply change the filibuster rules in order to clear the way for such a persons confirmation. Then of course the fundamentalists will begin dismantling the Constitution as we know it today. There is much more to worry about than just Row vs. Wade, Miranda, privacy protections and what's left of affirmative action.

Environmental protections like the Endangered Species Act could be declared unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment's Taking Clause.

Sex discrimination could become a reality in America once again, especially in the national government.

The 14th amendment could be reinterpreted to apply only to the states thereby allowing segregation in the Armed Forces as well as in public schools.

Many of conservatives, white and Black alike unfortunately, would like to do away with all protections regarding segregation. Seminal landmark cases like Brown vs. the Board of Education could be up for re-examination and even reinterpretation.

Under the fundamentalist interpretation there is no "right to vote". So we could see a return to poll taxes with exemptions for those who own property.

The Bill of Rights could be viewed as only applicable to the national government, and not to the states.

States could be permitted to establish official churches, as Clarence Thomas has already argued.

While all of these things seem unlikely, and almost unthinkable for most right minded people, the fact is that a strongly conservative court could re-examine all of these issues and there's little or nothing that the people of this country could do to prevent it. In fact given the current conservative movement it seems likely that many of these ideas would find a great deal of political support.

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