03/24/2005: Bush v The Constitution
Delay, Deny and Demagogue by Maureen Dowd (NY Times) is essentially about Tom Delay and the GOP highjacking - once again - our Constitutional Values and Laws for political gamesmanship. However, this isn't really the first time we've had: Bush v The Constitution.
"...Republicans easily abandon their cherished principles of individual privacy and states rights when their personal ambitions come into play. The first time they snatched a case out of a Florida state court to give to a federal court, it was Bush v. Gore. This time, it's Bush v. Constitution."
A lot of folks simply did not actually READ the briefs and Case Law, of Bush v Gore, way back during that election debacle. And perhaps would not or could not have understood the "legalese" or the case law and legal principles had they bothered.
I did read those briefs. (Mr. David Boies for V.P. Al Gore - Mr. Ted Olsen for Gov. Bush)
And I can say it's happening YET AGAIN that this President has no respect for the very Constitutional document, institutions, laws and values he swore an Oath on that Bible of his faith to represent and uphold against all enemies.
To read what I had to say about this back then - click on the "more" button.
Bush v The Constitution
The underlying issue which was argued about was that in Florida and within our Constitution was: Is there is a process and procedure, when and if, such instances arise that necessitate a "re-counting" of votes in that State.
Ms. Harris had certified the results and refused a re-count request in violation of state law as decided by the lower court. The issue was appealed and was working its way through the legal process and the various appellate levels, while the infamous re-count proceeded (on national TV for all the world to see.)
The Supreme Court of Florida had affirmed the correct process and procedures for the re-count to finish - when the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments from both Bush and Gore legal representatives.
The legal position taken by the Bush side was to IGNORE all legal precedents, all previous case law, all historical reasoning and the very Constitution of the United States to not FINISH the Florida vote re-count to determine the outcome of that election. It was not a conspiracy to throw out any particular class of votes or to discriminate against a segment of vote - but to ignore the voting process and legal procedures as they stood (codified in law) in the State of Florida. Clearly Pres. Bush stood behind this argument and Mr. Olsen as his legal representative. But it was an argument for a world without reference to law, legal precedent or the Constitutional rules.
Enter the Supreme Court of the United States: Again, there was no exact "conspiracy," but rather a complete about-face in the five member majority (who just happen to be the most conservative, right-wing, strict constitutional constructionists, and duck-hunting friends of Dick Cheney) to rule that this entire issue needed to be decided by them and taken out of the realm of the legal process and procedures of the State of Florida. This is the group of justices that routinely decide cases on a strict, unwaivering parsing of each word and nuance of our Constitution, and often reaches back to review the historical purpose and intent of the founding fathers.
If you read those briefs, and look at the laws and case involved (and I suggest you do) you'll see they decided, en masse, to abandon this philosophy for a more "touchy-feely" approach that the nation needed their wisdom to cut the Gordian knot and pick our president, regardless of what the actual vote re-count would have determined.
Let's be clear, I am not saying the re-count (had it been allowed to finish) wouldn't have certified G.W. as the winner, but I am complaining, vocally and loudly, about the subversion of our very process of government and the right for each person to have his/her vote actually counted, whatever the result.
It is about the "process" and the Supreme Court never really answered the legal issues presented in those briefs. The Justices punted on all of these points, and presented an entirely new rationale for the "importance" of counting votes under the Equal Protection Clause - and decided to ignore that and not finish the recount.
But I believe in the process, however untidy or messy. It is what America stands for. Many decry our legal system as well (and no doubt it could use certain reforms). We look to the process, however imperfect, and why so many of our processes and procedures make us "different" on the moral scale from the rest of the world. When we skirt the process or ignore it entirely, this where we fail to live up to our own American values and ideals.
Therein lies the cry for "foul" and a huge "shame on you five justices" to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Karen on 03.24.05 @ 05:47 AM CST