So, it begins again — that Groundhog Day like process of trying to convince Democrats who are unhappy with the party’s nominee to support the party anyway. And, as always, one of the prime reasons we’ll give this year is the threat a Republican victory would pose to the Supreme Court. At age 53, I’ve seen this dance preformed for 40 years, though with varying degrees of artistry and success.
I’ll touch on only the two most painful examples.
The year was 1968. The Vietnam War was tearing America apart. In March, President Johnson stunned the nation by announcing he wouldn’t seek reelection. There was “division in the American House,” he said, and he was withdrawing in the interests of “national unity.” In April, Martin Luther King was assassinated, followed, in June, by the assassination of Robert Kennedy.
At the Democratic convention in August, Mayor Richard Daley ordered a police crackdown on antiwar protestors. As the nation watched on television, the streets of Chicago erupted into chaos.
Hubert Humphrey, Johnson’s Vice President, became the Democratic nominee. An authentic hero of American liberalism, Humphrey was, nevertheless, constrained by his status as Vice President from openly breaking with Johnson on the war. This made him unacceptable to many doves.
In the emotional aftermath of the convention, far too many liberal voters seemed to accept George Wallace’s assertion (while obviously not accepting Wallace himself) that there was not a “dime’s worth of difference” between Humphrey and Richard Nixon. And they refused to support Humphrey.
I remember how, already a political junkie at age 13, I stood in front of the television screaming at those would-be liberal rebels on the screen: “But what about the Supreme Court?!”
Nixon had been campaigning on a pledge to appoint “strict constructionists,” which then, as now, were code words for ultraconservatives, to the Supreme Court. And even at age 13, I understood, at least a little, of what that would mean.
Bit by bit, many of these disgruntled liberals came around to supporting Humphrey, but he lost precious time. And given the closeness of the final result, this probably gave the election to Nixon.
And then as payment in full for their “noble” refusal to support Humphrey, these disgruntled Democrats received the Burger Court, four more years of the Vietnam War, enemies lists, the politics of polarization, Watergate and so much more.
Rocket ahead to the year 2000. Given that just about everyone already knows the story, I’ll be brief. During campaign 2000, echoing back to the arguments of 1968, enthusiasts of Ralph Nader repeatedly insisted that there was no real difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush.
In response, many Gore supporters, myself included, emphasized, again as in 1968, the importance the election’s outcome could have on the makeup of the Supreme Court.
The response was often contemptuous.
Alexander Cockburn, for example, repeatedly belittled such concerns. These were his concluding words from a July 2000 column in The Nation:
Would liberal Democrats want a (Supreme Court) nominee picked by a man with this political record (Gore)? Actually, they couldn’t care less. If they did care, they’d be out campaigning for Ralph Nader. All they want to do is scare the pants off liberals with the idea that Bush would finish off Roe v. Wade. It’s a substantively vacuous and bankrupt position, but it’s all they’ve got left.
Barbara Ehrenreich, also writing in The Nation, jumped on board in an August of 2000 column, titled Vote for Nader:
Ah, the Supreme Court! Never mind that pro-choice Justice O’Connor was a Reagan appointee or that Clinton’s man Breyer is one of the most economically conservative Justices around–the Supreme Court gets dragged out every four years to squash any attempt to escape the Democratic Party.
A lot of other Nader supporters said similar things, and, without a doubt, Ralph Nader’s candidacy, along with many other factors, helped to put Bush in the White House.
And, yes, Nader voters had every right to vote as they pleased, and the election of Bush was not their fault. No one in America owes his or her vote to anyone else. But looking back is still a wise thing to do, especially when doing so may help to enlighten us in decisions yet to be made.
So what does all of this mean in terms of the decision Clinton supporters will soon have to make as to whether to support Obama?
One thing seems incontestable: as of today, in 2008, as opposed perhaps (although I don’t think so) to 1968 and 2000, there is simply no room left for debate regarding the importance of the election’s outcome to the future course of the Supreme Court. We’ve seen how far George W. Bush was able to move the Court to the right with just two appointments — turning a conservative, but occasionally unpredictable, court into a dependable right wing organ.
Following Bush’s appointment of Roberts and Alito, conservatives now stand just one appointment away from achieving their number one political goal of the last 40 years — installing a Supreme Court majority made up of five politically motivated right wing judicial activists. Five Justices who can be depended upon to always come down with the “right” — as in far right — decision.
Think of what that would mean: a Supreme Court made up of five Alitos. Such a Court would literally rewrite the genetic code of our jurisprudence. Overruling Roe v. Wade — which would, of course, be a given — would be only a small start. Progressive legislation would be mowed down as unconstitutional as a matter of course, corporate power enhanced, civil liberties restricted and democracy itself junked through the stripping away of the few remaining limitations on the power of wealth to game the process.
And since these actions would often be taken on the basis of constitutional adjudication, they would be extraordinarily hard to remedy.
If there’s such a thing as a judicial apocalypse, this would be it.
Back in 2000, Nader supporters often accused those of us who warned of what might happen to the Supreme Court if Bush won of crying wolf — in other words, of exaggerating the threat as a means of extorting voters into voting for Gore.
Well, whatever else angry Clinton supporters may say this year to justify opposing Obama, surely we won’t hear that one again. Because we already know how much damage far right appointments can do. Bush has been “kind” enough to teach us. And given that McCain is promising more of the same if he’s elected, there isn’t much doubt what’s on the line.
It ain’t just crying wolf when half the sheep have already been eaten. By then, it should be pretty clear to everyone how much is at stake.
China will launch loans 401k generation technology on the TD-SCDMA standard.
loan consolidate debt student
 However, in loan consolidate debt student commercial airlines have prevented the use of cell phones and laptops, due to the fact that the frequencies emitted from these devices may disturb the radio waves contact of the airplane.
home loans french
Unlike home loans french s, cordless phones use private base stations that are not shared between subscribers.
new mortgage jersey loan home
When the new mortgage jersey loan home or data device is turned on, it registers with the mobile telephone exchange, or switch, with its unique identifiers, and will then be alerted by the mobile switch when there is new mortgage jersey loan home telephone call.
student stafford loans
The dialogue between the handset and the cell site is student stafford loans of digital data that includes digitized audio (except for the first generation analog networks).
loans french bridging
0G loans french bridging s, such as Mobile Telephone Service, were not cellular, and so did not feature “handover” from one base station to loans french bridging and reuse of radio frequency channels.
minority loans business
bankruptcy student loan
Such recordings specify what synthetic instrument should play bankruptcy student loan at a given time, and the actual instrument sound is dependent upon the playback device.
student federal direct loan
Some analysts count student federal direct loan stage in CDMA evolution, CDMA2000 1x RTT, as a 3G technology whereas most standardization experts count only CDMA2000 1x EV-DO as a true 3G technology.
bad home credit loans for
A truetone (also known as “realtone”, “mastertone”, “superphonic ringtone” or “audio recording”) is simply bad home credit loans for recording, typically in a common format such as “MP3″, AAC, or WMA, and represents the latest evolution of the bad home credit loans for .