Monday, February 26, 2007

God Save This Honorable Court

from the diary: “Friday July 4, 1986

“I read God Save This Honorable Court by Laurence Tribe.”

End of June the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled (in a 5-4 decision) that sodomy laws were not unconstitutional. Laurence Tribe was the lawyer arguing before the court that sodomy laws should be struck down. Back in the 80s he was frequently mentioned as a likely Supreme Court nominee should the White House go to a Democrat. In the Wikipedia article on Tribe there's the assertion that when “he testified against Robert Bork, [Tribe made] lasting enemies in the U.S. Senate”. Had Clinton chosen Tribe, the article implies, Tribe would not have been confirmed.

Of God Save This Honorable Court the NYT says, Laurence Tribe “combs the history of the High Court for a set of interesting but unstartling propositions … A single Justice … can affect the Court profoundly. The narrow literal interpretation of the Constitution prized by conservatives is largely a myth. Most Supreme Court Justices … turn out to be pretty much what their benefactors wanted. ... And, perhaps most important, the Senate has both a long tradition and constitutionally mandated duty to scrutinize all High Court nominees closely.” These remain true, don’t they? Truisms, maybe? One might tack on a couple more. Howabout: Conservative judges are activist judges.

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