WashPost on Nixon judge appointments (Re: NYT on Bush judge appointments

Nathan Newman nathan at newman.org
Mon Oct 30 16:58:19 PST 2000

----- Original Message ----- From: "Doug Henwood" <dhenwood at panix.com> To: <lbo-talk at lists.panix.com>

Nathan Newman wrote:

>Doug, you have this amazing capacity to act as if we have a caudillo system
>where the President (or Governor) has absolute unilateral power, thereby
>ignoring the role of the legislature. In Texas, Bush had to get nominees
>through a Democratically-controlled state house.

-Oh yes, and getting a SC nominee who'd want to overturn Roe v Wade -through the Senate would be a walk in the woods.

Let's see - you delete the exact part of my message where I mention that problem and don't comment on exactly the situation that allowed Nixon to get Rehnquist into the Supreme Court.

And why just focus on Roe v. Wade? Bush as Governor mounted a major assault on consumer rights, capping tort awards and putting in judges incredibly hostile to plaintiffs. Texas was once one of the most pro-plaintiff states in the country for challenging corporate power in the courts, one of its aspects that belied its conservative reputation in other areas. With Bush, the courts have become increasingly hostile to poor plaintiffs.

All this focus only on social issues in the Supreme Court is also very narrow. Given the Supreme Court's recent rulings on federalism and on takings, the result of an increasingly rightwing Court will be the striking down of any political gains won in state legislatures or Congress. Look at the gutting of the Violence Against Women Act, restrictions on local zoning rules, and my favorite, Eastern Associates, which struck down the assessment of former coal companies to pay for the health care of their former workers - the first time a regulatory law was struck down under the doctrine of takings. And note, these already decided decisions did not require Scalias, but just O'Connor and Kennedy.

Folks are really deluding themselves if they do not understand just how bad the courts could get, moving towards the time when Progressive and New Deal laws were routinely struck down by the courts.

-- Nathan Newman

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