Sunday, November 05, 2006

Lady In The Dark II

Posted by olvlzl

Sandra Day O'Connor is just full of regrets about the low standing of the courts today. She just doesn't understand what went wrong. While she is hardly alone in the level of cluelessness among those who wear black robes she is one of the most persistently immune to learning from experience. Now as she faces the prospect of her own Republican conservatives stripping courts of their independence she begins to get a glimmer that something she participated in could have something to do with it.

Some court-watchers believe the assault on independent judges has been fueled by a 2002 Supreme Court decision, Republican Party v. White, which found that the First Amendment allows judges running for office to say in advance how they would rule on legal matters. Sandra Day O'Connor, who joined the 5-4 majority, said after she retired that she regretted her vote because it has grossly politicized the judiciary in the 47 states that elect at least some judges. Indeed, multimillion-dollar campaigns, negative ads, and pandering to special interests have all infected judicial races following the decision. The ballot questions are just more of that baleful trend.

You wonder if she ever thinks back to another 5-4 decision she was the swing vote on, the one that held that Voters don't have a right to cast a vote, have it counted and the results mean anything. I suspect we won't ever hear her regret that one.