Thursday, December 01, 2005

Thomas: Judiciary Held Hostage by Abortion


Abortion is holding hostage the judicial confirmation process, according to Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas spoke on these and other issues recently at the University of Alabama.

"I think we all should be honest with one another that the only issue, the central issue in all of this, is abortion," Thomas said, according to the Associated Press. "It's not the other things that people throw out. The whole judiciary now is being held, in a sense, hostage to that one issue."

Thomas said some of his former clerks and other lawyers frequently say they are uninterested in being federal judges because of their dread of possible confirmation fights. "I think that's a problem when the stars are beginning to say, 'Thank you, but no thanks,'" said Thomas, who was confirmed by only a 52-48 Senate vote in 1991.

The current system of seeking to investigate every part of a nominee's life should be changed, Thomas said. "The whole process of trying to ferret out the personal agenda through the confirmation process isn't an endeavor that I think is worth the price we are paying," he said. "I think the only thing it does is rats out the agenda of the people asking the questions."

The above is from Richard Land's summary. But the UA website has a little more info. Thomas compared judges to referees (an excellent analogy), and said senators want 'referees' who will call things in favor of their special interests. "If Crimson Tide fans could vote for referees, they would vote for ones who have never made a call against Alabama, no matter whether their calls were correct. In the same way, the Senate is voting for people who make decisions for or against their interests, instead of deciding whether they are capable of interpreting the law."

More interesting, Thomas said there is no reason to fear judicial activism and that he has never seen a Supreme Court Justice press a personal agenda. I respectfully dissent. Whether you call it activism or the pressing of a personal agenda, judges in numerous federal and state courts have made odd decisions in recent years, decisions that cannot be traced to anything in the Constitution (most of these apply only in limited jurisdictions): The Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, children cannot wear clothing in a public school if the name of Jesus is on it, teachers cannot have a Bible on their desks, private schools can teach public school students about religion during school hours, as long as it happens on private school property, and private schools can borrow public school maps, but can't borrow public school textbooks, the government can take property for any conceivable public good, abortion is a fundamental right, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Finally, the UA Website has more. Judge Roy Moore recently appeared, saying the role of government is to recognize God. (Call me cynical, but somehow I don't see Moore being confirmed by the Senate, where he to be nominated! Nevertheless, he cites persuasive material from the nation's founders.) So why the big-name speakers at the Alabama law school? Well, it's "up and coming" or so I was told by a UH professor. Her comments helped me choose Bama as the publisher of my last law review article, though others were interested.... (The link is just a contents page. Don't bother. Were you a physician-owner of an MRI clinic, you might wish to read the article here. Otherwise, click here for your next stop.) (I can't believe I plugged my own work twice this week! Sorry.)

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