Friday, May 1, 2009

Biden Brigade

You have to feel sorry for the White House staff. They must cringe every time Vice-President Biden speaks out in public, knowing that they're going to have to go out and twist themselves into rhetorical pretzels trying to "clarify" his remarks. It must be a painful task, but it certainly affords much mirth and merriment to those paying attention. Here's Biden's original interview the other day with Matt Lauer:

At a time when people are being urged to use public transportation to conserve fuel, it's hardly helpful to have the vice-president warning that traveling in subways and busses may expose them to a disease that the media has already gotten everyone jittery about. It makes me wonder if it was Joe's idea to fly Air Force One at low altitude over Manhattan the other day, sending office workers scrambling into the streets in panic.

Anyway, here's White House press secretary Robert Gibbs' lame attempt to clean up the mess:

Like the people who walk behind the horses in a parade to scoop up the leavings, there must be an entire brigade of vice-presidential staffers assigned shovels and buckets with instructions to follow Biden around.

To borrow a quip making the rounds: They told me if I voted Republican in the last election I'd get a ditz for a vice-president, and doggone if they weren't right.

HT: Hot Air for the links.


Changes at SCOTUS

One of the reasons many voters feared Democrat control of our government, perhaps the main reason for some, was that Democrats would be virtually certain to nominate and appoint judges and Supreme Court justices whose view of jurisprudence blurred the difference between judging and legislating. Those on the left side of the spectrum, which is the ideological home for all of the leading Democrats in Washington, tend to see the courts as vehicles for implementing social policy rather than as institutions for determining whether particular cases violate or conform to the law and the Constitution.

What the law actually says is, for the Left, only of secondary importance to what those who adjudicate would like it to say. The Left uses this power to circumvent the legislature, which represents the will of the people, and prefers the expedient of imposing its will on the rest of us through judicial fiat. This is a usurpation of democracy, as the late Richard John Neuhaus famously put it, and it deprives citizens of their right to make law through their elected representatives.

Comes word now that Justice David Souter is retiring from the court and that President Obama will have the opportunity to display the sort of judicial philosophy he will lay upon the nation by his nomination for a replacement. There's little reason to think that his nominee will be someone who seeks to interpret the Constitution in light of what it actually says and every reason to believe he will pick a candidate who is guided more by ideological fashion than Constitutional rigor.

The good news is that such a selection will not change the complexion of the Court since Souter was just such a justice himself. Indeed, the most likely candidates for the next round of retirements (Justices Stevens (89) and Ginsberg (76 and recovering from cancer)) are also very liberal, so unless there's a surprise and Scalia, Thomas, Roberts or Alito choose to leave the bench, none of Obama's appointments to the Supreme Court are likely to change things much.

The bad news, though, is that Souter will doubtless be replaced by a younger version of himself which means that Souter's judicial philosophy will be with us for many years to come.

Beyond that, real damage (or benefit, depending on your point of view) is most likely to occur on the federal bench where a slew of appointments of very liberal judges could have ramifications that ripple through our society for decades. This is the sort of change that candidate Obama promised and the sort of change most of his supporters voted for, but I don't think it's the sort of cvhange we need.