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'Niceguy' Eddie

Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Swing the Wood

An article in today's NYT has essentially sold me on one name supposedly on President Obama's short-list of nominees to replace retiring Justice Stevens.  And that potential nominee is Judge Diane Wood.  Now, I haven't  done any extensive research into her decisions.  From what I read, she's liberal enough.  And really in my mind that goes without saying, [the reader's] opinion of Justice Sotomayor not withstanding.

(For the record, I was absolutely fine with the choice of Justice Sotomayor, and while their may have been more Liberal choices available, she has so far been on the side of freedom and liberty in the only 5-4 decision thus far, and I'm willing to bet that she'll never be to the Right of Justice Kennedy nor join the Facist wing in any 6-3 decisions.  In any case I don't see any reason to believe that Justice Wood would VOTE any farther to the Right than Justive Stevens did, and that's good enough for me.

What the 'Times article highlights is what I see as the single most important attribute for the nomonee to posses: The ability to influence those who might disagree with her.  She has a record of being able to influnce and win over the two conservatives she worked with on the appeals court, and by extension, should be able to pursuade Justice Kennedy.  That fact that she does not alienate her opponents (I'm talking on the BENCH now, not in congress or in the public!) is critical, because Justice Kennedy is, for better or worse, the most powerful man in the free world right now, and in any contentious case involving civil liberty, it will be HIS VOTE ALONE that decides the fate of those freedoms and liberties.  And we cannot allow the Right wing to take anything else away from us!  We are already well beyond the point at which I say, "THIS FAR, NO FARTHER!"

The President's choice must not be chosen as a 'consensus builder' in Congress, or even in the public's eye.  But they should absolutely be a 'consesus builder' in the COURT.  (Although admittedly by 'consensus,' I mean the four liberals, plus Kennedy.) So from that POV, at this point I'll go out on a limb and name Judge Wood as my front running pick as well.


  1. I'm not familiar with the names mentioned in your post (except for Sotomayor) as I'm not american and don't live in America. I've noticed ,however, that you're very much concerned about 'freedoms and liberties' that might be cancelled by the right wing people in the court.

    Well, to be honest, I sometimes think there are too many freedoms and liberties in your country (as well as in mine) which bring about a nearly chaotic situation: there's no discipline in schools and no victories on the battlefield. So, the big worry should be the survival of America and not this or that kind of freedom and liberty.

  2. Too much freedom?! Silly Duta: No such thing!

    But seriously, you're darned right I'm concerned about freedom and civil liberty, and as far as I'm concerned the state should have a damned high hurdle to clear in demonstrating an overwhelming state interest in order to take ANY freedom, right or liberty away fromt he people.

    I believe it was Benjamin Franklin who said[something along the lines of] "He who would sacrifice liberty in exchange for security will in the end lose both and have deserved neither."

    As for academic achievement? Freedom/Liberty and academic excellence are hardly mutally exclusive. On the contrary, when one considers the garbage that these same right wingers would allow to be taught: Creation Science, Intelligent Design (in a science class), Revisionist History, Religious Indoctrination (it's happened), etc... keeping them out of the bodies that make decisions reagrding the seperation of church and state (which includes the classroom) is as ESSNTIAL to a proper, quality education as it is to protecting our freedom and liberty.

    As to why I prioritize freedom over something like academic excellence? Well, quite simply the supreme court is not going to decide on many issues (outside of the ones above) that will have much bearing on student performance. Truth be told, swhat wrong with our schools won't be fixed by congress or the President either. But they idea that the Right has much to offer education except budget cuts is pretty laughable to me. I've seen "No Child Left Behind" and it does suck.

    I could do a thread and a half on eductaion, but I'm going to leave it for now. Too many other posts I have to do first.

    As for "Victory on the Battlefield"? What the hell are you TALKING about?! We have far and away the strongest militray on the face of the planet and in the history of mankind. The only war we've ever 'lost' was in Vietnam, almost forty years ago, and the 'loss' was hardly a threat to US security. (Which is why we shouldn't have been there in the first place!) What we failed to do was to prevent people from tearing their own country apart. So they waited until we left. Then they took over. Iraq? Goin' pretty well, for another completely uneccessary war. Afganistan? We'll see, but again: It's not up to us, it's up to the Afghans. If the Taliban take over again, we'll just oust them from power them again. (Assuming they haven't learned their lesson from the last time.)

    So... Sorry, there's plenty of things we suck at, but WAR is not one of them, and will likely be the LAST things we EVER suck at. (Our problem right now is not achieving "Victory of teh battloefield. We WON... Like six YEARS ago! The problem is not winning the WAR, it's winning the PEACE. Now, I'll admit that we're not nearly as good at winning hearts and minds as we are at blowing shit up, but all that "freedom and liberty" I keep talking about? THAT'S how you win hearts and minds, and THAT'S how you tell your government when it's to stop blowing shit up, and start re-building the country, this time around as an ally.

    In the case of a war like Iraq? I'd fight, kill and die for my own right to crticize that war. Otherwise: What the hell are we fighting for? Our Government works for US. Not the other way around.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. Glenn Greenwald likes Wood, too, and gave her a good write-up. I could definitely get behind her--she was the only one of the early "short list" contenders who looked at all promising. I don't give a shit about her "consensus-building" skills--as I said, that's what Sotomayor was supposed to be there to do, so the "consensus builders" have had their shot, as far as I'm concerned.

    The corporate press would love for us to think Obama is leaning toward Elena Kagan. If he ever actually picked her, it should be grounds for instant presidential impeachment (the word "unacceptable" doesn't even begin to cover Kagan). For that matter, anything less than an extremely liberal liberal would move the court even further right, and is unacceptable based on that alone.

  4. I wouldn't go so far as to suggest impeachment, but I would be severly disappointed with Kagan as well.

    But don't be so down on those "consensus building skills." Without that 5th vote all the liberal rhetoric in the world won't protect civil liberties. And just remember, by 'consensus builder,' I only mean, 'someone who can swing Kennedy.' I could give a shit about TRUE consensus - you'll never Tom, Rob and Scalito to join you on anything important anyway - but you NEED Kennedy's vote to win.

    So I'll pretty much take ANYONE who (1) can have their vote counted in the liberal block and (2) can get Kennedy to vote that way too. Kagan fails (1), based on her views of the Patriot Act and the suspension of Habeus Corpus as far as 'm concerned. But many "extremely liberal liberals" would fail (2) as well. And thus they're useless here. We need to start WINNING CASES again. The ACLU needs a PURSUADER, not just an ALLY. They (and we) need ONE ally who can get us ANOTHER. That's a sad state, to be sure, but we could lose everything if we ignore it.

    Thanks for your comment.