Saturday, May 21, 2005

Who shall judge?

Hoss had a post that got me to thinking. He's been taking state mottos and rewriting them for the fun and amusement of himself and his blog readers. I learned on his blog that the state motto for the state where I was born, Nebraska, is "Equality Before the Law."

I probably knew this before. I wrote a report about Nebraska when I was in elementary school. I remember that I did the report, but I don't remember a damn thing that was in it.

But anyway, reading that motto reminded me of how Nebraska has been in the news because a federal judge, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon, struck down a state constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage.

Now, having family in Nebraska, and having spent the first few years of my life there, I have no trouble believing that Nebraskans would vote for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. But I do find it very ironic that a state with a motto "Equality Before the Law" would attempt to outlaw equality.

So Judge Bataillon is merely making Nebraskans live up to their motto.

That's the bitch about mottos, slogans, mission statements, constitutions, etc. Ideology is hard to practice.

Republican Party mouthpiece and propaganda ho
Sean Hannity, his guests and callers on his show have been whining about how this renegade judge could be allowed to overturn the will of the majority of Nebraskans. He has also lambasted "liberal" judges, like in the Terri Schiavo case for their arrogance at ignoring Congress.

But the other big topic of late on his show is the so-called "nuclear option" to end the filibuster in the Senate to block President Bush's nominations to federal courts. I can't help but wonder if Hannity ever gets confused talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Our system of government is not perfect, but it was designed pretty well in its imperfection. Congress, the courts and the president all have ways to check and balance the other, to hopefully prevent one branch of the government from oppressing the masses, or individual citizens. And the people also have a voice in who they elect. Not a bad deal, because lord knows there are many examples of the people, Congress, the courts or presidents doing things they shouldn't.

We are not a true democracy, and thank the forefathers for that! Because if we were many important things might never have happened. Slavery could still exist, or at the very least blacks may still not have the vote and segregation would still likely be the law of the land if the majority ruled. Women may ever have gotten the vote. Democrats may have swelled the size of government to the point of Big Brother or Republicans might be telling us all how to pray. Who knows what abuses, beyond those we already have endured, may have happened.

Personally, I think the Democrats should allow these judicial nomination votes to happen. Judges, whether liberal or conservative, are not anywhere near as partisan or politically motivated as politicians. Liberal judges have made some very conservative rulings, and conservative judges have been know to make some very liberal rulings. I doubt that conservative judicial nominees will be entirely beholden to Bush or Hannity or Republicans upon ascending to the bench. They don't have to raise massive campaign warchests every few years, and whore themselves out to special interests to keep their jobs. Or in Hannity's case, pander to advertisers and an audience for ratings.

We may have a difficult time, whether in Nebraska or elsewhere, achieving "Equality Before the Law", but it is a worthy and necessary goal. We need more practice at ideology and less partisan politics. And a little less whoring for cash might be a refreshing change as well.

But who am I to judge?

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