California's (and maybe the whole country's?) Strange Justice
When considering what the Democrats in the Senate are trying to do in fillibuster the nominations of certain Bush appointments to the Federal Courts, one should really go and read what some of the justices believe in before immediately denouncing their "obstructionism." Forget for a moment that the Republicans denied up or down votes to numerous Clinton appointees (far more, by the way, than the Democrats have done to Bush, although they only did an actual fillibuster on one or two occasions, they used other techniques at other times), just look at where these judges will take this country, and it's a no-brainer - these people should not be sitting on any bench, let alone a lifetime appointment on the federal bench. Unless, that is, you want to take our country back nearly a century when the power of corporations and government over individuals was paramount, and people could be randomly thrown in jail for doing things like striking, speaking out against the government, being born of Japanese descent in the time of war, etc.... Many of these judges want to take us to an even more evil period, where the state will become one with religious authorities, so that we become, in effect, a theocracy.
Case in point is California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown. Yesterday's LA Times quotes her at length speaking to a group of Catholic lawyers about the cultural war we are engaged in - secular humanists against people of faith, and how people of faith must crush those cursed secular humanists or perish, or something of the sort (alright, a little hyperbole, but read the whole article linked here or reprinted in my comments section if the link has expired to know exactly what she said - it's pretty extreme, and would pretty much turn us into an oligarcichal theocracy if her vision for the country were to succeed). She makes it clear that she is fighting a religious war against the "unbelievers" or "infidels" (my words, not hers). This is a modern day fight like the enlightenemnt, like Galileo against the Catholic church, like the Salem witch trials. Today, the fight is over teaching real science versus "creationism" (ie - the bible as the absolute truth, science be damned), over stem cell research, and the right to have autonomy in your own body. Same battle, different lines.
Another example of Janice Brown's tilt towards autocracy (or at least a autocracy of the rich and powerful against the rest of society) comes in an analysis on the Counterpunch website (I don't necessarily agree with people like Alexander Cockburn on many issues, certainly not much on foreign affairs, but when it comes to Janice Brown, he's right on). Read this article to see how she is willing to uphold, through use of some contorted reasoning, the first amendment right of people to demonize and harass co-workers while at work (ie - you have no right not to listen), while at the same time finding that a company has the first amendment right not to listen when they are hit with a mass email from a former digruntled employee. In other words, we'll protect the right of the racists to spew their hate, but not the right of disgruntled employees to make their views against precious corporate America heard.
This shows the contortions that judges like Janice Brown are willing to engage in to uphold any law restricting redress from private citizens while expanding the right of corporations or haters to intimidate and shut up individuals.
You may say, what the hell is PD Dude writing about this for, it's not about being a public defender. But, that's not quite true. I'm fighting for the underdog, but Janice Brown, George Bush, and the corporate elite that they serve, are fighting to keep the underdog even more down. They want to keep us subservient and silent so that we will not stop them from making huge money in an unfettered manner. Want to change the bankruptcy laws? No problem. Want to restrict science so that religion can run this country? No problem. Want to make laws to encourage medical and other health providers to freeze out people from engaging in private, consensual behavior? No problem. This making the world safe for "people of faith" (in what?), has made things more and more intolerable for anyone who disagrees with that faith. That is the ultimate 800 pound gorilla throwing it's weight around among a bunch of underdogs. And it's wrong. Don't allow these judges to take the bench.