Monday, March 21, 2005

Republicans vs. the Constitution: Unintended (?) consequences of the Schiavo case 

You know, I have this vague memory of another case, in Florida, where a decision by a state court got federalized, but, not to worry, no precedent was set...

What could it be...

Why, Bush v. Gore, of course!

One consequence of the extra-Constitutional intervention in the Schiavo case is that the Republicans have trashed the Constution by holding a "trial by legislature" and writing a law that targets an individual. (If some future Congress wants to try the Santorums for child abuse and abusing a corpse by having their kids—readers, I'm not making this up—pass a dead fetus around the kitchen table, the Republican have now opened the door.)

But that's for the long-term.

For the short term, by their actions, the Republicans have set the precedent that Congress can now intervene in any case in the State courts, on an entirely arbitrary basis, whenever they don't like the outcome.

So, if there is a Florida-style debacle in 2006 or 2008, and the election is appealed in the state courts, the Republicans can now Federalize it whenever they like.

So much for Bush v. Gore not being a precedent, eh? The Republicans have just, retrospectively, "legitimated" [cough] that case. Just one of many examples to come of why "trial by legislature" is a really, really bad idea.

So, we lose the Constitution in the short term; and we lose any "close" elections in the short term. Not that the Republicans would ever, you know, throw an election into the courts they control just to win a seat or anything....

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