Thursday, May 19, 2005

Nukular Spring 

NOW: Josh Marshall on the approaching sturm und drang:
For all the chaos and storm caused by this debate, and all that is likely to follow it, don't forget that the all of this will be done by fifty Republican senators quite knowingly invoking a demonstrably false claim of constitutionality to achieve something they couldn't manage by following the rules.

This is about power; and, to them, the rules quite simply mean nothing. - TPM

And it won't be the first time...

The U.S. Supreme Court has opened its 1996-97 term. It promises to be a stormy one for the justices - not in the court, but outside it.

Forty years ago, "Impeach Earl Warren!" billboards were sprinkled generously over the landscapes of the South and Southwest. A segment of the religious right has upped the ante - they want to impeach not merely one U.S. Supreme Court justice, but six. How's that for a crackpot idea gone big time?

Who are the lucky six? Those justices who didn't vote "the right way" in Romer vs. Evans, the Colorado Amendment 2 case. Colorado's amendment would have prohibited laws to protect homosexuals from discrimination. ~ Charles Levendosky, editorial page editor of the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, October 21, 1996

The Romer Six
"Impeach the Court?"
Texas Lawyer, September 16, 1996 | Courtside; Presidential Race Triggers Supreme Court Name Game | By Tony Mauro

Some religious conservatives let it be known just how they felt about the Supreme Court recently, encouraging adherents to push for the impeachment of several justices.

The court's 6-3 ruling in Romer v. Evans, striking down Colorado's anti-gay Amendment 2, seems to have triggered the latest batch of broadsides against the justices, which also criticize the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision for upholding abortion rights.

In July, James Dobson of the influential group Focus on the Family in Colorado wrote a letter to supporters excoriating the court for decisions that travel down a "slippery slope [that] will lead, I believe, to the destruction of the social order as we know it."

Dobson quoted favorably from a statement made on a recent broadcast by another pillar of the right, Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation and head of National Empowerment Television.

Weyrich said that Romer "paves the way for the complete acceptance and sanction by this society for a lifestyle which is openly condemned in the Bible more times than any other specific sin."

Noting that some of the justices in the majority were Republican appointees, Weyrich suggested that electing a Republican president was not enough to cure what ails the court.

"We are out of remedies," says Weyrich. "Impeachment is our only hope of bringing a court which is out of control back under control."

And in an earlier full-page ad in The Washington Times, Randall Terry of Operation Rescue fame also called for the impeachment of all the justices in the Romer majority: Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Stephen Breyer, John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"The Supreme Court, in the name of law, has rejected God's law and codified lawlessness," the ad proclaims. "The court has usurped divine authority, church authority, parental authority, community authority, and representative authority. They sit as gods among us."

Dobson, Weyrich, and Terry have their work cut out for them, of course. Impeachment of a Supreme Court justice would require the U.S. House of Representatives to accuse the justice formally by a majority vote, a trial before the Senate, and a two-thirds majority of the upper chamber voting for conviction. So far, no member of the House has picked up the ball.

Enter the House of DeLay
"Impeachment madness perilous"; By Charles Levendosky, Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, December 27, 1998.

House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, began fomenting the current impeachment madness two years ago. His earlier target was the federal judiciary; later he elevated his sights -- to the presidency. DeLay is acknowledged to be the force behind lining up Republican votes to impeach President Clinton. He has cajoled, threatened and pulled in favors in order to fuel a radical revolution aimed at overturning democracy as we know it.

In mid-March 1997, DeLay proclaimed, "As part of our conservative efforts against judicial activism, we are going after judges."

DeLay took his script from James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Pat Buchanan, Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council, right-wing activist David Barton, Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition. They all bemoaned what they called "judicial tyranny" and the "imperial judiciary."

In May 1997, DeLay targeted three federal judges for impeachment -- Harold Baer Jr. of the U.S. District Court of Manhattan, Fred Biery of the U.S. District Court in San Antonio and Chief Judge Thelton Henderson of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco -- because DeLay didn't like decisions they had handed down. He claimed that "articles of impeachment are being written right now" against Biery.

The conservative National Legal Foundation endorsed DeLay's call for impeaching federal judges.

DeLay promised more federal judges would be added to his hit list. "We have a whole big file cabinet full. We are receiving nominations from all across the country of judges that could be prime candidates for the first impeachment." DeLay made this statement even before he had any evidence of impeachable crimes against these judges. And then Clinton fell into his lap.


Conservative GOP members of Congress have watched their agenda blunted by the federal courts or fragmented by the president. And now, in frustration, these short-sighted elected officials are willing to destroy the foundation of our system of government in order to get their way.

Where are the statesmen who understand what is being done? The nation needs them desperately.

This year of 2003 is the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Warren Court revolution. Surely there could be no better observance of this history-changing event than the launching of a counter-revolution to reclaim America's courts and the Constitution from the constitutional black hole into which the Warren Court first plunged us. ~ "Impeach Earl Warren:" The Warren Court's
Legacy Fifty Years Later, Part I. By Virginia C. Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman, Eagle Forum's Court Watch Eagle Forum

Earl Warren was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He ran as the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 1948 and served as the governor of California from 1943-1953. In the 1954 decision Brown vs Board of Education the Warren court declared segregation in schools unconstitutional. Thereby helping to launch a civil rights revolution to reclaim America from the racist white hood under which it had been plunged.


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