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Sen. Reid on the Retirement of Justice O’Connor

ShamMol

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Statement of Senator Harry Reid on the Retirement of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has been an inspirational figure to all Americans. As the first woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court, she blazed a trail that many will follow. As a Westerner, she brought to the Court a love of the land and an appreciation for individual rights. And as a former state legislator, she had a practical sense of how to balance the will of the majority with the rights of the minority in our society.

Above all, Justice O’Connor has been a voice of reason and moderation on the Court. It is vital that she be replaced by someone like her, someone who embodies the fundamental American values of freedom, equality and fairness.

The decisions handed down by the Supreme Court profoundly affect the daily lives of all Americans. The Court is the final guardian of our constitutional rights and liberties. That is why the process of filling a Supreme Court vacancy is so important.

The Constitution gives the President and the Senate shared responsibility to fill this vacancy, because the President may only act with the “Advice and Consent” of the Senate. At this critical moment, the President must recognize the Senate’s constitutional role. He should give life to the Advice and Consent Clause by engaging in meaningful consultation with Senators of both political parties.

Working with the Senate, the President should identify a highly qualified candidate whose views are within the broad constitutional mainstream and who will make all Americans proud. With this nomination the President should choose to unite the country, not divide it. I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in the Senate to fill this critical vacancy.
 

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The Constitution gives the President and the Senate shared responsibility to fill this vacancy, because the President may only act with the “Advice and Consent” of the Senate. At this critical moment, the President must recognize the Senate’s constitutional role. He should give life to the Advice and Consent Clause by engaging in meaningful consultation with Senators of both political parties.

Working with the Senate, the President should identify a highly qualified candidate whose views are within the broad constitutional mainstream and who will make all Americans proud. With this nomination the President should choose to unite the country, not divide it. I look forward to working with the President and my colleagues in the Senate to fill this critical vacancy.
I bet he does. He is setting the stage for a fight is what he is doing. Mainstream to him means leaning to the left -- who is he trying to kid here. If the Democrats don't approve they stamp their little foot and make a big scene. Nothing new here.
 

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Squawker said:
I bet he does. He is setting the stage for a fight is what he is doing. Mainstream to him means leaning to the left -- who is he trying to kid here. If the Democrats don't approve they stamp their little foot and make a big scene. Nothing new here.
No, he means not extreme. He means moderate (which this country is). He means doesn't want to overturn civil liberties put in place before because of ideaology. That is what he means.

I don't kid myself, I know there will be a fight, but it is a damn good one to have, especially considering the people that are being put up (according to CNN, there are quite a few possibilities already).
 

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… whose views are within the broad constitutional mainstream..
Would someone please explain what this means?
 

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ShamMol said:
No, he means not extreme. He means moderate (which this country is). He means doesn't want to overturn civil liberties put in place before because of ideaology. That is what he means.
Unfortunately, many of the liberal judges are ignoring the constitution, and this is e a threat to our civil liberties. I hope that there's a fight. If there isn't, it means that Bush didn't choose someone good enough.

And of course I want a judge who will be independant enough to follow the constitution no matter who is eroding our rights - that goes for both democrats and republicans.
 

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What most people see is a bunch of liberals on the court. Am I wrong. Well, that just isn't true, over 80% of those on the court are likely conservative to moderate. How did I arrive at this number? Well, we can assume that the 75% of all those on the court who were appointed by republicans are moderate or conservative. And of the 25% left, we can at least presume to say that 20% of those are moderate (which is low, but hey, who cares).

So, who is the bigger threat to our way of life? Who is the one on the court who doesn't offer legal guidance but instead condemnations of his colleagues? Yeah, the conservative one. The majority of those on the court will be conservative. Of those, 3 are staunchly conservative (soon to be four). There are two staunch liberals. That leaves 3 moderates who are liberal-leaning (2) and conservative leaning (1). That means that there is a decidely staucher side to the conservatives on the court that will always vote a certain way no matter waht. How is that for dangerous. O'Connor was conservative, but at least she had a mind of her own. Justices who are conservative apparently aren't allowed that.

Hell, even if it was a liberal, I wouldn't want a record that showed his or her voting a certain way all the time. I want someone who looks at the facts and says this is the right outcome in accordance with these facts. But that apparently isn't allowed anymore. Sad.
 

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ShamMol said:
What most people see is a bunch of liberals on the court. Am I wrong. Well, that just isn't true, over 80% of those on the court are likely conservative to moderate. How did I arrive at this number? Well, we can assume that the 75% of all those on the court who were appointed by republicans are moderate or conservative. And of the 25% left, we can at least presume to say that 20% of those are moderate (which is low, but hey, who cares).
I don't really care about the personal opinions of the people on the court - just want them to follow the constition instead of allowing their opinions to legislate whatever they want. A few recent decisions have been troubling - and many of them were close.

The eminent domain decision ignored one of the provisions in the bill of rights.
The medical marijuana decision is as anti-democratic as it gets as far as I'm concerned, as it overturns laws that people in the state voted for. They interpreted the inter-state commerce clause to mean "just do whatever."
Both these decisions were supported by the so-called "liberals" on the court.
 

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From Senator Reid...

The Constitution gives the President and the Senate shared responsibility to fill this vacancy, because the President may only act with the “Advice and Consent” of the Senate. At this critical moment, the President must recognize the Senate’s constitutional role. He should give life to the Advice and Consent Clause by engaging in meaningful consultation with Senators of both political parties.


Last week I heard Senator Arlen Spector specifically say that he DOESN'T want to know who the nominee is until that person is officially nominated.
He said he's never asked for names before and he isn't going to start now.

He said he knows that if there are discussions with ceratin Senators about somebody that the Senator disagrees with, the named person will be leaked into the media, which will start a mad, media frenzy. Critcis of Bush will skew the person named negatively, and proponents of Bush will skew the person named positively...and that person MAY NEVER EVEN BE NOMINATED. And even if one of those persons IS named the nominee, that, in turn, will give the rest of Congress poor judgement in terms of recommending said person.

ShamMol wrote...

I don't kid myself, I know there will be a fight, but it is a damn good one to have, especially considering the people that are being put up (according to CNN, there are quite a few possibilities already).
Any media outlet that does this is DISGUSTING. If they throw out 5 names, the left will automatically lambast 5 people...What if 3 or 4 of them don't even WANT the nomination? Too late...they've already had their name dragged through the mud.
 

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galenrox said:
Do you believe in framing? I read an interesting book called "Don't think of an elephant" where he talks a lot about terminology and thought processes around politics, and if you take out all the stuff about getting democrats elected, it's really quite interesting.
Anyway, if you're a conservative or a liberal, regardless of whether or not you're going to lean that way intentionally, you lean that way for a reason, it's something about who you are, and how you interpret the facts. This would lead you to interpret the constitution differently, based on who you are, and it's not neccisarily intentional bias, but the bias still exists, so it does matter what the personal opinion of the nominee is.
I mean no offense to you, but I think you give too much credit to the Justices. I don't think it matters which way they lean, whether liberal or conservative, because their real agenda has and always will be expanding the court's influence and power on politics. What really matters to a president is whether the nominee will side more often with his party, not whether he's lib or con...
 

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galenrox said:
Oh, I didn't mean to seem that I took offense. I thought what you said was very thoughtful, I was just posting a counterpoint, but thanks for the concern!
This might just be the naive idealist in me, but I don't think that a president should be concerned with what party the new justice will go along with, but instead whether s/he has an extremely deep understanding and respect of the constitution, and will be willing to base rulings on that, rather than his or her own personal beliefs.
Well, the rulings a justice is expected to rule on are opportunities to expand the court's power, which in turn potentially expands the power of the political party that appointed the justice. Now whether these justices draw on their personal belief systems to craft rulings is really immaterial, because unless their rulings expand the power of the court the rulings have no impact, therefore they are meaningless. This is why the court only accepts certain cases for review, in order to rule on cases that expand it's power.

Just look at the recent decision on eminent domain. Clearly the court overstepped it's authority in ruling in favor of the various governments against private land owners. Even though the court supposedly has a slightly conservative tilt, they still made a ruling that increases it's own power, and the power of the State. Their collective personal belief systems, both lib and con, took a back seat to increasing the power of the State, thus ignoring the constitution all together...
 

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galenrox said:
Yeah, although I tend to go liberal on most things, in the recent court rulings I've agreed with the conservatives more and more. It's more the issue of abortion I'm worried about.
But even in abortion the court overstepped it's authority. Until Roe v. Wade the issue was clearly in the states. At least until then, if you disagreed with your state's stand on abortion, you had the right to move to a state where you agreed. Or work within your state to change it's laws. But now it's out of our hands, and in the hands of the self-appointed arbiters of life...
 

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galenrox said:
All arms of the government try to push the envelope on how far their authority extends, that's why there's the three branches of the government. I agree somewhat that abortion should be in the states's rights to decide, except when the government decides that it's illegal for a non-parent/guardian adult to transport a minor across state lines to get an abortion, or when in certain states or blocks of states there is no practical way for a citizen to be able to go to another state to do so.
But see, that's what's so dangerous about the Supreme Court becoming the ultimate arbiter. The other two branches of government demur in asserting their own authority, in favor of letting the court increase it's power. The checks and balances are slowly erased, and the result is increased power of the State over the individual. Very un-American.

At least right now the Supreme Oligarchy of Nine is mostly benevolent, although they've taken away the concept of private property. I wonder what will be next...?
 

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galenrox said:
True, but the other two branches of the government have control over the supreme court too, such as the constitution can be ammended, and when the justices step down the president appoints a new one. I think it's important to have justices who firmly believe in the constitution, and within that constitution the checks and balances that have kept this country functioning.
You're right in so far as we need to continue in the system we have of appointing new people to the court. But I ask you, what's to stop the court from ruling a new amendment to be un-constitutional? I know, it sounds far fetched, but they've already taken away the very concept of private property. When that happens, and it will some day I think, you will see the other two branches fold like weeping willows in the wind.
 

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Connecticutter said:
I don't really care about the personal opinions of the people on the court - just want them to follow the constition instead of allowing their opinions to legislate whatever they want. A few recent decisions have been troubling - and many of them were close.

The eminent domain decision ignored one of the provisions in the bill of rights.
The medical marijuana decision is as anti-democratic as it gets as far as I'm concerned, as it overturns laws that people in the state voted for. They interpreted the inter-state commerce clause to mean "just do whatever."
Both these decisions were supported by the so-called "liberals" on the court.
so called liberals on the court? "Stevens was joined in the majority by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer."

"O'Connor was joined in her dissent by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. They wrote that the majority had tilted in favor of those with "disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."


source http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/06/23/AR2005062300783_pf.html

now I've heard stinging remarks against Scalia and Thomas as being "too liberal" which is it? are justices only liberal when they side on the other side of an issue? sometimes this partisan nonsense just irks me.
 
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galenrox said:
Because they can't. Once it's in the constitution, it cannot, by definition, be unconstitutional, because whether or not something is constitutional is defined by whether or not it follows what is in the constitution, and so the supreme court cannot strike down anything in the constitution.
That's the way it's supposed to work. But what's to stop them? Who are you going to appeal to if they did that? Besides, they could just interpret any amendment to mean what they want. Witness the eminant domain case...
 

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cnredd said:
Last week I heard Senator Arlen Spector specifically say that he DOESN'T want to know who the nominee is until that person is officially nominated.
He said he's never asked for names before and he isn't going to start now.

He said he knows that if there are discussions with ceratin Senators about somebody that the Senator disagrees with, the named person will be leaked into the media, which will start a mad, media frenzy. Critcis of Bush will skew the person named negatively, and proponents of Bush will skew the person named positively...and that person MAY NEVER EVEN BE NOMINATED. And even if one of those persons IS named the nominee, that, in turn, will give the rest of Congress poor judgement in terms of recommending said person.
Arlen Spector is a panderer. He panders to whomever he thinks will best give him what he wants. He made comments after the election concerning judicial nominees and litmus tests, etc, and then backtracked ALL of that in order to get the Senate Judiciary Chairmanship.

He's self serving and a menace to his home state. He does very little in the Senate, but make a bad name for us all, because many continue to vote him in.

Don't let him fool you... Spector knows the names. Spector knows who's up for what nomination, and if it will gain him points in order to get his agenda's pushed, he'd vote for Scooby Doo to be on the supreme court. Sad but true!
 

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debate_junkie said:
Arlen Spector is a panderer. He panders to whomever he thinks will best give him what he wants. He made comments after the election concerning judicial nominees and litmus tests, etc, and then backtracked ALL of that in order to get the Senate Judiciary Chairmanship.

He's self serving and a menace to his home state. He does very little in the Senate, but make a bad name for us all, because many continue to vote him in.

Don't let him fool you... Spector knows the names. Spector knows who's up for what nomination, and if it will gain him points in order to get his agenda's pushed, he'd vote for Scooby Doo to be on the supreme court. Sad but true!
He is a panderer? That is basically the definition of a politician. They do what they can to get what they want in order to get elected, all of them do it, from George Bush to Edward Kennedy.

His approval ratings in his state are phenominal. Somehow I think they don't see him as the menace you do. They do continue to vote him in.

Spector knows the names, probably better than most, but right now, everyone knows who is going to be in the pool, and I am sure he has his favorite just like I have mine. And scooby doo can't serve on the court, as he is a dog.
 

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debate_junkie said:
Arlen Spector is a panderer. He panders to whomever he thinks will best give him what he wants. He made comments after the election concerning judicial nominees and litmus tests, etc, and then backtracked ALL of that in order to get the Senate Judiciary Chairmanship.

He's self serving and a menace to his home state. He does very little in the Senate, but make a bad name for us all, because many continue to vote him in.

Don't let him fool you... Spector knows the names. Spector knows who's up for what nomination, and if it will gain him points in order to get his agenda's pushed, he'd vote for Scooby Doo to be on the supreme court. Sad but true!
Just because you have this hatred of the man doesn't mean that EVERYTHING he says is wrong.

I want Charles Manson to be cut up in little pieces and used for chum; that doesn't mean I wouldn't agree with him if he said "Michael Moore is an idiot".

And to say "Spector knows who's up for what nomination" MAY be true, but at the moment it is strictly hearsay & speculation...unless you have some sort of source available...
 

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galenrox said:
I disagree with the eminant domain case too, but I'm sure you can admit that that is a far cry from a court saying the constitution is unconstitutional.
I agree with the theory that the court can’t say the constitution is unconstitutional, but they did just that with the eminent domain clause and the right to own property didn’t they?

It isn’t outside the realm of possibilities to imagine the court interpreting what constitutes an amendment being the sole interpreter of the constitution is it?
 

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… whose views are within the broad constitutional mainstream..
No one has taken a crack at this. I’m rather surprised.

I take this to mean we all agree Reid is full of it.
 

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GPS_Flex said:
No one has taken a crack at this. I’m rather surprised.

I take this to mean we all agree Reid is full of it.
I didn't realize it was out there. I thought I had adressed this earlier. I defined what I thought a good jurist was, irregardless of what party he or she is from.
 

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galenrox said:
I disagree with the eminant domain case too, but I'm sure you can admit that that is a far cry from a court saying the constitution is unconstitutional.
No, it's only a heartbeat away. There are only a few things more important to the foundation of our society than private property rights. Now that's gone. Private property is yours only so long your city doesn't take it for some developer. I tell you what - Thomas Jefferson's spinning in his grave over that one...
 

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ShamMol said:
I didn't realize it was out there. I thought I had adressed this earlier.
I didn’t realize you had addressed this. I’ve tried to look up your opinion/explanation but just can’t find it.

If you would be so kind as to humor me with another explanation, or a link to the original explanation, I would appreciate it.

ShamMol said:
I defined what I thought a good jurist was, irregardless of what party he or she is from.
Not relevant to what Reid says though is it?
 
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GPS_Flex said:
I didn’t realize you had addressed this. I’ve tried to look up your opinion/explanation but just can’t find it.

If you would be so kind as to humor me with another explanation, or a link to the original explanation, I would appreciate it.

Not relevant to what Reid says though is it?
From an earlier post...
What most people see is a bunch of liberals on the court. Am I wrong. Well, that just isn't true, over 80% of those on the court are likely conservative to moderate. How did I arrive at this number? Well, we can assume that the 75% of all those on the court who were appointed by republicans are moderate or conservative. And of the 25% left, we can at least presume to say that 20% of those are moderate (which is low, but hey, who cares).

So, who is the bigger threat to our way of life? Who is the one on the court who doesn't offer legal guidance but instead condemnations of his colleagues? Yeah, the conservative one. The majority of those on the court will be conservative. Of those, 3 are staunchly conservative (soon to be four). There are two staunch liberals. That leaves 3 moderates who are liberal-leaning (2) and conservative leaning (1). That means that there is a decidely staucher side to the conservatives on the court that will always vote a certain way no matter waht. How is that for dangerous. O'Connor was conservative, but at least she had a mind of her own. Justices who are conservative apparently aren't allowed that.

Hell, even if it was a liberal, I wouldn't want a record that showed his or her voting a certain way all the time. I want someone who looks at the facts and says this is the right outcome in accordance with these facts. But that apparently isn't allowed anymore. Sad.
Actually, it is relevant to what Reid said because I want someone who will come up with the right outcome in accordance with the facts and common law. But my problem now is that there are so many people pushing for their specific idealogies on the court when that isn't what it should be about. What it should be about is the right decision in the right case. That is what is important. Not overturning Roe or stuff like that. If it gets overturned and it is for the right reasons, fine. I will deal with it and still advocate for a constitutional amm, etc. I think you get my point-The judicial branch is not meant for politics.

But I will qualify this. If they two have shown both the traits that I want in a jurist, I will pick the one who leans more to my side just because that is human nature.
 

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Connecticutter said:
I don't really care about the personal opinions of the people on the court - just want them to follow the constition instead of allowing their opinions to legislate whatever they want. A few recent decisions have been troubling - and many of them were close.

The eminent domain decision ignored one of the provisions in the bill of rights.
The medical marijuana decision is as anti-democratic as it gets as far as I'm concerned, as it overturns laws that people in the state voted for. They interpreted the inter-state commerce clause to mean "just do whatever."
Both these decisions were supported by the so-called "liberals" on the court.
I was actually surprised by the marijuana case, but it had the right legal principles behind it from what I can tell. You can call it anti-democratic if you wish, but from what I have been informed, it was also correct.

The eminent domain case is actually interesting. It was basically a FU to state governments. The people got up and argued that it was just taking the next logical step in the process that had begun because states and cities were basically already doing this to a lesser degree. So the court said, well hell, if it is already happening, and the law is on our side, blah! It seems pretty well grounded though in law because of the "for the betterment of society" issue. What shall be interesting to see is whether it is reversed in the near future due to a lawyer challenging it and bring up the right to property.

The "liberals" on the court are two people. Do you mean the liberals and the moderates? Look to my last post to see the break down of the court.
 
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