05 November 2005

Thoughts on Alito and King George I

Lest anyone get the impression that I think Bush doesn't give much thought to his SCOTUS nominees, I'd like to make a few comparisons.
Roberts believes in giving great deference to the executive branch; he seems to see in the Constitution (as I do not) room for a very strong executive, and he has supported expansion of executive powers in his appellate decisions. I firmly believe that all other qualifications aside Bush was very much looking for a judge who supported strong executive power when he nominated Roberts. For some info on Roberts' views on executive power you can look on SCOTUSBlog here, and other sources here, here, and here.

I'm going somewhere with this after the jump.

Next, Bush nominated a slavering crony who seemed to believe--clear evidence that she wasn't very bright--that Bush was the most brilliant man she'd ever met. The prime reason for Senators to have denied Harriet Miers a seat on the court was her sycophantic devotion to George W. Bush; we can assume she would have supported the expansion of executive powers, as long as Bush was in office at the very least. Hmm.

Now we have Judge Alito. I had a feeling, an inkling, when the nomination was announced, that liberals and Democrats were going to overlook every important issue and concentrate solely on abortion, and so far that seems to be the case. But do you think Bush nominated Alito solely on the basis of his Roe v. Wade stance? I certainly don't.

Nah. Instead, here's an article--most assuredly the first of several--about Alito's views on executive power. It seems that once again, Bush has nominated to the Court someone who is amenable to expansions of executive authority. (He also seems to defer to business interests a lot as well, another item of interest to Bush-watchers.)

Why is Bush so interested in getting people onto the Court who will support the Justice Department in any upcoming cases revolving around the limits on executive authority in this country? We already know he's keen to bring the military in to handle domestic disasters should any more occur (when, I should say), and the only comment I heard on his Bird Flu plan yesterday was that people would have to "do what they were told;" the plan also includes using the military on the homefront to combat any potential pandemic, another use of military forces during peacetime against the homefront.

I'm not a tinfoil hat person. I'm not a conspiracy buff. But just exactly what the hell is Mr. Bush planning for his next power grab? He's already asked Congress more than once to repeal the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act barring the use of the military for domestic policing. While the strength of the act has been diminished over the last 20 years, that Bush wants it repealed entirely clearly indicates he is up to something. Why does he feel he needs to use the military at home? Just exactly what parts of the military is he expecting to use, since he's got us all tied up gallivanting around the middle east and seems to want a fight with Syria to keep us even busier? I don't know. Like I said, I don't buy into conspiracy theories, but the trends here would seem to indicate that something is up.

Then again, as Mark Tushnet argues here, maybe I'm a fool for even worrying about the matter in the first place.


Lucky Bob said...

Hmmmm. Me thinks you may be on to something here. Some of the Democrats have already been complaining about a lack of separation of powers. Recently The History Channel has played The Siege, again on the 5th at 8 PM and then again at 12AM. It’s interesting because they talk a bit about the mentality change of the US after 9/11. Anyway, there is a whole scene where they talk about the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act and bringing the military in. It seemed interestingly timed.

Smitty said...

Oh yeah, it sure seems they've done some thinking about the timing of that film, no doubt. The trouble is I don't really care to speculate on precisely what Mr Bushy is up to, as I really can't come up with anything I want to believe. But rereading this I was struck that, with the military overextended as it is, any large-scale use of the military on the home front would seem to require...you know. One of those D-word things everybody's afraid to talk about.
That said, the man's approval rating is but a few breaths away from Richard Nixon's on the eve of his resignation, so I'm not sure that Bush could really get away with much--unless he decides it's okay to entirely circumvent Congress and the states. Which is what I think he wants to do...whatever it is he wants to do.