NY Times Miss Manners Hints At Truth
The New York Times features an interesting story this morning about a move across teh country to remove judges by people who don't like their decisions:
After the State Supreme Court here stunned the nation by making this the first state in the heartland to allow same-sex marriage, Iowa braced for its sleepy judicial elections to turn into referendums on gay marriage.
The three Supreme Court justices on the ballot this year are indeed the targets of a well-financed campaign to oust them. But the effort has less to do with undoing same-sex marriage — which will remain even if the judges do not — than sending a broader message far beyond this state’s borders: voters can remove judges whose opinions they dislike.
Around the country, judicial elections that were designed to be as apolitical as possible are suddenly as contentious as any another race.
In Kansas, anti-abortion activists are seeking to recall a justice. In Illinois, business interests are campaigning against the chief justice after a case that removed a cap on malpractice liability, prompting him to run a television ad that opens with the declaration, “I am not a politician.” And a conservative group called Clear the Bench Colorado is citing a host of decisions in seeking to oust the full slate of justices on the ballot there, urging voters, “Be a citizen, not a subject.”
It goes on to point out that the laws many of them were using were designed to remove corrupt or incompetent judges but are now being used to send a message that judges who do not adhere to certain views will be kicked out of office.
It also points out that there is big money involved, with the campaigns being underwritten by corporate interests and wealthy Christian groups.
But they forgot to connect the dots in this story. Do you notice something that all these cases around the country have in common? Yes, I knew that you could -- they are all being waged by right wingers. This "trend" is decidedly one-sided, run by a minority faction in America who have decided that their interpretation of the laws and the constitution will be imposed upon everyone.
Far be it for me to suggest that intimidating judges and replacing ones you don't like with social conservatives might be just a little bit theocratic and surely nobody can believe thatcorporate sponsored removal campaigns are designed to make it impossible for moderate or conservative judges to compete against business friendly judges. It would be very impolite to point any of that out, which is why, I'm sure that the New York Times didn't bother to do it.
They simply left some little hints for the discerning reader to sift through:
Brian S. Brown, executive director of the National Organization for Marriage, which has spent $230,000 on television ads criticizing the Iowa judges, said he understood that removing the three judges would not change the same-sex marriage ruling. (It was a unanimous ruling by the state’s seven justices.) But Mr. Brown said he hoped the judges’ ouster would help prevent similar rulings elsewhere by making judges around the nation aware that their jobs are on the line.
“It sends a powerful message,” he said, “That if justices go outside the bounds of their oaths, if the justices go outside the bounds of the U.S. and state constitutions they’re going to be held accountable.”
Bob Vander Plaats, who made opposition to same-sex marriage a centerpiece of his unsuccessful run for governor in Iowa, is leading the ouster campaign on behalf of the political arm of the American Family Association, a conservative Christian organization based in Tupelo, Miss.
“My bigger fear isn’t about injecting politics into judicial retention elections. The bigger fear is that we don’t hold them in check,” he said, warning that gun and property rights could be at risk.
Make of that what you will dear reader. But never say that the NY Times stooped to the level of shrill bloggers who suggest that the far right might have a radical agenda. Let no one say that the old Gray Lady is anything but well mannered.