Magazine article The American Prospect

The Bench Tilts. (Devil in the Details)

Magazine article The American Prospect

The Bench Tilts. (Devil in the Details)

Article excerpt

DO REPUBLICAN JUDGES have any sense of honor at all?

First, the all-power-to-the-states gang of five on the Supreme Court overthrows the sovereignty of Florida courts over Florida law to ensure the election of George W. Bush--noting in passing that this decision was not to be taken as a precedent for anything else.

In mid-December, however, it was taken as a precedent--not by a liberal judge trying to reaffirm national standards but by a right-wing judge who ruled, like the Supremes, that there's one law for Republicans and another for Democrats, and plaintiffs confuse the two at their own peril.

The judge was John D. Bates, a Bush appointee to the federal bench who ruled that the General Accounting Office, the investigative and auditing wing of Congress, could not legally sue Dick Cheney for the records of the secret meetings Cheney's energy task force held with energy-industry execs. The ruling was bad enough in itself--making congressional scrutiny of a deliberately impenetrable executive branch very difficult, and making it flat-out impossible for the public to know who exactly cooked up such policies as reducing clean-air and cleanwater standards in a rush to drill, dump and despoil. …

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