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The Right’s Legal Troubles, John Roberts

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This Week on the Right

Toeing an Illegal Line

By Michael Flynn

With John Roberts seemingly a shoo-in for the Supreme Court, Republicans can hardly be blamed for their excitement on the legal front, which was fervently—and sometimes angrily—demonstrated at the August 14 Justice Sunday II extravaganza, the second installment of a religious-right rally aimed at attacking—in James Dobson’s words—an “unelected, unaccountable, and arrogant” judiciary and championing conservative social causes. Taking center stage at the event, Rep. Tom Delay lambasted “activist courts” for imposing “state-sanctioned same-sex marriage” and “ridding the public square of any mention of our nation’s religious heritage.” The event also served as a rally in support of Roberts, who conservatives hope will help put the court in the hands of the “moral majority.”

Despite the White House’s continued stonewalling over the release of documents detailing some of Roberts’ past work, it is clear what his ideological leanings are and the potential impact they will have on court rulings. Although he is perhaps “no crazed ideologue intent on overturning precedents willy-nilly,” as the Los Angeles Times opined in a recent editorial, Roberts will tilt the bench definitively in a conservative direction on social issues, including abortion. Also, according to observers quoted in a Los Angeles Times report (August 14, 2005), Roberts has a track record of supporting broad executive powers, which could potentially impact everything from the treatment of “enemy combatants” to the president’s authority to use military force without congressional authorization. With the nation confronting a seemingly endless war on terror, the issue of executive powers could turn out to be the most “important issue on the court’s docket over the next few years,” as Neil Kinkopf, a law professor at Georgia State University, told the Times.

But a successful Roberts’ nomination won’t stem the tide of legal woes afflicting a passel of high-profile conservatives and hard-liners with close ties to the Bush administration and powerful Republicans in Congress. Together with the potentially ground-shaking fallout from the ongoing PlameGate saga, the recent indictments of Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and two former analysts from the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee with ties to neoconservatives in the administration have put the house that Bush built on increasingly rocky terrain. [Read entire article]

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Letters From Our Readers

(Editors Note: We encourage feedback and comments, which can be sent for publication through our feedback page, at: http://rightweb.irc-online.org/form_feedback.html. We reserve the right to edit comments for clarity and brevity. Be sure to include your full name. Thank you.)

Re: World Movement for Democracy

Tom Barry’s article attacking the World Movement for Democracy (WMD) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) fails to acknowledge the support these institutions receive across a wide ideological spectrum in the United States and abroad. The NED gets substantial support and leadership from “mainstream” republicans, “moderate” democrats, and labor.

The WMD trumpets democratic values against governments which the United States disfavors, but the country fails to apply to these goals to itself, as is clearly seen in its failure to guarantee the constitutional right to vote and the appalling fact that 99 percent of House incumbents are re-elected every 2 years.

Another shortcoming of the WMD is its resistance to applying democratic principles to global governing institutions like the United Nations, the World Bank, and the IMF. For example, the WMD fails to focus on the hegemony of five nations at the UN, which is a profoundly undemocratic practice.

WMD will be vastly improved if it truly advocates for universal democratic values for all governing institutions. Foreign policy elites from various ideological camps would be wise to deepen their support for democratic principles.

— Michael Beer

Re: The New Crusade of the Democratic Globalists

The neoconservatives mentioned in this article are pursuing a disastrous course. Their arrogance in believing the universality of American ideas, values, and Western-style governance not only dismisses other cultures as inferior but invites the wrath of cultures that subscribe to their own religious ideas, values, and ways of governance.

These misguided and messianic ideologues dismiss Samuel Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” thesis, which argues that our system is culturally Western and fits our Western heritage. For example, the system of separation of church and state is an invaluable and immutable part of our form of government and Western democracies in general. Islam cannot fathom the separation of church and state. Our systems are not reconcilable. If we attempt to impose our values and our system on other civilizations because of our self-righteous belief that we are superior, we will incur hatred and contempt, and radicalize others to resist our interference, likely generating greater terrorism, and making all Westerners targets for terrorists.

— Dave Lefcourt

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