the bush legacy: a corporate judiciary

I just received the following note from Ben Brandzel at MoveOn and felt that it was worth passing along.

As we write this, the Senate is debating the nomination of mining and cattle industry lobbyist William Myers III for a lifetime appointment to the Circuit Court of Appeals — the second highest court in the land. Myers is the first of 20 nominees Bush has re-submitted in his second term. All 20 repeat nominees were rejected last term by Senate Democrats (as compared to 204 judges they accepted) because these nominees consistently sided with corporate special interests over the rights of ordinary Americans.

The Senate has the power to approve or reject judicial nominations because judges — above all else — must be trusted by Americans on all sides to rule fairly. So why does Bush refuse to send new nominees both parties can agree on? Because while his presidency will be over in 4 years, the judges he appoints will be on the bench for the rest of their lives. This is Bush’s big push to lock in his hard right, corporate-friendly ideology for decades to come — and that is exactly why we must not back down now.

The fight begins today. The Myers vote is a key test — and may well determine whether Bush can stack the judiciary, all the way up to the Supreme Court, with a steady stream of hard right, pro-corporate judges. It’s crucial that our Senators know that we out here in America are counting on them to hold the line against all 20 of Bush’s rejected, partisan judges.

Please sign today.

We will deliver your comments to your Senators before the crucial votes on these 20 judicial nominees.

Here’s a brief summary of just the first three of the 20 partisan judges re-nominated by President Bush.

William Myers III has never been a judge and spent most of his career as a lobbyist for the cattle and mining industry. He has written that all habitat conservation laws are unconstitutional because they interfere with potential profit. In 2001, Bush appointed him as the chief lawyer for the Department of the Interior. In that role he continued as a champion of corporate interests, setting his agenda in meetings with former employers he promised not to speak with, and even illegally giving away sacred Native American land to be strip mined.

Terrence Boyle was a legal aide to Jesse Helms. As a judge, his signature decisions have attempted to circumvent federal laws barring employment discrimination by race, gender, and disability. His rulings have been overturned a staggering 120 times by the conservative 4th District Court of Appeals, either due to gross errors in judgment or simple incompetence.

William Pryor Jr. served as Attorney General of Alabama, where he took money from Phillip Morris, fought against the anti-tobacco lawsuit until it was almost over, and cost the people of Alabama billions in settlement money for their healthcare system as a result. He called Roe v. Wade “the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history,” and has consistently argued against the federal protections for the civil rights of minorities, lesbian and gay couples, women, and the disabled.

If we falter now, then decades down the road dozens of judges like this will still be ruling in favor of unchecked corporate greed and against the basic principles of accountability and fairness.

The Bush Administration is prepared to stop at nothing to smash Democratic resistance and stack the courts. As President of the Senate, Dick Cheney has even threatened to push these 20 through by using a parliamentary trick so abusive even he calls it the “nuclear option.” If they can get away with it, the “nuclear option” would eliminate the right to filibuster — a rule that has allowed 40 or more Senators to keep extremists from all sides off the courts for centuries.

If that happens, when Supreme Court vacancies begin to open up in a few months there will be no motivation for Bush to nominate justices acceptable to both parties, and no ability for Democrats to oppose even the most dangerous extremists…

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One Comment

  1. chris
    Posted March 2, 2005 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    This has me so freaked out that I cannot even comment. I feel like I am living in a pomo Weimar Republic.

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