Saturday, October 27, 2007

2008 President - The big issue - SCOTUS

I've gotten a lot of calls and emails by individuals asking me why I have not endorsed candidate x at this time. Right now my ideological side is battling with my pragmatic side, and both have about 50% influence. I'm still a little ornery from the MSU game as I write this, so heads up in advance.

A little bit of background. In 2000, I was not a Republican. I was an independent with libertarian leanings, and very little pragmatism. I still have a bit of the indy streak in me as I vote the person over the party and never voted for a straight ticket (voted for blank and one libertarian judge since the republican wasn't contesting worth a damn). That said, I have not protest voted for a major office since the 2000 Senate race back when I went libertarian. That was before I was a Republican, and the current incumbent's office made the poor decision to directly lie to me. My bloodlines are Irish and I tend to remember things like that.

Back in 2000, I was planning to vote for Harry Browne, the Libertarian. I was not impressed with some of the positions of then Governor Bush. He was vague in his speeches and was not the best communicator. On policy, he remided me too much of Bill Clinton without the scandals. Sometimes I still get that gut feeling. I don't care for GATT with the WTO managing US trade. I'm not much of a nation builder. I don't like the big spending, and don't think the feds have any business in education policy (that's why we have school boards) or health care (prescription drugs) as they always tend to foul things up.

My decision then rested on two things. Janet Reno and the Supreme Court. I did not want to see Al Gore pick 2 or 3 Supreme Court justices. I did not want to see the butcher of Waco appointed for another term at AG. That flipped my vote from Browne to Bush at the last minute.

2004 was easier for me. Nominating the guy that represents literally every single thing wrong with the democrats - John Kerry - makes it an easy choice. For my gripes I have with Bush on several issues, I still have no regrets. On every issue which I disagreed with Bush, Kerry either agreed with him, or was worse.

And now we have a race between Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Ron Paul, Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, Fred Thompson, and Mike Huckabee. I'm real tired of the "I'm conservative too" bullshit soundbytes going on right now, and am looking to see plans, actions, and governmental reforms that are not worse than the problem. Good ole fashion less government. I'm undecided, and will probably stay that way until close to primary day.

But in the end with me, 2008 comes down to one issue over anything else. SCOTUS. "The Supreme Court of the United States." We are maybe one, if not two justices away from a constitutionalist court, getting the 10th amendment back, regaining our 2nd amendment rights (Parker v DC is a big case right now which has been appealed to SCOTUS), and delegating the abortion issue (Overturning the Lochner cases of our time - Doe v Bolton and Roe v Wade) and their successors to the states where it belongs. Unlike what the media portrays, overturning Roe and Doe do not ban abortions, but put the issue where it belongs on 10th amendment grounds - to the states and the people.

The ages of the SCOTUS justices:
Stevens - 87
Ginsburg - 74
Scalia - 71
Kennedy - 71
Breyer - 69
Souter - 68
Thomas - 59
Alito - 57
Roberts (chief) - 52

I know people are living a long time these days, but when half of the justices are in their 70's, that means there could be a lot of retirements. I really do not want to see a bunch of Breyer clones about 50 years old serving for thirty-five years, who do not follow constitution, but either create or ignore rights that should be considered "political questions."

Granted, not all of the conservatives or liberals are lockstep with one another. Even Justice Thomas (who I agree with the most on judicial issues) and Scalia sometimes disagee. Chief Justice Roberts has impressed me so far with his decisions/dissents. It is too early to tell with Justice Alito. I just hope the next few justices follow the constitution as it is written and to return the commerce clause to its original meaning and substanstive due process to its pre-Lochner (even though I agree with the Lochner philospohy, it was not the business of the federal government - I am consistent) meaning.

I'd like to see the next Justice of the Supreme Court be Alex Kozinski, or someone on that line. Will that happen? I don't know.

Which presidential candidate will move us towards that direction? It certainly isn't the democrats - even Richardson and Gravel who I don't mind on a personal level, but simply can not vote for due to policy reasons. Will the Republican candidates do so? That's what I still need to figure out, especially in the cases of Giuliani, Huckabee, and Romney. The senators have a record on this issue, good or bad, in their confirmation votes.

This is my 2008 litmus test. A constitutionalist court.


ThirstyJon said...

Amen to that!

Whatever else one might say about George W. Bush we did get some "strict constructionists" on the Supreme Court. That will also be a key area for me.

I am willing to consider a candidate who is less than ideal but will appoint a strict constructionist if given the chance.

I am personally wondering about Huckabee. I wonder what kind of justices he would appoint. I'd love to hear more on that if anyone knows.


keithr said...

My biggest complaint about Pres. Bush is that he has been such a free spender. There are other issues I've disagreed with him about but lack of fiscal responsibility is tops.

Huckabee shows the same free spending tendencies that Pres. Bush does. Huckabee is also the weakest Republican candidate on illegal immigration.

I agree that the abortion issue should be decided by individual states. For this reason, the top concerns for me, not necessarily in this order, are:

- SCOTUS appointments
- 2nd amendment
- Illegal immigration + border security
- Cut spending and taxes
- Stop federal intrusion into lives of private citizens

ThirstyJon said...

I know what you mean. When Bush was talking about "education" and the like back in his first election campaign it made me want to avoid him. I'd bet education quality would go way up if the federal government completely disengaged!

I think it was his force of conviction and the fact that Al Gore was the other choice that won me over in the end!

I do see Mike Huckabee in a similar way and the other choice could be Hillary Clinton! We'll see what happens in the primaries.


keithr said...

When the Pres. ran in 2000 by calling himself a "compassionate conservative" I cringed, fearing that "compassionate" = "big government spending". Unfortunately this turned out to be true. But Congress also has to share the blame for allowing spending to get out of control.

When I look back at Pres. Reagan, one of the things I liked best was his desire to minimize the role of government in our lives. He believed that government is the most expensive and least efficient way to solve problems and that it was the power of the free market with MINIMAL government intervention which made our nation great.

It disturbs me terribly when I hear Republicans falling into the liberal trap of trying to use government to solve all problems. Every Republican running calls himself a conservative yet most of them don't sound much different than Hillary on the subject of economics. We are being given the choice of voting for a big expansion of government or an even bigger expansion of government, which to me is no choice at all.

ThirstyJon said...

I think that for the same reason it is almost impossible to get "pork" out of legislation it is almost impossible to get elected without some big expensive plan to change the world through a new or expanded government program.

What is wrong with the American People?

Cut the Federal Programs in your State!

Cut the ones in mine too.

Let's be free instead!



Stephen R. Maloney said...

SCOTUS is important, but so is Congress.

As a Republican, you will be interested in the campaign of Lt. Col. William Russell, a Republican running against John Murtha in Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district. For Russell to win against someone as corrupt and well-financed as Murtha, he will need the support of Republicans throughout the country.

To see how you can encourage Russell, a veteran of Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom, please go to his web site:

steve maloney, posting at: (several columns about Russell-Murtha) (one of seven contributors)