Wednesday, March 23


Reagan's Solicitor General, Harvard law professor Charles Fried, says "Federalism has a right to life, too."

IN their intervention in the Terri Schiavo matter, Republicans in Congress and President Bush have, in a few brief legislative clauses, embraced the kind of free-floating judicial activism, disregard for orderly procedure and contempt for the integrity of state processes that they quite rightly have denounced and sought to discipline for decades.
Finally, the law passed by Congress on Monday was an obvious attempt - under the pretense of allowing the determination of federal constitutional rights - to delay the outcome decreed by Florida state law with the hope of making that outcome impossible. That is precisely the worrisome tactic employed with increasingly imaginative stays and orders of re-litigation in a number of federal courts, most noticeably the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers nine Western states. And it is also precisely the sort of tactic that Congress sought to discipline in the Effective Death Penalty Act.

It is no good for politicians to try to justify this absurd departure from principles of federalism and respect for sound and orderly judicial administration by saying that, in this case, the life at stake is unquestionably innocent. For in many of the death penalty cases, the claim has also been that the prisoner had at least unfairly, and perhaps even incorrectly, been condemned to death.

What we have is many of the the same political leaders who denounced the Supreme Court's decision forbidding states from executing those who committed their crimes as juveniles now feel free to parachute in on a case that had been within a state court's purview for 15 years.

Prof. Fried obviously doesn't understand Bush Country. OF COURSE they embrace for themselves what they denounce in others! That's the singular and most consistent characteristic of this administration and their cohorts: they feel they're anointed by God and therefore have the RIGHT and DUTY to use governmental institutions in any way that brings about the end they desire. Whether or not that makes us a "nation of men, and not laws" is irrelevant to them since they're the men in charge and they KNOW what's best for everyone else.

UPDATE: Seems more GOP'ers are concerned about this "violation of federalism."


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