Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A quixotic quest to right all wrongs and repair all imperfections through the Constitution


Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that elected judges must recuse themselves from cases involving their substantial campaign donors. Duh. That duh being said, John Roberts, writing the dissent, had a point that the Court could have set a clearer standard than it did. (It would help if the states passed their own recusal rules, rather than having them be clarified through numerous lawsuits.)

However, Roberts argued that “sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.” The “disease” which he complacently suggests we just live with is judicial corruption. The lawsuits that will arise from this ruling, according to Roberts, “will do far more to erode public confidence in judicial impartiality than an isolated failure to recuse in a particular case.” This is the culture of secrecy; it is the language used by the Bush and, now, the Obama administrations to justify suppressing pictures of prisoner abuse. Roberts, like Obama, is unwilling to expose corruption because it would make the system look bad, and he thinks the exposure is the problem, not the corruption.

Scalia, also dissenting, wrote, “The court today continues its quixotic quest to right all wrongs and repair all imperfections through the Constitution.” Maybe it’s just me, but I’d actually like our courts to engage on a quixotic quest to right all wrongs and repair all imperfections through the Constitution.

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