01 June 2006

Republican Anarchists

In most states, the path to a state supreme court judgeship is paved with pious affirmations that you will obey the law. In Alabama, four Republican candidates for this elective post are running on campaigns of ignoring the U.S. Supreme Court.
There are nine seats on Alabama's Supreme Court, all now held by Republicans, and five are up for election.
Recall that this is the state that brought us Governor George Wallace and Judge Roy Moore, who kicked off the current trend by ignoring a specific federal court order to remove the Ten Commandments monument he placed in the Court before he was removed from office.
Justice Tom Parker, who is running for chief justice, argues that state judges should refuse to follow U.S. Supreme Court precedents that they believe to be erroneous.
Another Republican canadidate takes a similar stance:
Alan Zeigler, a Birmingham lawyer running one of the seats, said lower courts should follow direct orders of the Supreme Court in specific cases. But he said state justices have a duty to ignore precedent.
And, so do two more.
Another candidate, Henry P. "Hank" Fowler, a member of Parker's staff, said conservative judges must stop surrendering to liberal Supreme Court opinions "without a word of protest." And lawyer Ben Hand said judges "can't just break the law and then point to the guy down the street in the black robe and say, 'He told me to.'"
The frightening thing is that the Republican judicial candidates who favor ignoring federal law as state supreme court justices are doing well in the polls.

Anarchist tendencies in Alabama also extend to Republicans in the executive branch. For example, when Roy Moore has commanded to obey a court order to remove his Ten Commandments display, the Republican Governor didn't implore him to obey the law. Instead:
Gov. Fob James threatened in 1997 to call out the National Guard to protect Moore's right to display a Ten Commandments plaque in his courtroom.
And, is our Republican President George W. Bush, who has taken the stand in signing statements in connection with 750 different laws that he will refuse to faithfully carry out the laws enacted by Congress all that different?

Does anyone remember the days when the Republicans were the party of law, order and federal authority?

Is it any wonder that Colorado's State Republican Party Assembly was itself anything but orderly (even with 35 sheriff's deputies called in to maintain order)?

The Republican base doesn't like it:
In recent polls, fewer than 70 percent of registered Republicans said they approve of the way President Bush is handling his job, a sharp drop from the 90 percent support on which he once could count. Among self-identified conservatives, Bush's standing is even lower: Just 51 percent rate his performance favorably. . . . while 59 percent of the public disapproves of the way the House and Senate are functioning, the figure among Republicans is 62 percent. Read that again: Republicans dislike the Republican-controlled Congress even more than Democrats and independents do.
Unity08 CEO Jim Jonas captured the sentiment in an interview with Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi:
Jonas contends he personally joined Unity08 because he didn't recognize the Republican Party anymore.

"It sure doesn't feel like the party that I was attracted to as a kid and that I grew up with as a kid - the party I have worked for and will continue to work for forever," says Jonas. "I think we need to get our party back focusing on the critical issues in this country."
I'm not sure when it happened, but the GOP has crossed the rubicon. Once it was a party of conservatives. Now, it is a party of anarchists (or more correctly, lawless dictators and theocrats).

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