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Supreme Court another reason to vote Republican

Right About Now

Posted: May 30, 2008 6:17 p.m.
Updated: July 31, 2008 5:01 a.m.
An interesting editorial appeared recently in the Los Angeles Times. It was titled "A vote against history" and referenced the Supreme Court decision that upheld Indiana's requirement for voter identification.

This is a law that was passed in 2005 that requires a state-issued photo ID to be presented in order to vote. The obvious purpose of this law is to prevent fraudulent voting.

However, the Times stated that the Supreme Court "tarnishes" its record of promoting democracy. That is to say that the Times takes the position that this is a voting restriction in that, for example, it is difficult for the elderly, the poor and the infirm to make the trip to a motor vehicles office.

Voting restriction, the Times says? For historical purposes, the grandfather clause, poll tax, literacy test, property requirements, intimidation and lack of a secret ballot are examples of restrictions on voting - but not the requirement of an ID.

If one can be required to produce a photo ID to make a credit card or ATM purchase or to board an airplane, then why can't laws require that people have a photo ID to verify that they are the person listed on the voting register? To me, this is a no-brainer, a common-sense issue.

This was a 6-3 Supreme Court decision with David Souter, Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the dissent side. The other to-the-left usual suspect, John Paul Stevens, surprisingly voted with the other five justices in the majority that upheld the Indiana statute.

Just think, if Al Gore had won in 2000, or John Kerry in 2004, the nation could very well have had two more liberal justices on the court, instead of the two conservative or strict constructionists that President Bush appointed: John Roberts and Samuel Alito.

Then, most certainly the Supreme Court would have struck down the Indiana law to require a state-issued photo ID in order to vote. A left-leaning court would have overturned Indiana by 5-4.

This is one big reason why the next presidential election is so important. The present court has six members whose ages, as of September, will range from 69 to 88. The next president, like President Bush, could easily expect to replace two or more justices in the next four years.

An understanding of the current makeup and ages of justices is in order here. The present Supreme Court is divided with four justices on the right, four justices on the left and a swing justice who leans to the right, but can surprise by casting his lot with the left.

The four on the right are: Chief Justice John Roberts, 53; Samuel Alito, 58; Antonin Scalia, 72; and Clarence Thomas, 60. They are strict constructionists in that they interpret the Constitution as the Founding Fathers intended.

They are the antithesis of the four who lean toward judicial activism and law-making from the bench. These justices are John Paul Stevens, 88; Stephen Breyer, 70; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 75; and soon-to-turn-69 David Souter. The swing justice is Anthony Kennedy at 72.

In some recent court decisions the end result was a 5-4 split. Who were the four? Usually Stevens, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Souter. Remember that the gang of four dissented in Gore vs. Bush, 2000, that settled the election.

So the election this November is highly significant when you consider the future of the Supreme Court and the direction our nation takes as my grandchildren grow up. Based on age, Stevens, 88, and Ginsburg, 75, could be the first to be replaced. Scalia, 72, Kennedy, 72, and Souter at near 69 may not be too far behind.

Does our nation need more justices who approve of the dissent in Gore vs. Bush? Does the United States need more justices who reject capital punishment and are soft on criminals, such as Souter and Ginsburg? Ask yourself, America, which way do we go in the next generation?

Do we need more justices who in 2005 ruled in favor of permitting cities to take people's homes for shopping malls? That is what will happen if a Democrat gets the opportunity to appoint supporters of the gang of four.

Yes, Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens and Breyer all decided in that direction, and Kennedy played swing man to give them the majority.

Please recall that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted in the Senate against the confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts. Roberts is the type of justice that John McCain will appoint to the Supreme Court.

Now this, hot off the press: On May 8 on CNN, Barack Obama was quoted as saying that Ginsburg was "a very sensible judge." This is the same Ginsburg, appointed by Bill Clinton, who from 1973 to 1980 was the general counsel for the ACLU.

Obama may be battling Hillary for the nomination, but he seems to think that Bill Clinton did a good job with his appointments to the Supreme Court. For the ill-informed, Stephan Breyer was President Clinton's other appointee.

While it is true that many conservatives are not excited about McCain, they had better think twice about whom they have in the Oval Office to make appointments to the Supreme Court and lower federal courts.
Anybody who leans to the right needs to show up in November to vote for McCain. If not, the United States will be saddled with more of the likes Ginsburg, Souter, Breyer, and Stevens. Vote! Stay on the right track.

Ron Eichler is a Valencia resident. "Right About Now" runs Fridays in The Signal and rotates among local Republican writers. Eichler's column represents his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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