Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The view from Kansas: Blame everything on activist judges

Pete Goering, executive editor of the Topeka Capital Journal, has his tongue firmly planted in cheek when he writes about how “activist courts” are the scourge of all humanity. I enjoyed Goering’s column and want to post a few quotes and link here. The problem, of course, is that many folks don’t think this is a joke. Among those are average Kansans and political leaders in the sunflower state and elsewhere who are so conservative they’d make Attila the Hun blush.

But for the moment, let’s look at the humor of the situation. Goering writes:
I’m not absolutely sure about this, but I have reason to believe the Kansas Supreme Court is to blame for the outrageous prices we're seeing at Topeka gas pumps.

What reason? Don't ask. Doesn't matter. Trust me on this. It's an activist court, isn't it?

After noting a few other alleged “transgressions,” Goering writes:

In other words, if something smells rotten, you can be pretty sure the Kansas Supreme Court is responsible. …

Until their real colors were exposed by some true American patriots -- most of whom are much too modest to want any public credit, but let's just say none has been corrupted by liberal or moderate propaganda -- I had always thought the state's Supreme Court justices were, you know, kind of the superstars of judges, the creme de la creme of jurists.

A couple of them I know personally. Geez, they always seemed like decent enough folks.

I guess I was mistaken.

While Goering's column is funny, it also points to a serious problem.

It is easy to look for scapegoats when things don't go your way. What bothers me is not just the simplistic attempt to smear judges, but the fact that all these so-called patriots who are attacking judges are also attacking the U.S. Constitution. If they succeed in either taking power away from judges, as has been attempted in Kansas and other states, or in eroding public confidence in the judiciary, the ultra right will have won their victories by gutting the Constitution's system of checks and balances.

This won't be good for the country, and ultimately, it won't even be good for the people who are screaming so loudly about the courts.

To quote one of my all-time favoriate journalists, Linda Ellerbee, and so it goes...

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