Thursday, March 31, 2005

Back to Bolton

Readers of this blog have doubtless become familiar, over the last several days, with the name John Bolton. Mr. Bolton is President Bush's nominee to the post of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and he appears to be a rather bad man. He also personifies the go-it-alone, we've-got-all-the-toys-so-shut-up modus operandi of the Bush administration, only with attitude. (For a little context here, consider how Rodney Dangerfield once characterized his nabe: "I come from a neighborhood so tough that Bella Abzug was the Avon lady.")

For a vigorous discussion of how the Democrats should handle the thorny topic of Bolton's confirmation hearings, go to Steve Clemons' The Washington Note. Here's Clemons:

No Bush diplomatic nominee has ever been uniformly opposed by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. The fact is moderate Republicans despise Bolton as well -- they do. Party tectonics are complicating them voting their conscience -- but Bolton is not only a despicable choice for this job, but he is more beatable than various other bad choices that progressives and centrists might want to contest.

Voting for Bolton is a vote against American interests. I am generally a subscriber to ethical realism if you want to give it a name. And Bolton is the antithesis of most of what I believe is in the hard-core, unsentimental interests of the United States.

Here your cybertrix shares a little tip: She came upon the Clemons piece via LiberalOasis, which is quite the must-read for aficionados of the blogosphere.

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May she rest in peace

In her last few months, as Terri Schiavo lay in a state of suspended animation, that state of neither quite life nor death, she became a symbol of many things: of our nation's confusion about and rejection of death, of the heartlessness of liberalism, the phantasmagoria of radical authoritarianism, the opportunism of Congress and, not least of all, the unmeetable twain of the great national divide.

In death, one hopes, she becomes flesh again, a mere mortal. Godspeed.

For a clear-eyed, blow-by-blow look at the case as it coursed its way through the courts over the past few days, look at Tim Grieve's blogging for Salon's 'War Room.'

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One for the Constitution

At last, a member of the judiciary involved in the Schiavo case has been willing to call a spade a spade. In yesterday's appeal by Terri Schiavo's parents to the 11th Circuit federal Court of Appeals, one of the judges on the panel issued an opinion devoted to the peril posed to the Constitution by congressional intervention in the case. (It was legislation passed by Congress that allowed the case to live another day in the federal system after all appeals had been exhausted in the Florida state courts, and the U.S. Supreme Court had refused to hear it.) The New York Times reports:

The 11th Circuit court's decision, signed by Chief Judge J. L. Edmondson, was only a sentence long. But in a concurring opinion, Judge Stanley F. Birch Jr., appointed by the first President Bush in 1990, wrote that federal courts had no jurisdiction in the case and that the law enacted by Congress and President Bush allowing the Schindlers to seek a federal court review was unconstitutional.

"When the fervor of political passions moves the executive and legislative branches to act in ways inimical to basic constitutional principles, it is the duty of the judiciary to intervene," wrote Judge Birch, who has a reputation as consistently conservative. "If sacrifices to the independence of the judiciary are permitted today, precedent is established for the constitutional transgressions of tomorrow."

Read the Times's coverage by Abby Goodnough and William Yardley

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