Thursday, May 10, 2007

judicial activism in missouri

just when we thought attorney general alberto gonzales had "weathered the storm" surrounding the apparent politically-motivated dismissal of eight federal prosecutors last december, a ninth has been added to the list: todd graves of missouri. (congressional sources are telling mcclatchy newspapers of three more.)

in november 2005, the department of justice's civil rights division wanted graves to proceed with a lawsuit against the state of missouri for failing to purge it's voting records of ineligible voters; graves refused, claiming insufficient grounds for the suit. DOJ went ahead with the suit anyway, thanks to acting civil rights divsion chief bradley schlozman. a few months later, in january 2006 graves' name (unbeknownst to graves himself) was added to the lists of federal attorneys to be "replaced," and graves was told by a senior DOJ offical to start looking for a new job. graves resigned in march 2006, and, under the special powers to gonzales to make interim appointments given him by the patriot, was replaced by none other than bradley schlozman.

before reviewing scholzman's track record before and after his interim special appointment by gonzales, we should pause for a moment to recognize and name this activity for what it is: judicial activism of the most pernicious kind. conservatives learned a bitter but very valuable lesson through the 1950s and 1960s: you know the right-wing rallying cry that chief justice earl warren ought to be imeached for his landmark 1954 desegregation decision? they have cried "judicial activism" ever since but have also learned well from the liberal example of using the courts to achieve an objective. (and again, this is all contrary to true conservative beliefs is limited government and local control.)

only in the case of civil rights, there were real injustices being done that needed to be corrected. in schlozman's dossier their is only a trail of elcection law manipulations to achieve bogus political aims; schlozman:
  • helped get approval for tom delay's redistricting program in texas,
  • allowed a controversial voter ID law in goergia to go forward despite objections from career prosecutors in his office that the legislation probably violated voter rights (the legislation was evenutally repealed),
  • pushed the lawsuit against missouri for failing to update its voting records against the advice of todd graves whom he subsequently replaced (the lawsuit was eventually thrown out as baseless),
  • broke with long-standing DOJ policy and rushed (legitmate but trumped-up) voter fraud indictments just days before the crucial mccaskill-talent seatorial race in the november 2006 elections
will be very curious to see how mr schlozman's testimony before the senate judiciary committee on may 15 proceeds...

UPDATE 5/11 2:45pm
warren olney's to the point from tuesday hosts the boston globe's charlie savage among others providing excellent background on this...

UPDATE 5/12 2:45pm
josh marshall reports that schlozman won't be appearing before the senate judiciary committee anytime soon: seems he had already planned a vacation...

1 comment:

Ryan W. said...

hey, your national priorities link has gone bad. there was just a thing on jim leher about the cost of the iraq war. a reasonable case was made for a $2 trillion figure.