Getting a Liberal on the Supreme Court

Justice William O. Douglas

“Why do the conservatives always get the conservatives, but we don’t get to get the liberals? What the hell is that all about?” — Tom Harkin (D – Iowa)

Damned good question, Tommy boy! Why indeed? Who was the last real Liberal on the Supreme Court anyway? You really have to go all the way back to William O. Douglas in 1975. By the way, Hark Man, you were my choice for nominee in 1992. To posterity’s eternal regret, you were out-bubbah’d by smooth talkin’ Slick Willie Clinton. We all would be much better off today had President Harkin (an honest to goodness Liberal) been minding the store between the years 1993 and 2001, that’s for damned sure!

Fasten your seat belts and brace yourselves for the latest poop storm that is about to fall on Washington DC, folks. With the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens imminent, President Barack Obama is about to get his second appointee to the United States Supreme Court in a less than a year. And like last year’s Sonia Sotomayor confirmation travesty, you can expect the Republicans (and even some Democrats) to have a positive hissy fit. These people have moved so far to the extreme right in recent years, the wishiest washiest moderate is going to be perceived as too much of a radical, left wing ideologue for these nincompoops. That being said, I think the president should make a bold decision. The Roberts Court contains plenty of far-right Conservatives (five of them). It’s high time we have a Liberal in there – someone who leans decidedly (although not extremely) to the left.

Dag nap it! We need someone in there with the judicial chops of William O. Douglas! Is that asking too much? Douglas was appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 and sat on the bench until 1975 when a debilitating stroke forced him into retirement. He died on January 19, 1980. Interestingly, the man who would eventually replace him was Justice Stevens! For thirty-six years, Douglas was, in almost every instance, on the side of the people (Almost – nobody’s perfect). He was such a thorn in the side of the political fringe in this country, the GOP twice tried to impeach him. One of those attempts was led by Congressman and future president Gerald R. Ford. Why can’t we have someone like Douglas sitting on that bench once again? It’s been too long. We need a fightin’ Liberal on the Supreme Court.

No matter what the president does, he’s going to catch hell from these silly bastards and bitches. Why not go full steam? Why not a little daring do? We’re seven months from Election Day. By then, whomever is appointed won’t be much of an issue. By then it is almost certain that the American people will come to realize that having one true Progressive voice on the Supreme Court will not cause the sun to fall from the sky or huge cracks to appear in the earth’s surface.

There is nothing foretold in the Book of Revelations that a Liberal or two (or five) on the highest court in the land is the wicked force that is likely to bring on Armageddon. Sure, the usual suspects will freak out. Sarah Palin will accuse the new Justice of “paling around” with the Weather Underground; John Beohner will break down and weep tears of rage and despair on the floor of the House; Glenn Beck will almost surely come up with manufactured evidence of his or her ties to Fidel Castro, Abbie Hoffman, and the North American Man/Boy Love Association – but by November it won’t amount to a hill of garbanzo beans.

Not quite three months ago, in a five-to-four decision that is sure to have a seriously negative effect on democracy, the United States Supreme Court ruled that corporations, in effect, had all the legal rights as you and I; that they could pervert the electoral process with unlimited amounts of cash. Come to think about it, I take back what I said before. What we need is a FIRE-BREATHING, LEFT WING EXTREMIST as a counterweight to the plutocratic lackeys who now sit on that court. You know who they are:

  • John Roberts
  • Anthony Kennedy
  • Antonin Scalia
  • Samuel Alito
  • Clarence “Yes, Massah” Thomas

All of them appointees of either Reagan or the two Bushes. The damage those three presidents did to this republic thanks to those horrible appointments will be felt for generations. The Republicans are already warning their clueless masses that Obama plans on nominating a judicial activist. Just what do they think the five mentioned above are? If you don’t define giving a corporation full citizenship as “activism”, I’ve got some property on one of Saturn’s moons that I’d like to sell you. By the way (and I’m sure this never even crossed the minds of these assholes) that atrocious ruling leaves the door open for foreign corporations to influence American elections. Chew on that for a little bit. If you think the system is corrupt now – Oh, Brother! Just wait and see what it looks like in three or four years!

One of the possibilities being floated about at the moment is Hillary Clinton. For the record: I said a lot of things about Hillary Clinton during the primaries two years ago – really mean things – that I truly regret. In October of 2002, when she voted to give George W. Bush the authority to invade Iraq without congressional approval (mandated by the Constitution), she blew it as far as I was concerned. That was a political vote – and there was no excuse for it. I hope she has lost a lot of sleep in the years since as a result of that vote. That being said, Ms. Clinton is a smart woman and – at heart – a true progressive. Since 1992, her innate liberalism has taken a back seat to political expediency – for obvious reasons. But that situation would reverse itself once appointed to the court. Progressives who view Hillary with suspicion need not be worried. I think she would be an outstanding appointment – as long as she keeps Bill out of the deliberations. That could complicate things just a tad, you know what I mean?

Another possibility (and this is my idea, thank you very much) would be – not necessarily a lawyer or a judge – but a constitutional scholar! A person who has spent his or her professional life – not in a court of law – but at the National Archives and various law libraries, studying the U.S. Constitution and the ramifications (for good and ill) of various Supreme Court decisions throughout American history – like that Dred Scott case! Wasn’t that a hoot? Or how ’bout that “Corporations are People, Too” decision from January! THAT WAS A SCREAM!

Barack Obama is going to be attacked no matter whom he puts forward as a nominee. Putting up a real fight against the forces of darkness and stupidity will surely impress enough of his fellow countrymen and woman to make a difference on Election Day next. This could be a political gold for him if he goes about mining it correctly. He should choose someone he knows will stand by the American people; someone who will fight the good fight in the name of traditional liberalism, baby! We haven’t had a justice like that on the Supreme Court in a very, very long time. In fact we’re decades overdue. C’mon, Mr. President! Let’s rumble!

Tom Degan

Tom Degan is a 51-year-old video artist who in 2006 became so thoroughly disgusted at the state of America’s national political dialogue, he decided to take time off to become a freaking civics teacher.


Go East, Young Man, By William O. Douglas

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