As you all know, when our founding fathers laid down the foundation of our country, they based it on three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. The responsibilities of each was carefully defined to create checks and balances of one branch on each of the others. They also established the first secular state of its time to separate/protect their new ship of state from any particular religion.
As you have watched the recent events surrounding the President’s nominations to the Supreme Court and the changes to the makeup of our judiciary branch, have you sensed that the process has a new element to it? Does it seem that interest groups have much more to say about the nominees than the U.S. Senate?
According to a Report for Congress by the Congressional Research Service, which was last updated on March 21, 2005, “Of the 154 nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court between 1789 and 2004, 34 were not confirmed by the Senate.” Five of the 34 were renominated later and eventually confirmed. For the 29 individuals that were never confirmed there was “a variety of reasons, including Senate opposition to the nominating President, nominee’s views, or incumbent Court; senatorial courtesy; perceived political unreliability of the nominee; perceived lack of ability; interest group opposition; and fear of altering the balance of the Court.” This report does not include the recent withdrawal of Harriet Miers, but is does include hints to a change.
The repot states, “Observers of the Supreme Court confirmation process have suggested that interest group opposition has not only grown, but has also been effective in preventing confirmations. The impact of interest group opposition relative to other factors is a matter of continuing study.” This statement referenced a footnote to a 1998 paper in The American Journal of Political Science, vol. 42, April 1998, by Jack Wright , called “Lobbying for Justice: Organized Interests, Supreme Court Nominations, and the United States Senate.” (Unfortunately, this document is not generally available to the public. I have contacted the author and am waiting for a reply.)
Again, I ask. Does it seem that interest groups have much more to say about the nominees than the U.S. Senate?
In Why Miers Withdrew as Supreme Court Nominee, NPR reports, “Such opposition from within the conservative movement was all but unheard of before Miers was nominated.” In this same story, former nominee to the Supreme Court, Robert Bork, was reported to say, “With a single stroke — the nomination of Harriet Miers — the president has damaged the prospects for reform of a left-leaning and imperialistic Supreme Court, taken the heart out of a rising generation of constitutional scholars, and widened the fissures within the conservative movement.”
So, are outside influences growing? Are steps being taken by the The Fourth Branch that could result in major changes to our ship of state that our founding fathers carefully crafted? Remember, back then theocracies were an external threat to the nation and the norm for imperialistic nations. Now what was an external threat has become a threat from within. A threat our forefathers were trying to escape.
This threat is a lobby of self appointed ‘representatives’, referred to elsewhere as the American Taliban. It is growing and contributing to the reduction of the separation of church and state, in not just one but two ways – a very conservative Supreme Court and a restructured government where they are The Fourth Branch?