While kicking through the internets, I often notice that I end up wanting to swear off reading certain sites due to their heavily right-wing bias. As anyone who has read my archives knows, I’m pretty fiercely liberal in most cases, but I am also very conservative in others. So when I found myself feeling this bias today, I tried to stop and figure out why I was feeling this way.
Here’s the link from retrophisch. Since it’s short I’ll quote the whole thing here:
Our Divine Tribunal Joseph Sobran: The Divine Tribunal — excuse me, I mean the Supreme Court of the United States, as it’s officially known — has decided, by a 5-to-4 vote, that executing criminals under the age of 18 is unconstitutional. Where, you may ask, does the U.S. Constitution say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But the Tribunal doesn’t decide what’s constitutional by consulting the Constitution. That would cramp itsstyle. […] Conservatives often accuse liberal justices of “legislating from the bench.” The charge is too kind. The problem isn’t that they legislate; it’s that they lie.
He’s quoting first from Joseph Sobran, and then adding the line about lying.
Despite immediate feelings about Tom Delay and the republican parties efforts to destroy the only set of checks and balances that currently prevent the unilateral decisions of the combined republican president and congress, I’ve always had issues with how child criminals are dealt with.
As a society, we all bear some responsibility in creating criminals. While there is some remaining nature vs. nurture debates out the on criminal behavior, crime is largely dictated by poverty. So while we have our government waging a moralistic war on pornography on behalf of the christian right, there hasn’t been a War on Poverty since 1968, led by a democrat.
Conservatives and liberals alike are more than willing to drape their favorite causes under the cover of the constitution, and are more than happy to cry foul when the other side does it. And I find it ironic that someone would make snippy asides like calling the Supreme Court “Our Divine Tribunal” when we have a commander in chief who claims God himself told him he would be president and believes God talks to him.
Cruel and Unusual punishment is a vague term, dictated largely by what society is willing to stomach. Part of this consideration is the silent admission, which many of us, conservative or no, are unwilling to make. That admission is this: Our society makes some children into un-reformable killers. We don’t want to believe that kids can commit heinous crimes and be completely conscious what they are doing and it’s repercussions and consequences.
If we were really concerned about juvenile crime, we would start hitting hard on reducing poverty and would do more to prevent abusive households from keeping their children.
Ultimately in the case of retrophisch, I would like to see his argument a little more fleshed out, as it would probably trip my “right wing shill” meter a lot less. If you’re saying the supreme court is lying, give us some details. Constitutional Law is a pretty hairy subject, and supreme court justices, like their political motivations or not, are generally there for a reason. They undergo a great deal more scrutiny to get their jobs than the president does.