BP and CEOs Fight the Laws

Kendrick Meek; Blast BP and Corporate Irresponsibility

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Whispers whirled around the White House, on The Hill, within the Department of Justice, and finally filtered down to the streets.  In truth, talk could be heard on the avenues, where average Americans roam, long before declarations came from above.   Should BP CEO Tony Hayward Go to Prison?  The public wonders.  What would the Obama Administration do.  Countless clamored; with full knowledge that President Bush’s DOJ Killed a Criminal Probe Into BP.  It was believed that the potential indictments threatened the most senior officials.  More recently, words of warrants have become a distinct possibility.  Criminal charges are being considered against BP in regards to the Gulf oil rig tragedy.

Currently, the possibility or probability of legal action is plausible.  After all, the Gulf region was not the only shore or sea affected.  A planet, inclusive of people, were placed in further peril, the repercussions cannot be calculated.  Someone or ones must take responsibility, or be taken to task.   BP certainly has shown a desire to shift the blame.  However, a frustrated electorate may not be so anxious to forgive and forget.  For the common folk ,BP and other corporations are responsible for what occurred.  Constituents applaud the idea floated months ago; BP Execs Could Face Potential Jail Time.  These people have a friend in Congressman Kendrick Meek; they always did.  

Senatorial candidate  Congressman Kendrick Meek heard the indictments. He saw the future, and decided long before most Americans did; the behavior of BP and other corporate Executives is unforgivable.  The question is, laws of the land or laws of nature?  Might citizenry or corporations lose or rule.  The test case could be before us.  The defendants are BP, Transocean Limited, and Halliburton, or their Chief Executives.  The plaintiffs; the American people.  

Today, many more than Mister Meek or a scant number of citizens immediately affected by the crisis have begun to wrestle with the arguments and past and present applications.  “Principles” adopted by Corporate Executives, heads of companies such as BP, Transocean Limited, and Halliburton are a concern that might affect all of us for years.  Local persons in the Gulf region  have chosen to take action.  A judge, with over 400 Gulf disaster court cases on his roster explained.  BP and other companies will face “thousands” of lawsuits as a result of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion.  In April, no one in the area imagined how his or her life would be threatened by the derrick that had been the source of [economic] survival.  That is, most did not fully comprehend what Florida Congressman Meek did.

As a profound predictor of the future, or as a Senatorial candidate with a vision and a mission, he spoke of the doom and dire consequences he believed would, or should follow.  Mister Meek mused.  With anticipation, he addressed what he thought needed be spoken about months before today’s events.  It was June.  United States Congressman, Kendrick Meek stood before an audience at America’s Future Now! 2010 conference.   Kendrick Meek spoke of justice.

I was there for the pronouncement.  I recall the day and the proclamation.  Florida Senate hopeful Kendrick Meek called for corporate integrity.  All those months earlier, he understood that irresponsibility could not be repeatedly rewarded, if it is rewarded at all.  Decisive disciplinary actions for those tycoons and companies that aggress against the planet and us must be taken.  Unscrupulous moneyed moguls, who wrongfully attack the people, must meet their reward.  Mister Meek said, then, in early summer, BP should pay the price for the folly they reaped.  Even then, he understood; if a company rapes Mother Earth, robs the people, plants, indeed, all that is our Earthly sphere, jail time must be served.  All who break the laws of nature and the people, must suffer the consequences.  Microbes, mammals, and much more will!

Might we heed what was a warning, or will we harvest the seeds sown.  We must choose.  Hopefully, we will remember before it is too late, Newton’s Third Law of Motion.  “For every action there is an equal and opposing reaction.”

References and realities . . .

Teacher’s Free Speech Case Denied; We May Not Know Why

I read the headline; Teacher’s Free Speech Case Denied and then perused on.  After my probe, I can offer no authentic assessment.  I, as do we all, only have my impressions, biased as they may be. 

As I read the title of this article, I was appalled.  Might First amendment Rights be threatened beyond what I imagined.  I recognize much has changed since September 11, 2001.  As the Twin Towers fell so did our right to Privacy.  The Patriot Act has defined each of us as potential or possible terrorist.  Telephones are legally tapped without warrants and people are herded through airports, scanned as they go. 

In the name of Protection, the President has invoked Executive Privilege and Americans have lost theirs.  We remove shoes and stroll barefoot through metal detectors.  Liquids are confiscated, and do not dare say the word bomb, be it in an airport, a library, or a school.  Even mention of the war might cause chaos.

However, as I read on, my mind was filled with memories.  Teachers, Preachers, Accountants, and Property Assessors, all demonstrate questionable performance in their chosen profession.  Managers and subordinates alike can be cruel, calculating, conniving, and competent.  An individual worker can be wondrous as a person and less than profound in their career.

Perchance, the Monroe County, Indiana School District had numerous concerns in regards to Deborah A. Mayer and her performance.  Possibly, her discussion of the Iraq War did not prompt her dismissal.  There seems to be much to consider.  The Supreme Court chose not to hear the case; therefore, we might never know what the District, the parents, the Principal and all others involved might have said or done. 

Actually, even when information is shared, we must be sensitive to interpretations.  Our own history shades our truth.  Nevertheless, Teacher’s Free Speech Case Denied.

For details, please see the submission below.  The details are scant.  Still, the subject stimulates much thought and perchance discussion.

Teacher’s Free Speech Case Denied
By Mark Walsh
October 5, 2007

The U.S. Supreme Court declined last week to hear the appeal of a former Indiana teacher who alleged that she lost her job because she had discussed the Iraq war in her classroom.

The appeal was one of hundreds turned down by the justices on Oct. 1, the first day of their new term.

The case was notable because it led to a fairly broad ruling by a federal appeals court that teachers have virtually no First Amendment protection for statements made in the classroom, even on a topic of such public importance as the war.

Deborah A. Mayer was a first-year teacher in the 11,000-student Monroe County, Ind., school district in January 2003 when she used an edition of TIME for Kids in a current-events discussion about the then-impending war.

According to court papers, the magazine reported on a peace march in Washington to protest the prospect of a U.S. invasion of Iraq.  Ms. Mayer was asked by a student in her multiage classroom of 3rd through 6th graders if she would ever participate in such a peace demonstration.  She told them that when she had driven by recent peace marches in Bloomington, Ind., related to the Iraq situation, she had honked her horn in response to a sign that said, “Honk for Peace.”

“And then I went on to say that I thought it was important for people to seek out peaceful solutions to problems before going to war, and that we train kids to be mediators on the playground so that they can seek out peaceful solutions to their own problems,” Ms. Mayer said in a deposition in the case.

I understand and have no problems with this posture.  As an educator, I often shared my personal views, each time with a qualifier, “I am extremely biased.  My opinion is my own.”  I invite students to share their beliefs and impressions.  Indeed, some of the best and broadest conversations, instructive experiences were the result of calmly discussions.  Our differences helped pupil and professor to learn and grow. 

I often muse, if I know only what is within the limits of my own mind, I understand nothing at all.  As a mentor, I appreciate  . . .

“To teach is to learn twice.
  ~ Joseph Joubert [French Critic]

Some parents complained to the principal about the brief discussion, and the principal barred Ms. Mayer from discussing “peace” in her classroom, according to court papers.  The principal also canceled the school’s traditional “peace month.”

“We absolutely do not, as a school, promote any particular view on foreign policy related to the situation with Iraq,” Principal Victoria Rogers said in a memo to school personnel at the time.  “That is not our business.”

Parents question and that is good.  This can be expected and is as it must be.  Parents have concerns and must express these.  Moms and Dads are the primary instructors.  Nonetheless, I believe to bar talk of peace is far more serious than a violation of Free Speech.  If we as a nation to not  consider and verbally exchange our thoughts than we are ignorant by our own accord.  Do not discuss peace at a time of war, for me, promotes the combat.

Every individual says they long for domestic tranquility; our constitution affirms and avows this commitment; yet, if we act aggressively to quell all possibility of peace then what might we truly advocate.

The school district decided in April 2003 not to renew Ms. Mayer’s contract for the next school year.  The teacher alleged that it was because of her comments on Iraq, and she sued the district on First Amendment and related grounds.

On the surface, this dismissal seems reprehensible, without reason.  Indeed, it appears the Right to Free Speech was denied.  However, as I read on, I realized there was more to consider.  How might the teacher communicated in the classroom.  What might she have said separate from her sentiments as they pertain to war and peace.

A Captive Audience
A U.S. District Court judge in Indianapolis granted summary judgment last year to the school district.  In a Jan. 24 ruling, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago, ruled unanimously for the district as well.

“The First Amendment does not entitle primary and secondary teachers, when conducting the education of captive audiences, to cover topics, or advocate viewpoints, that depart from the curriculum adopted by the school system,” the appeals court said. . . .

While an observer may surmise, students, seated quietly in a classroom, are a “captive audience,” in my experience, this cannot be true.  Even a teacher that commands her class to be still cannot close a mind.  A pupil, fearful of punishment may not orally challenge a teacher; however, in his or her mind, he or she argues when they disagree.

An academic in a room with an instructor open to dialogue, will share aloud each and every thought.  I actually invite and welcome disparate comments.  I think it is best for young minds to understand that my opinion is mine alone and need not be theirs.  Apparently, the Justices acknowledged such a possibility.

The justices had expressed some interest in the case.  When the school district initially declined to file an answer to the teacher’s appeal, the high court requested a response.  The district’s brief may have convinced the justices that the case would not be suitable for deciding the teacher-speech question.

According to the Monroe County district, some parents had complained about Ms. Mayer’s “demeanor, conduct towards students, and professional competency” even before the discussion of Iraq.  During the second semester, the principal had placed Ms. Mayer on an improvement plan, but the teacher’s “job performance progressively deteriorated,” the district said in its court papers.

“Ms. Mayer’s speech was not the motivating factor for the nonrenewal of her teaching contract,” the district said.

The justices declined without comment to hear the teacher’s appeal in Mayer v. Monroe County Community School Corp. (Case No. 06-1657).

Perchance there was much to consider, most of which remains hidden.  The casual comment cannot be made with certainty.  Circumstances are complex, as are the individuals involved.  I suspect there are numerous problems with this case on both sides.

For the District to forego “Peace Month” activities.  To forfeit all discussions of foreign policy, particularly as these relate to global harmony, this is a frightening paradox.  If there were grounds for dismissal separate from the classroom comment, why were these not highlighted consistently so as to leave no question.

I cannot answer any of these concerns.  I know too little.  With thanks to the Courts refusal to hear the case, I, we have access to less information.

I invite you to feel free to share your thoughts.  If you are an educator, might you empathize with the instructor or the implication.  As an employer, what might you surmise.  Parent, please ponder, and share your experience.  May we each contemplate, cogitate, and conclude.  Without sufficient evidence to the contrary, we must accept that our opinions are merely moot.

References . . .

  • Teacher’s Free Speech Case Denied, By Mark Walsh.  Teacher Magazine. October 5, 2007
  • pdf Teacher’s Free Speech Case Denied, By Mark Walsh.  Education Week. October 11, 2007
  • Time For Kids. Spring 2003.
  • Mr. Right. Rehnquist, A Racist on Drugs? ©

    Belated Prologue . . .
    I realize in retrospect I ranted and raged in haste.  I was less reflective than I might have been.  I did not consider how my words might be received.  Thus, I neglected to state a significant point.  Accepted political postures now supplant dictionary definitions.  Back in the day, a conservative was one that conserved.  They did not waste money or energy; nor did they treat life with little care.  Natural resources were of great values to conservatives.  Conservatives retained worthy traditions.  Conservatives were cautious. 

    Currently, when we speak of conservatism, we equate the term with theories such as “trickle down economics.”  We think of those that allow for trillions of dollars in debt.  Conservatives believe fighting terrorism in a protracted war that cost billions of dollars each week is best.  It is conservatives that flippantly send our troops to battle; thus, endangering their lives.  William H. Rehnquist was considered Chief among conservatives.

    The story . . . This treatise may be more of a personal rant.  I typically present, or attempt to offer facts, figures, and a hint of my own individual reflection.  However, in this moment I am just shocked, stunned, and perhaps aghast.  I was late to the news of the day.  I listened as I prepared my dinner.  I heard the teaser, ‘Former Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist had a serious drug problem.’  I feel a personal connection with the Justice since I learned of our shared history.  I do not necessarily admire the man.  Still, upon hearing this news, I [mistakenly] gave the former Chief Justice the benefit of the doubt.

    I thought to myself, ‘Rehnquist must have been on drugs when he selected the Bush.’  His self-induced stupor explains his decision.  How could anyone in their right” mind anoint George W. Bush, President of the United States.  Other stories aired before the substance of the report was revealed.  I continued to ponder the possibilities.  With no information, I concluded Rehnquist must have acquired the addiction late in life, perhaps, during his bout with thyroid cancer.  That illness affected him years before his passing.  His health was poor.  Perchance the pain was too great, particularly considering his age.

    Nevertheless, though I had concluded in my own mind what must have been, I decided I needed to know immediately, when did the addiction occur.  How serious was it?  I quickly ran to the computer and read.  I discovered my initial impression was Wrong!

    Rehnquist Drug Dependency Detailed
    January 4, 2007 Filed at 5:48 p.m. ET

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A physician at the U.S. Capitol prescribed a powerful sleep aid for William Rehnquist for nearly a decade while he was an associate justice of the Supreme Court, according to newly released FBI records.

    The records present a picture of a justice with chronic back pain who for many months took three times the recommended dosage of the drug Placidyl and then went into withdrawal in 1981 when he abruptly stopped taking it.

    Rehnquist checked himself into George Washington University Hospital, where he tried to escape in his pajamas and imagined that the CIA was plotting against him, the records indicate.

    Although Rehnquist’s drug dependency was publicly known around the time he was hospitalized in 1981, the release of the FBI records provides new details.

    The justice was weaned off Placidyl in early 1982 in a detoxification process that took a month, according to the records.  The hospital doctor who treated Rehnquist said the Capitol Hill physician who prescribed Placidyl for Rehnquist was practicing bad medicine, bordering on malpractice.  Both doctors’ names were deleted from the documents before they were released.

    The FBI documents were prepared in 1986 when Rehnquist — who began serving on the court on Jan. 7, 1972 — was nominated for chief justice, years after his problems with the drug had ended.

    A psychiatrist told the FBI that Rehnquist’s family in 1981 noted ”long-standing slurred speech which seems to coincide with administration of Placidyl,” one FBI interview report stated.  The psychiatrist also indicated that Rehnquist’s chronic back pain led to his heavy use of such substances as Darvon and Tylenol 3, which the psychiatrist said also played a part in Rehnquist’s condition.

    An attending physician at the U.S. Capitol detailed Rehnquist’s problems with Placidyl for the FBI, saying that prior to his seeing the justice in 1972, Rehnquist was prescribed the drug by another doctor for relief from insomnia.  The attending physician told the FBI he continued to prescribe Placidyl for the entire 10-year period that he treated Rehnquist.

    The physician said that Rehnquist had been prescribed 500 milligrams of Placidyl per evening, but that Rehnquist was actually taking 1,500 milligrams each night.  The doctor said this increased consumption may have coincided with Mrs. Rehnquist’s illness and treatment for cancer.

    Rehnquist had told the physician that he was taking one pill before going to bed and he would take other pills if he awakened during the night.

    The physician indicated that he decided to discontinue the drug’s use and to try another medication.  Rehnquist said the new medication was not strong enough, an FBI interview report stated.  The physician said he then prescribed a substitute and then another, at which point Rehnquist went into the hospital.

    The hospital doctor who successfully weaned Rehnquist from the drug told the FBI that the toxicity of Placidyl causes blurred vision, slurred speech, and difficulty in making physical movements.  Once a patient stops taking the drug, the withdrawal symptoms of delirium begin, which is what happened to Rehnquist at the hospital.

    The doctor who helped Rehnquist get off the drug said the justice’s wife was highly upset and felt that the prescribing physician and the pharmacist who filled the prescription were probably intimidated by such high-ranking officials as Supreme Court justices and senators and probably would have agreed to almost any request.

    Dumbfounded, I wanted to know more.  I searched further.  I found

    Though his name was blacked out, Dr. Freeman Cary, then the attending physician of the Capitol — whose services are also available to Supreme Court justices — told agents that he began prescribing Placidyl to Rehnquist in 1972 for insomnia and continued to do so until the 1981 episode.  For six or seven months before Rehnquist’s hospitalization in 1981, Cary indicated, Rehnquist was re-filling three-month prescriptions for Placidyl every month — suggesting he was taking close to 1,500 milligrams daily instead of 500.

    When Rehnquist went into George Washington University Hospital in December 1981, he was seeking relief for his back but, according to some of the physicians interviewed, also knew he had a drug problem.  Rehnquist’s episode with delusions came when doctors ended his Placidyl.  Doctors then resumed his high dosage to wean him off the drug slowly, reducing gradually until he stopped taking the drug altogether in February 1982.  At that point, doctors said Rehnquist was cured of his dependence.

    By this time my head was reeling.  I returned to the kitchen and listened to Cable News Network reports as I cooked.  I discovered not only was the conservative justice doing drugs extensively long before becoming Chief Justice, he was acting out his racist views, though he denied this!  Perchance there is more to be exposed; however, for decades administrations have actively worked to conceal the truth about Judge William Rehnquist.

    The FBI on Wednesday released 1,561 pages of documents on Rehnquist to news organizations and scholars in response to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act following Rehnquist’s death in September 2005  An additional 207 pages were withheld under the federal disclosure law, and the FBI said an entire section of his file could not be found.

    Much of the FBI’s file on Rehnquist appears to have been compiled almost exclusively for his two Senate confirmations — his initial nomination to the court by President Nixon in 1971 and his nomination as chief justice by President Reagan in 1986.  Administration officials apparently hoped to prevent any surprises from sinking his nominations.

    In 1971, Deputy Attorney General Richard Kleindienst directed the FBI to conduct investigations of witnesses who were planning to testify at a Senate hearing against Rehnquist’s confirmation.

    Fifteen years later, during the Reagan administration, the FBI was enlisted to conduct background checks on witnesses who were scheduled to testify against Rehnquist’s nomination to become chief justice.

    The late Sen. Strom Thurmond, a South Carolina Republican, was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 when Rehnquist was nominated to be chief justice.  John Bolton, who resigned in December as President Bush’s U.N. ambassador, was an assistant attorney general under Reagan.

    “Thurmond just gave these names to Bolton they will testify for the Democrats and we want to know what they are going to say,” a Justice Department official told a counterpart at the FBI, according to a memo in Rehnquist’s file.

    Alexander Charns, a Durham, North Carolina, lawyer who received the file and has extensively researched the FBI’s relationship with the court, said the new disclosures show the Nixon and Reagan administrations went to some lengths to discredit Rehnquist opponents.

    The file also indicates the two administrations enlisted the FBI’s help in blunting criticism of him during confirmation hearings.

    “In many ways, I guess it’s the same old story of the political use of the FBI,” Charns said.

    The documents show that the FBI was aware in 1971 that Rehnquist had owned a home in Phoenix with a deed that allowed him to sell only to whites.  The restrictive covenant was not disclosed until his 1986 confirmation hearings, at which Rehnquist said he became aware of the clause only days earlier.

    Oh, please!  A learned scholar, an expert in law only learned of the clause days before his hearing.

    I must admit my fascination with Chief Justice Rehnquist goes beyond the fray.  The fact that he selected George W. Bush for President without cause is reason enough for pause; however, my interest in the man is much more is personal.

    Many years ago, I was teaching a political science class.  We were reading a biography of the Chief Justice and I noticed he was born and raised in Milwaukee Wisconsin.  Although  the city is not my place of birth, it is the city I consider my hometown.  I may have physically left Wisconsin long ago; still, my heart remains there.

    After reading this factoid, I merrily went off to the library.  I was curious.  Did Rehnquist reside in my neighborhood?  He did!  I lived in a very small village outside of Milwaukee.  Apparently, so did William Rehnquist.  I surmised he likely went to Marquette High School, an exclusive institution.  Much to my surprise, the chief Justice is a graduate of my same small school!  We are fellow alums!

    My political philosophies are considered extremely liberal; his were radically “right.”  I marvel at the dichotomy one system can produce.  My high school graduated many notables and it seems politically they cover the spectrum.  This is likely true of many educational facilities.  This detail is not extraordinary.

    What I do find remarkable is that though I am a liberal, my lifestyle has always been exceedingly “conservative” perhaps more so than those claiming to be cautious.  I never did drugs, not in my youth or as an adult.  I, as Chief Justice Rehnquist suffered a back injury.  Prescription drugs were offered.  I shied away from these.  I was always concerned; a possible addiction was in the forefront of my mind.  The idea of taking three times the dosage as Rehnquist did was and remains unthinkable to me.  Were I to somehow find myself in that circumstance, I would seek help, not hide the truth.

    Once I regained my sense and given up the addiction I would speak of it openly in hopes of helping others.  I have done this repeatedly.  I discuss my earlier food affliction often.  Fortunately, actually, purposely, in choosing my dependence, I consciously considered the fact that food would not distort my thinking.  Inhaling meals did not impair my speech or other mannerisms.  My ability to judge remained intact.  Interestingly, even as I binged and purged, I thought about what I was doing.  Constantly, I reflected on how could I stop.  I am told and read that drugs and alcohol allow an individual to escape reality; food does not offer that same opportunity.

    I have had physical pain, and I did not wish to feel it.  I had kidney stones, many.  The ache of that was excruciating.  I did take a few Vicodin, though I never developed a dependency.  I always worked to take as few pills as possible.  Rarely have I emptied a bottle.  Typically, I trash prescription drugs. 

    When seriously injured I will fill a doctor’s recommendation, take medication for days, then purposely stop!  I save the tablets for years, just in case.  Then, ultimately, I clean out my “stash.”

    I am so sensitive to the distorted view drugs provide, I avoid them like a plaque!  At my current ripe old age, I have yet to imbibe an alcoholic beverage.  Living in a town once known for its beer, this may be unusual.

    When I reflect on the possible purported racism exhibited by William Rehnquist, I once again draw a parallel.  While in middle school I marched in my first protest march.  The issue was civil rights.  Was the Chief Justice among the marchers?  Catholic priest Father Groppi, a well-known activist organized citizens in our local community.  Years later, while living in California, Father Groppi passed.  The man was apparently nationally prominent.  Even in southern California, there were reports of Groppi’s death.

    Milwaukee was not a backward city.  It was bustling, perhaps more so years ago when a younger William was there, than it is now.  Relatively speaking, years ago, Milwaukee was considered a larger city.

    A tale heard years ago leads me to believe it is still a city of activists or at least the Village of Shorewood is.  I returned for a high school reunion.  Attendees were given the option to tour the campus.  I took it.  My favorite Social Science instructor led the group.  The teacher mentioned that the high school initiated a program that honors famous graduates. 

    William Rehnquist was scheduled to arrive the week of September 11, 2001.  For obvious reasons, the event was rescheduled.  He appeared months later, and was greeted by a throng of protesters.  Much of the student body turned out.  Oh, if I had known, I would have been there with bells on.

    I wonder; if the nation had known the Rehnquist record during the senate hearings, would we have witnessed more demonstrations?

    I speculate.  What is yet to be revealed?  Hundreds of pages were held back?  Alexander Charns, the recipient of the FRI file wonders as well.

    Charns said some of the censored documents provide intriguing hints of what else Rehnquist’s file might contain.

    In one previously secret memo from 1971, an FBI official wrote, “No persons interviewed during our current or 1969 investigation furnished information bearing adversely on Rehnquist’s morals or professional integrity; however …” The next third of the page is blacked out, under the disclosure law’s exception for matters of national security.

    “It would be nice to know what is still classified, three decades later,” Charns said.

    I cannot begin to imagine.  However, if my experience earlier this evening is a predictor, I trust that the revelation would be worse than I thought possible. 

    They say liberals are loose and act with little forethought.  Perchance, an accurate judgment cannot be made based political party affiliations.  What people do speaks volumes?

    Hmmm, might we ponder the practices of other conservatives, Bill Bennett and Rush Limbaugh.  Wow!

    Rehnquist realized . . .

  • Rehnquist Drug Dependency Detailed.  By The Associated Press.  New York Times.  January 4, 2007
  • Rehnquist Drug Dependency Detailed.  By The Associated Press.  New York Times.  January 4, 2007
  • Milestones.  Time Magazine. Monday, November 8, 2004
  • Rehnquist FBI File Sheds New Light on Drug Dependence, Confirmation Battles.  By Tony Mauro.
      Legal Times. January 4, 2007
  • FBI: Rehnquist withdrew from painkillers.  Cable Network News.  January 4, 2007
  • Rehnquist Drug Dependency Detailed, By Pete Yost.  Associated Press. January 4, 2007
  • Chief Justice Rehnquist has died.  Cable News Network. Sunday, September 4, 2005
  • Civil Rights. Milwaukee’s Historical Timeline.
  • Bennett under fire for remarks on blacks, crime.  Cable News Network. Friday, September 30, 2005
  • Limbaugh admits addiction to pain medication.  Cable News Network. Friday, October 10, 2003

    Technorati Tags

  • Regret Reactivity to John G. Roberts Record ©

    I admittedly apologize for my own reactivity.  Earlier in the week, I began writing a missive on Judge John G. Roberts.; the topic was to be, “comparable worth.”  I was inflamed by his positions on women.  However, I was distracted; life took precedence, other issues entered my consciousness, and I delayed in completing my composition.

    My head and heart were filled with disdain for the candidate during those days and therefore; I reacted to a report in a less than thoughtful manner.  Instead of continuing my missive on Roberts and women, I wrote of Roberts, the voice of Reagan.  Upon reflection, I realize my words were more reactive than reflective.  My original mission influenced my feelings.  In retrospect, I acknowledge a need to be true; I need to write of what really concerns me and why, and I need to voice my apology for my previous posture.

    I will start with my regret and realization and then turn to what is accurate, the deplorable reality of John G. Roberts and his record.  I will write of Roberts and women, Roberts and the Bush administration, Roberts and the law, Roberts the environment, and Roberts on “us,” we the people.

    Earlier, I wrote of Roberts being the voice of Ronald Reagan, being the social director for the President, and while he was, with thanks to a dear friend, Mitchell, I realize that this was necessary. Ronald Reagan needed a voice and direction.  John G. Roberts did add a sense of respectability and decorum to the office of the actor-President, one that might have easily been lacking if Reagan was left to fend for himself.

    Ronald Reagan was a performer, first and foremost; this helped him to get elected.  Fundraising, flitting from social event to social event was the expertise of this former President.  Mr. Reagan was a celebrity, a star, and clearly not a guiding light.  His mannerisms might have been thought unpolished were they not refined by a man of John Roberts training.  Possibly, were it not for Mr. Roberts, a man of sophistication, the White House could have become “Access Holly-weird” during the Reagan years.

    For those that missed the earlier epistle . . . John G. Roberts, the Voice of Ronald Reagan ©

    Upon reflection, I am willing to be wrong and to express my regret for reacting to Roberts record as social director.  I needed to address what was truly my concern and not generalize.  However, as I read of Roberts’ doings in reference to etiquette, it became one more thing that gnawed at me.  Now, I am choosing to share some of the background in hopes that you, dear reader might understand why my disregard for the man overwhelmed me.

    Initially, I was scripting my response to a news report on Judge Roberts; the topic was “comparable worth.” I was doing research.  I was seeking further information.  The more I found the more contempt I felt. The words Roberts wrote to describe the policy rang in my ears.  The terms were “radical and pernicious.”

    In the 1980s, the idea of comparable worth was brought to Congress.  The intent was to equalize wages.  Typically, men were working in positions that paid well.  They were truck-drivers or factory workers; they often did hard labor and were rewarded well for this.  Women, on the other hand, worked in laundries; they served as hotel maids, or did office work.  These positions were thought to be less physically strenuous and therefore, did not reap the same financial rewards.

    It was also thought by many that women were meant to work in the home.  If they were out in the workforce, soon, they would “catch” a man”, marry, have babies, and ultimately, stay home.  They would care for their husband’s, raise the children, and that would be their reward.  The profession of homemaker and mother was considered a natural progression and not one that required financial attention.  People presupposed women in the workplace were merely supplementing their income; a man was taking care of their truer needs.

    However, in many incidents, this was not the case. Awareness grew as the roles of women expanded.  Women became more educated, demands on them increased. Disparity in wages became an overriding issue.  Congress thought to address this.  For it was obvious, what was once thought to be truth, was no longer.

    Many professed shrinking the wage gap would be wise.  Roberts rejected the idea; he stated the idea is “radical and pernicious.”  He went on to question the logic of those in support.  He admonished three Republican Congresswomen who spoke highly of the Bill.  Roberts “sarcastically” compared their positions to that of “Marxist rhetoric!”

    National Public Radio’s, Market Place Money offered a comment by Marsha Greenberger, co-President National Women’s Law Center.  Ms. Greenberger stated “His [Roberts] description of what the problems were that women were facing completely eliminated the whole notion of sex discrimination as having any role to play in the lower pay that women received.”

    However, Ed Whalen, of the President Conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center spoke in defense of the nominee.  Whalen said ??Roberts had no objection to workplace equality; he simply disagreed with the idea that that judges and bureaucrats should enforce it.’  Whalen continued, “There is nothing that suggests any criticism of the equal pay statute.”  Whalen said, “Indeed, [it is] precisely quite the opposite.”  According to Mr. Whalen, “He [Judge Roberts] explains why equal pay statutes makes sense and why comparable work is such a radical departure from those.”

    Yet, as I research, I have reason to differ with Mr. Whalen.  It seems from my reading that John Roberts does not think women equal or worthy of comparable wages.  This is why, when I wrote the Roberts review a day ago, I was not in a place to endorse any actions of this questionable candidate.

    It seems from my analysis John G. Roberts thinks women must know their place or at least allow the states to determine what their place is.  As a White house lawyer Roberts wrote many a memorandum stating, that the idea of comparable worth is, “highly objectionable” and probably unconstitutional. “Probably unconstitutional?”  I wonder if that is a code phrase for I personally object.

    Roberts raised objections to the proposed Equal Rights Amendment.  He proclaimed the Amendment would “override the prerogatives of the states and vest the federal judiciary with broader powers in this area.”  Again, the attorney turns to legalize and these may be valid points.  However, it is this next statement that I find most revealing.

    In a 1985 memo on an award program to honor women who changed fields, John G. Roberts said: “Some might question whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good, but I suppose that is for the judges to decide.”  Roberts later married a lawyer, Jane Sullivan Roberts, and therefore, many believe he has grown.  His earlier statements were made twenty years prior.  Yet, for me, thus far, there is no evidence of that he has changed.

    The only evidence the public has is the record revealed.

    The record shows John Roberts is skeptical when speaking of what he calls, a “so-called” right to privacy.”

    While serving as a deputy, to solicitor general Ken Starr, Roberts wrote, what is said to be a superfluous footnote in a brief.  The topic of the brief was family planning funding; the footnote was on Roe v. Wade, a separate issue, yet one Roberts felt a strong need to address.  In the writing, the jurist claimed this case was “wrongly decided and should be overturned.” When asked of the purpose for this annotation, Roberts claimed the addition was a reflection of “administration policy.”  During his appellate court confirmation hearings, the nominee claimed he is mindful; Roe is “settled law.”  However, John G. Roberts has oft-stated his enthusiasm for revisiting this issue.

    As a Supreme Court justice, Roberts could be the deciding vote in an abortion rights case.  He could have the power to overturn this decision.  When a man feels compelled to add a postscript to a brief that does not discuss abortion, I think we have reason to suspect he will be an activist judge.

    On civil rights and civil liberties, Roberts has a disarming record.

    As a member of a three-judge panel on the Washington DC federal court of appeals, Roberts was among those that granted the Bush administration full power to try suspected terrorists without basic due-process protections.  He chose to ignore the provisions of the Geneva Convention.  He denied the principle of man’s humanity to his fellow man.  Roberts preferred being a puppet to the President.  Considering the two have a long-standing relationship this concerns me.

    Repeatedly, John G. Roberts comes down on the side of law enforcement.  Roberts thought taking a twelve-year old child into custody, handcuffing her, and removing her from the subway, merely because she was eating French fries, was an “appropriate” action.

    In several cases involving car stops and searches, Roberts ruled in favor of the police.  In one incident, the judge decided the U.S. Park Police had the authority to search the trunk of a car during a routine traffic stop.  They had no cause other than their own suspicions; they believed that the vehicle was stolen.  Thankfully, the majority ruled against Judge Roberts.  The other judges decided there were not adequate grounds for this search.  However, there is reason for concern.  In this case, Roberts was over-ruled; will he be in others.

    The Fourth Amendment is often in question.  Cases of unreasonable search and seizure come before the Supreme Court regularly.  If the Court becomes more conservative, more rigid, more of an activist body, as it will be with the addition of Judge Roberts, we cannot be certain that our civil rights and liberties will be retained.

    Judge John Roberts does not recognize the rights of endangered species.  Mr. Roberts questioned whether the Endangered Species Act applied in a California dispute.  A developer wanted to destroy the habitat of rare toads.  These creatures are found only in the state of California.  Therefore, Mr. Roberts questioned whether the toads were protected.  He argued the Constitution’s commerce clause might not apply when only one state is involved.  While Roberts did not endorse striking down the species act, he questioned the validity in this case.  According to Roberts if only one state is affected, do we need to apply the law?

    Oh my.  A judge believes that we can abstain from law if it only applies to one case, one state, or one individual.  Yes, let us deny rights to man, woman, or beast, no matter what the law.  I fear if Roberts is approved, we will all become endangered species; laws be damned.  I fear that, just as he knew what was right and correct for President Reagan, he will believe he knows what is right and correct for us all, regardless of law.

    If you prefer to read periodical references directly, please read . . .

    Roberts Resisted Women’s Rights, 1982-86 Memos Detail Skepticism, By Amy Goldstein, R. Jeffrey Smith and Jo Becker,Washinton Post

    Judge Roberts’s Rules of Law and Order, By Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal

    Reagan Files Paint Court Nominee as a Watchdog By David G. Savage, Richard Simon and Henry Weinstein, of the Los Angeles Times.

    Nominee’s Memos Critical of Gender-Equality Efforts, By David G. Savage, of the Los Angeles Times.

    Files Detail Roberts’s Reagan Years, By Jess Bravin and Jeanne Cummings, of the Wall Street Journal.

    John G. Roberts Dossier Washinton Post

    Roberts’ decisions tend to favor police and president, By Gina Holland, Associated Press

    John G. Roberts, the Voice of Ronald Reagan ©

    Abc_roberts_judge_050719_tWeeks ago, it was thought, John G. Roberts Jr. did not wield much power while serving as a White House lawyer in the Reagan administration. His official title was special assistant to the attorney general, William French Smith.  Surely, all his work was done on behalf of his superiors.  He, as a subordinate had little authority.  However, since early, this week, when the Reagan Library released some 5,400 pages of Roberts wrings, we discover that the earlier notion was in error. John G. Roberts Jr. was actually quite an influential force.  Roberts served as a judge, not merely a legal advisor while working with the Reagan administration.

    Roberts adjudicated who could see President Ronald Reagan.  He decided when the President was available, where he would appear, and under what circumstances.  Roberts mission was to protect the President from his friends.  Roberts worked to ensure that the actor-President would not promote commercial ventures.  Roberts’ role was to save the President from himself.  There was an accepted fear the Commander-and-Chief word harm himself if he spoke spontaneously; who knew what his words might cause.

    There are those that say these newly released pages do not provide insight into “who” the man behind the robes might be.  However, I disagree.  I think Roberts reveals much in his directives. His writings expose his personal belief in a caste system.  Roberts writing show that he thinks it vital to designate roles; people have societal stations. He offers snobbery and arrogance.  He sees generous gestures as dubious.

    In 1983, the famous and highly favored President received a request from his longtime friend, performer Jimmy Stewart.  Stewart was often identified as “everyman.”  He chose roles that people could relate to.  It was said that James Maitland Stewart was beloved for his average guy persona.  It was said; Stewart did not put on airs.  However, where John Roberts was concerned, it may have been better if he had.

    In a written correspondence, Mr. Stewart invited his chum, Ronny Reagan to serve on the advisory board for his son’s prep school.  Reagan did not receive and respond to the request directly, it went through channels.  Roberts penned his advised response.  In a curtly worded memorandum, the attorney said, the president “should not accept Stewart’s invitation.” He stated it would be “demeaning to the [President’s] office, using it as a huckster’s ploy.”  John Roberts did not consider taking the position might be viewed as a benevolent gesture.  He only thought it suspicious.  Reagan did not accept the offer.

    On another occasion, Nancy and Ron were invited to an elegant social affair, a dinner. Affluent Republicans from Dallas were hosting the event; it would be held in conjunction with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.  Roberts advised against attendance; he thought the entire gala undignified.  The dinner, though separate, was connected in spirit, to the grand opening of a shopping mall.  Roberts, thought malls the setting for common folk; Presidents could not be seen in, or associated with shopping center owners.  That would be below him.

    In 1985, Jerry Weintraub, chief executive of United Artists entertained a notion; he was hoping to have well known actor-director Sylvester Stallone personally present fellow and former actor, Ronald Reagan with the boxing gloves and robe worn in the newly released motion picture film “Rocky IV.” Later, the gifts would be placed in the nations’ most prestigious museum, the Smithsonian Institution.

    However, Roberts thought this unwise.  Just as in earlier years, Roberts showed himself an elitist snob.  The film industry he thought to be merely a commercial venture; that this industry gave his hero a start mattered not.  In a communication addressed to his superior, White House Counsel Fred Fielding, Roberts wrote, the president should decline the offer. It “is a rather transparent publicity stunt to promote the film.”

    When, in 1984, a publicist for pop-star Michael Jackson proposed Reagan publicly thank the musician for giving concert tickets to needy youngsters, Roberts raise objections, again. “I hate to sound like one of Mr. Jackson’s records, constantly repeating the same refrain, but I recommend we do not approve this letter.”  Promoting a star in any manner was loathsome to a man such as Roberts.  That Jackson man might have done a noble act was unthinkable. Even if he had, a dignified man such as Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America need not acknowledge it.

    John G. Roberts cared not whether President Reagan thought, he might want to attend an event, sponsor a cause, or help a friend; Roberts thought himself the better judge of what was right.

    Ronald Reagan had advocated for Americans to support Nicaraguan expatriates.  A group of corporate executives did.  These entrepreneurs asked the President to speak to their group in 1985, and likely, he would have if left to his own devices.

    However, the “judge” stopped this from happening.  Roberts wrote his warning; he stated “I recommend stopping any White House involvement in this effort,” Roberts advised the president should not participate in private fundraising.  Raising capital was for the unabashed.  It was a shameless and brazen venture, certainly not worthy of a President.

    Roberts did not only express disdain for acts of public promotion; he scorned the rights of women professionally.  This topic will be addressed in a separate study.  As a prelude, please read Nominee’s Memos Critical of Gender-Equality Efforts, by David G. Savage, of the Los Angeles Times.  You might also peruse, As Reagan lawyer, Roberts disparaged efforts to combat discrimination against women, by David Esposo, of The Associated Press.

    John G. Roberts’ did not merely advise the President on his social calendar.  Roberts monitored Reagan’s speech.

    In 1984, Ronny was set to speak.  He was prepared to conclude his monologue with the words, “the greatest nation God ever created.”  Roberts rejected the phrase, not on legal grounds, instead on religious “rights.”  Legal advisor Roberts offered, these words would be “ill-advised and, particularly in the light of the focus on the religion and politics issue, a likely candidate for the ‘Reaganism of the Week.’ “Roberts reeled with authority, “According to Genesis, God creates things like the heavens and the earth, and the birds and fishes, but not nations.”

    John G. Roberts was a Reagan man; he watched his back, front, and supported his ideology.  For me, these Reagan files say much of the man, his morals, and personal beliefs.  Roberts, I think, said it all in his letter of resignation.  The jurist wrote to his hero Ronald Regan, “My years in your service will always be very special to me. The inspiration you have given me will burn brightly in my heart long after I have left the lights of the White House behind.”

    If the Senate wants to know if Judge John G. Roberts is an ideologue, after reviewing his writings during the Reagan years, they can know with certainty, he is.  His moral commitment and personal opinions are reflected loudly in these writings.  Clearly, Roberts concludes, there is a “right” way, and a wrong one.  There is a ruling class and a group of commoners; those in one must never meet or mingle with the other.  I believe Roberts is as Roberts does, and that, for me, is frightening.

    If you prefer to read periodical references directly, please read . . .

    Nominee’s Memos Critical of Gender-Equality Efforts, By David G. Savage, of the Los Angeles Times.

    Files Detail Roberts’s Reagan Years, By Jess Bravin and Jeanne Cummings, of the Wall Street Journal.

    Reagan Files Paint Court Nominee as a Watchdog By David G. Savage, Richard Simon and Henry Weinstein, of the Los Angeles Times.

    White House required prolific pen, By Michael Martinez and Vincent J. Schodolski, of The Chicago Tribune.

    You might enjoy reading more.  Brad DeLong writes on, John Roberts’s Judicial Temperament

    Double Pleasure, Fun, and Standards. John G. Roberts and Wife ©

    I recall the 1992 Presidential elections, vividly.  Beginning in 1991 with the primaries, continuing into the campaign, and later, even after the votes were counted, the press and public expressed great concern.  They stated it openly, frequently, and loudly.  There was apprehension.  The potential First Lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton was considered an activist, well educated, intelligent, and a professional woman.

    The accepted image of a First Lady differed from the public impression of Mrs. Clinton.  Former First Lady’s were thought to be demure; they appeared to sit silently by their husband’s side.  They were content be courteous.  They needed nothing more.  Many doubts were expressed about Hillary.  It was believed that she would not be well suited for the position of First Lady.  Numerous persons predicted Mrs. Clinton would serve as a second president; they were certain she would.  For years, the clamor continued.  Remember the health care commission.

    Yet today, when asked of the activist, professional life of Jane Marie Sullivan Roberts, wife of Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts, United States Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales stated strongly, inquiries into her life are off limits.  The Attorney General was interviewed on CBS’s, Face The Nation.

    • Please read this recent release, Confirmation Path May Run Through Florida.  Jeb Bush spokesman Jacob DiPietre told the Los Angeles Times, “Judge Roberts was one of several experts who came to Florida to share their ideas. The governor appreciated his willingness to serve and valued his counsel.”  The now President appreciated his service as well.

    When Gonzales was asked if it is suitable for the Senators to ask of Roberts’ wife, Gonzales deferred to Senator Ted Kennedy, [imagine that] stating the Senator said it best; the wives views and positions should not play a factor in this discussion.  Gonzales declared, the activities and attitudes of Mrs. Roberts need not be questioned.  Certainly, the nominee should not be asked about her work with the anti-abortion activist organization “Feminists for Life.”

    Journalist, Robert [Bob] Schieffer then reminded Gonzales, of his earlier statements, “You do not want to put someone before the court that has a secret or private agenda.”  Therefore, is it not fair to ask Judge Roberts his views on abortion?  Though this question was posed separately, the belief that a wife might influence her husband, in this case, the Judge Roberts was implied.  There is much speculation within the beltway, possibly, probably, the two share attitudes.  Therefore, questions pertaining to her activities might be pertinent.

    Gonzales retorted in return; “Are you asking of his personal views  . . . his moral views . . . would he overturn Roe v. Wade?”  Gonzales avowed, asking of these is not relevant to the decision or debate.  Gonzales maintains, “We expect our judges to put aside their own moral views or judgments and simply apply the law.”

    Hours earlier on Meet The Press, Tim Russert, interviewed former Senator Fred Thompson (Republican-Tennessee).  The two discussed the upcoming judicial hearings and the Senator voiced his view; asking Supreme Court nominee John Roberts of his opinions “is inappropriate.”  On the subject of Jane Sullivan Roberts, Thompson said, she is not the nominee.

    Later in the program, during a panel discussion the same topics, were broached.  Reporters deliberated on abortion and lawyer, Mrs. Jane Roberts.  Journalist William Safire, of the New York Times, offered his thoughts.  John G. Roberts will be facing a “murder board;” he will be asked the toughest questions possible.  Yet, Safire expressed, the candidate cannot [ethically] be asked of his wife’s work.

    Nina Totenberg, of National Public Radio, agreed.  “No one will speak “publicly” of John G. Roberts’ wife.” Ms. Totenberg acknowledged that they might think of the possible bond between husband and wife; however, the Senators on the Judicial Committee will be facing re-election soon; they want to get re-elected.  Asking of the nominee’s wife might hurt their chances.  Therefore, they will not travel down that road.

    Yet, everyone, everywhere acknowledges abortion is possibly the most important issue that will come before the Supreme Court.  This subject causes greater controversy than all others. In evaluating this Judge, or any Judge for the Supreme Court, Senators will want to know where he, or she, stands on this issue.

    In the past, Judge Roberts has expressed questionable and contrary views on this topic.  He publicly stated that he believes Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided.  He later relented it is established law.  It is well known that in his earlier positions, Judge Roberts did not have the power to change what was and is.  Yet, if approved, he would have this authority.  In such an esteemed position, as a Supreme Court Justice, his personal philosophy could be relevant.  His ruling could over-turn the decision.

    There is an old adage; one accepted as truth, “there is a woman behind every successful man.”  George W. Bush admits this.  He often credits his own victories to his wife.  While there are those that say, John G. Roberts is not running for President of the United States, and therefore, his appointment will not give him the authority that the President has, others argue it will.  In actuality, some say, he will be more influential.  After all, a Supreme Court Justice is given a lifetime appointment; a President can only reign for four, possibly eight years.  There are those that believe the attitudes and activities of spouse are a strong consideration.

    However, in this the eras of conservative rule double standards are the norm. Etiquette is an evolving art.  A Democrat running for President can and will be questioned of his wife; a Republican “campaigning” for a lifetime appointment cannot be asked of anything that touches a nerve.  Well, he can be asked; however, he need not answer.  Roberts need not worry.  No one will claim that his selection will bring double pleasure, double fun, only an acceptable double standard.

    Please consider John Roberts’ rule: Reach for the top, This is an assessment of the nominee by Tim Jones, Andrew Zajac and Andrew Martin, Chicago Tribune national correspondents.

    It gets worse.  Please read and reflect upon, What Is The Bush White House Trying To Hide On Roberts’ Time Working For Poppy? by Steve Soto, The Left Coaster.  This July 26, 2005, treatise is quite enlightening.

    Bush Is Not Stup**. He is Shrewd!

    copyright © 2005 Betsy L. Angert

    For years, friends, family, and familiars have said George W. Bush is “stupid.”  He was a poor student, a failure as a businessman, and he slid by throughout his life.  Without the support of the Bush-Walker dynasty, GW would be an unknown.

    While I believe much of this is true, I have long said Bush is not brainless, dim-witted, or slow; he is sly.  As of last evening, other Americans are acknowledging the same.  Many are saying, George W. Bush is “shrewd!”‘

    On Tuesday night, before a prime-time audience, King George II presented his nominee for the open Supreme Court seat.  President George W. Bush appointed Appellate Court Judge, John G. Roberts.

    Roberts’ is white, bright, and the son of a company man.  He was born of common-folk, his father the plant manager for Bethlehem Steel.  Nevertheless, the son, John G. soared.  As a young man, John was a superior student.  He was a scholar, an athlete, and a pious lad.  The judge came from humble beginnings.  Yet, he lived the American Dream; he exemplifies it.

    John G. Roberts is erudite; he is Harvard-trained.  Roberts’ is a conservative and a Republican. As a Harvard Law School graduate, John Roberts clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. While working as an attorney he served corporations. John G. Roberts argued an unprecedented 39 cases before the Supreme Court.  The Senate Judiciary committee approved Roberts for the Circuit Court of Appeals, District of Columbia, in 2003.

    Judge Roberts is a likeable, gentle man, and most importantly, the aspect of his history that is most captivating, for a cunning man such as our King, Roberts has no paper trail.  Therefore, jurist John G. Roberts is expected to sail through his upcoming Senate hearing.

    Please peruse . . .

    O’Connor Steps Down. Bush Jumps For Joy! ©

    Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor offers her resignation on this Friday, July 1, 2005.  This was not as expected, though she has spoken of the possibility for many years.  It was thought that Chief Justice William Rehnquist might tender his letter of leave, for his health is failing and has been for quite some time.  However, Rehnquist was not the news on this day.  Instead, the notable swing-vote jurist announced her departure. Now, the dance begins. The directive for this dance is “domination,” Supreme domination.

    The announcement of O’Connor’s departure is not as a Rehnquist resignation might have been.  The deliverance differs. Rehnquist leave will not prompt the rumba and rumblings that O’Connor has.  Rehnquist is a Bush backer. If Justice Rehnquist submitted his intention to depart, Bush would not be jumping for joy; the Chief Justice departure will not be a source of exuberance.  For replacing the Chief will not alter the basic structure of the current court.  Nor, will it afford Bush greater power.  O’Connor, on the other hand, holds a pivotal position.  She did not consistently side with Bush; therefore, replacing her will be a pleasure.  This possibility may provide Bush and his brigade with greater hegemony, and thus we have the hoorays and hullabaloo.

    George W. Bush and the neoconservatives have been preparing for the rhythmic rendition that the O’Connor resignation affords. They are ready to reap their “just” rewards.  The President and his alliance have gathered forces and established power.  They think that they have the necessary support and will be able to place an extremist and activist in the Supreme Court.  Another conservative in a divided Court would swing the pendulum further to the right.  It would magnify their malevolence; amplify their ability to manipulate, and this would be wonderful.

    Bush, Rove [the “Architect”], the Cabinet, ultra-conservatives, and other cronies have encroached thus far, without the full command of the courts.  History has been on their side.  However, the idea of securing the Supreme Court would ensure that ascendancy is complete.

    After the 9/11 attack the assent seemed more certain.  President Bush stood strong; he spoke persuasively.  He told Americans and foreigners alike, the world will hear him, and, they have.  Mr. Bush speaks for right-wing extremists everywhere in the US of A.  He and they are on a mission.  Their charge is to “spread democracy,” deliberately.  They do this through offensive and oppressive means; they occupy.  They occupy minds and distant lands.  They have done this well.  “Fear” has been their friend.

    A determined Bush 43, representing his conservative crew, used trepidation to influence an already frightened community.  He convinced a terrified public and an anxious Congress to forego civil liberties, and to do so in the name of freedom.  Bush proposed, and the mostly conservative legislative branch passed, the Patriot Act.  With the approval of this bill, citizens lost many of their rights to privacy.  Federal agents were given privileges that the Constitution states are illegal.  However, Bush claimed during times of conflict, citizens must sacrifice and Americans did.

    Few questioned the validity or Constitutionality of Patriot Act.  The Supreme Court was never involved.  Phew!  The President and the Pentagon were able to exert their control without Court approval.

    For four long years government investigators have had the right to comb library records. Book purchases made by common-folk could be judged suspicious and thus, confiscated.  Officials were granted the right to arrest citizens without just cause if they considered these persons terrorists. Much of this remains true today. The general populace still permits detainment of those that “intelligence” deems questionable.  People are still scared; what might another terrorist attack bring?  Many still trust their President and the Pentagon.  Generally, the population believes that those in power shield them from harm.  Therefore, this issue has not been taken to the Court.  The President, Pentagon, a Conservative Congress, and polls, rule.

    Without complete control, this powerful President and his alliance have been and are affective.  They were able to dissuade diplomacy.  George W. Bush promoted war, unilaterally.  He did so with little support. Some people protested; members of his own Cabinet warned; yet, with a few select allies designated as our broad coalition, we went to war.  The majority of Americans believed Bush; numerous persons still do.  Blind faith has been the tenet under the Bush regime.  This has helped the administration; they can and do avoid the Court.

    The President and his party manipulated the media and the message.  They continue to do so.  While the office of General Accounting opposed this practice, and said so, repeatedly, the Justice Department knowingly approved it.  Mr. Bush and his posse were and are allowed to present pre-packaged propaganda as though it is news.  The people know or they could; however, they no longer care.  They are hoping that GW and his clan will protect them.  Numerous civilians feel that physical force is more powerful than judicial.  However, Bush knows; power is power and he wants it all, absolutely!

    The man that many voted for stating they would “like to have a beer with this affable fellow” had and maintains a strength that few Presidents before him have had.  Bush has God on his side and he has told America and the world that this is so.  Soon, with the first of what might be four possible appointments George W. will have the courts in his hands.

    This has long been a fear of liberals, civil libertarians, and environmentalist.  Those that advocate the separation of church and state and pro-choice constituents shiver as they process the possibility of Bush appointing four new members to the Supreme court.  More recently supporters of stem-cell research have joined the fray.  There are those that fear what Bush might do.  Is it possible; will George W. Bush be given the chance to choose four justices?  It is!

    Can this President do more damage than he has done so far?  Might the ideas of freedom and democracy be further destroyed by an ideologue such as Bush?  Will the influence of neoconservatives corrupt our Constitution more so than it has in recent years? The prospect is worrisome, yet real.

    Currently, the Supreme Court maintains a delicate balance; decisions are often 5 to 4.  With news of an O’Connor resignation, the balance is threatened. Justice O’Connor is one of two temperate arbitrators; her decisions often determine a ruling.  She and Justice Anthony Kennedy are considered the moderates on this current court.  Their rulings frequently establish what is.  With one gone, equilibrium is endangered.

    While this one appointment threatens the already fragile balance, this one may be the first of more.  The possibility for greater danger looms large.  There are other Justices considering retirement.  There is Justice Stevens.    John Paul Stevens is now 85, he has been treated for prostrate cancer and some wonder.  Will he be able to remain physically active and on the bench.  If Supreme Court Jurist J.P. Stevens departs all will truly change.

    Stevens is said to be a “longtime judicial maverick.”  He is well known for his liberal leanings.  Stevens is thought to be the force that conservatives reckon with.  Justice Stevens is patient and perseveres.  “As the second most senior justice after Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Stevens’ influence comes more by default than design.”  There are times that the conservative majority wavers, and Stevens moves in.  He has repeatedly appealed to the more moderate. His approach is diplomatic, determined, and distinguished.  It is usually effective and meaningful.  If a liberal such as Stevens leaves, and George W. Bush appoints his replacement, balance will be further belied.

    Then there is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Ginsburg is also considered a progressive, and that stance alone is troubling to the Bush Battalion.  Justice Ginsberg was among the dissenters in the Gore versus Bush 2000 decision.  She did not believe that placing Bush in office was wise or reasonable.  Ginsberg thought the vote count important.

    In the more recent case, Rasul versus Bush, 2004, Ginsberg again ruled against the administration.  In a 6 to 3 decision, Ginsberg was among the majority; however, in this case the preponderance differed with the dictum of the Whitehouse.  They declared foreign nationals captured abroad during the Taliban conflict, and then detained at Guantanamo Bay, have the right to challenge the legality of their imprisonment.  These internees can bring their cases to courts in the United States.

    Each of these afore-mentioned decisions infuriated the administration.  How dare a member of the Court question the truth of a popular President and Whitehouse?  Would it not be wonderful to eliminate this possibility?

    While the Whitehouse cannot rescind a lifetime appointment they know that Ginsberg has battled cancer since 1999.  She is in her seventy’s and many wonder whether her age and health might affect her stay.  If these considerations cause her to resign soon, then zealot Bush can and will reconfigure the future.  He will replace a known moderate and possibly, a liberal, or two.  If this happens the loss of stability and liberties may be overwhelming.

    Fortunately, for this President and neoconservatives alike, up until now, the Bush Whitehouse has rarely been taken to Court.  They were able to reject rulings that do not favor their forum.  The President and the Pentagon knowingly and proudly violated Geneva Convention provisions.  They stated that these stipulations did not apply to them; however, now people are questioning and this could cause the administration problems.

    The time is “right” and ripe.  With the recent resignation of O’Connor the administration will be able to eliminate a Supreme Court Justice.  Soon they may have other opportunities.  Perhaps one retirement will stimulate thoughts for another.  Possibly those on the left will leave and Bush will be able to do as he desires.  He may be able to stack the court and that would fulfill his dreams.  His legacy will be complete and the ultraconservatives will coo with glee.

    If the President has opportunity to appoint four Supreme Court Justices the composition of the Court will change drastically, and this causes many great concern.  Though not unprecedented this option, is historic.  If Bush is afforded this privilege, he will have control of the executive branch, the legislative limb, the Federal Reserve, and the Supreme Court! Bush bellows will be heard everywhere, near and far, and if that is not frightening I do not know what is!