Fat Steve's Blatherings

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Glenn Reynolds Lies, or A Post Too Long

      I don't say that easily.  I admire Reynolds a great deal, and Instapundit is my homepage.  But in his new MSNBC column, Reynolds lies -- though perhaps he's lying to himself.

      Prof. Reynolds says:
I don't have an opinion on what should happen to Terry Schiavo -- though given the rather large numbers of judges who have looked at this case over the years I'd be especially reluctant to interfere..

      That's bull.  Reynolds is highly critical of anyone doing anything that might interfere with the actions of the Florida courts.  If that happens, Terri Schiavo dies.  Reynolds knows that.  It's dishonest to advocate a course of action that must end in Terri's death, while pretending he doesn't have a preferred outcome.

      I might note, though, that when he isn't pleading ignorance and lack of interest in Schiavo's case, Reynolds keeps suggesting that the courts must have ruled correctly.  a) He doesn't have an opinion.  B) We should presume the case was decided correctly.  Funny, that sure seems like an opinion to me.

      Even more weirdly, Reynolds seems to think of himself as a libertarian.  He's celebrated the actions of David Horowitz and others, when they challenged restrictions on free speech by Universities.  Here we have a woman being deliberately killed, and his position reduces to 'Don't raise any questions about whether her right to life is being violated.  The court said it, I believe it, that settles it'  I guess it's the new libertarianism -- Govt taxing, spending, regulating bad; govt. killing people, good.  So good, in fact, that the circumstances should not be inquired into.

      Reynolds quotes former Solicitor General Charles Fried:
In their intervention in the Terri Schiavo matter, Republicans in Congress and President Bush have, in a few brief legislative clauses, embraced the kind of free-floating judicial activism, disregard for orderly procedure and contempt for the integrity of state processes that they quite rightly have denounced and sought to discipline for decades.

      It seems rather weird to accuse Congress of judicial activism, but pass that by.  Reynolds's preferred course of action here comes down to "Don't even think that a state court might have made a mistake.  Don't try to discuss the details of the case with me, I'm not interested.  Have faith that the court system is correct."

      The Constitution of the United States has a slightly different take on things:
Article. III.

Section. 1.
The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. . . .

Section. 2.
Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;

      Now, if the Federal courts had just asserted authority, that would be judicial activism.  When the courts are granted jurisdiction by Act of Congress, that isn't the case.

Amendments, Article XIV.

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. . . .

Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

      If this means anything, it means that the federal government suspected state governments might fail to protect a citizen's rights, and gave the federal government the power to intervene against that.  Of course, one might object that Terri Schiavo's rights are not being violated -- but I just can't see how you can make such a determination without actually examining the evidence and legal proceedings.  Reynolds thinks no such examination should take place.

      Further, the Prof. is angry that the Congress's action is unprecedented.  I can see where that's a criticism of an action by a court, for our courts are supposed to be bound, in part, by precedent.  But why should that constrain a legislature?

      And Reynolds also feels its deplorable that the Congress passed a bill intended to relieve the situation of a single individual.  Presumably, it would have been better to pass a general measure that affected every ill person in every state in the Union.  Right, there's a good way to show respect for federalism and to keep govt. small.

      That last is sarcasm, by the way.  I know Reynolds would be even more horrified if that had been done.  Instead, he wanted Congress to sit on its hands and let the Florida courts kill Terri Schiavo -- but he has no opinion on what should happen to her.  Sure he doesn't.

      This whole farrago of contradiction reminds me of nothing so much as the sort of twisted reasoning with which pre-1861 Southerners defended slavery, and pre-1965 Southerners defended racial discrimination.  'It's none of your business, and the government has no power to interfere in our social customs, but we can force the North to actively support slavery, through the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the Fugitive Slave Law, and Dred Scott.'

      I'd thought better of the Professor.  Certainly, when people bloviated about how Iraq was a terrible place, but we shouldn't lift a finger to stop Saddam's mass murder, the Instapundit saw right through them.

      Glenn Reynolds wants Terri Schiavo dead, wants the court system to kill people who have never been convicted of a crime, and wants us to approve of this, never questioning the outcome of a case.  It's interesting that he can't bring himself to even say this out loud, much less make a rational argument in defense of his position.



  • I was amazed to come to the same conclusion about Glenn. Lawyers are better than other folks, I guess.

    By Blogger Ralph, at 12:18 PM  

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