by Craig Masters
For those who don’t read Arabic, the headline reads: Arab Spring is an Islamic Uprising – as translated by the author.
Could any liberal politician have demonstrated the art of deception and doublespeak to hide their real viewpoint better than Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg did last week on Egyptian television? According to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Justice Ginsberg urged Egyptians to look to other countries’ newer constitutions for guidance as they craft their own in the coming months. Her comments were made during an interview on Egyptian television.
As one example of a less outmoded constitution, she referred to South Africa’s constitution as a “really great piece of work” for the way it embraced basic human rights and its guarantee of an independent judiciary. During the 18-minute broadcast on her fourth day in Egypt she also noted Canada’s charter of rights and freedoms and the European Convention of Human Rights. “Why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world? I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others,” she said.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo released the statement that Ginsburg’s televised interview concluded her four-day trip to Egypt which included programs in Alexandria and Cairo where she met with her Egyptian counterparts to “listen and learn.” This was according to the embassy statement of February 2.
Justice Ginsberg,the oldest serving Justice at 78, is a Clinton appointment and an outspoken liberal who has ruled repeatedly along political lines. Ginsberg said that, since World War II, several other models have emerged that offer more specific and contemporary guarantees of rights and liberties than the United States Constitution.
During the interview, Justice Ginsberg was asked how Egyptians could protect a new constitution from what the interviewer called contemporary political pressures. Ginsberg answered, “A constitution, as important as it is, will mean nothing unless the people are yearning for liberty and freedom. If the people don’t care, then the best constitution in the world won’t make any difference. The spirit of liberty has to be in the population.”
The high court has become more heavily involved in the advancing political ideology over the past 60 years as the judges have increasingly made policy decisions, even to the extent of timing their decisions to retire to benefit their personal ideology. The Huffington Post political blog sites David Garrow, a Cambridge University historian who follows the court, who wrote, “Ginsburg’s situation points to an institutional problem for the court; the arguably narcissistic attitude that longer is better.”
The longest-serving justice, William Douglas, was on the court for more than 36 1/2 years, reluctant to retire even after a debilitating stroke. “History teaches us that often longer is not better,” Garrow said.
Garrow continues, justices sometimes look at electoral projections when considering retirement, adding that Ginsburg probably still could decide to retire next summer “if Obama’s electoral prospects seem shaky.”
In the Huffington Post article featuring Garrow, he explains that Chief Justice Earl Warren never envisioned retiring during the presidency of his nemesis, Richard Nixon. Yet that is exactly what came to pass in 1969. Warren planned to step down early in what he hoped would be Lyndon Johnson’s second full term. But then the Vietnam War got in the way of Johnson’s re-election plans and Robert Kennedy fell to an assassin’s bullet. The Huffington Post article continues: “at that point, according to political science professor Artemus Ward, Warren thought Nixon had a reasonable chance of winning the presidency and timed his retirement to fall in the lame-duck term of LBJ.”
Professor Ward, of Northern Illinois University who has written about court retirements, offered evidence for his position in the fact that Johnson nominated Abe Fortas as chief justice. But that nomination became victim of “election-year politics in the Senate and the first allegations of financial improprieties that eventually would drive Fortas from the bench. Early in 1969, Nixon nominated Warren Burger as chief justice.”
More recently, Obama appointee, Elena Kagan, has made it clear in testimony that she does not intend to recuse herself from cases in which she could influence the court’s ruling toward her political ideology. In her confirmation testimony before the Senate, she said she would only recuse herself from any case in which she “officially formally approved something,” or “served as counsel of record” or “played any substantial role.”
But that is not the law. The law requires a justice (excluding Supreme Court Justices) to be disqualified from hearing a case in which the justice may have previously “participated” as an “adviser” on a matter, even if that justice did not give any formal advice. Justices are also required to disqualify themselves if their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. But according to her own formal testimony, Kagan intends to invoke the Supreme Court’s exemption from the Federal Code of Conduct for U.S. judges and remain involved in cases where her personal interests can be of service to those she believes have been underserved.
Fox News reported that, “Last month, Chief Justice Roberts gave his annual year-end report on the federal judiciary, but it was quite different from prior ones. For the first time, it focused on when Supreme Court Justices should disqualify (or “recuse”) themselves from a case because of a conflict of interest. He acknowledged that the Code of Conduct for United States Judges applies to all federal judges except Supreme Court Justices. However, he assured us that the Justices do, in fact, look to this Code for guidance, and follow it, along with the federal statue, federal advisory opinions, and court precedent.” Although he did not mention Justices Kagan and Sotomayor by name.
The mainstream media has covered the Kagen news regarding the eventual ruling on the constitutionality of Obamacare. She has already stated her opinion many times publicly and fully intends to participate in the case in order to insure it becomes one of those laws she says will finally serve the growing needs of the underserved minorities.