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As long as we're on the subject of the new Republican effort to foster suspicion of the entire judicial branch of the U.S. government:  last Friday Slate's Dahlia Lithwick pointed out that few  experts on the Supreme Court have bothered to respond to Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America, brought to us by the same abhorrent organization that published Unfit for Command.

Ignoring Men in Black won't stop its rise on the bestseller charts, Lithwick rightly observes -- particularly not when it's being pimped by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Fox News.  

The book was ranked eighth on the New York Times list last week, its sixth week on the list, and like much of the "political analysis" pitched at the Fox News crowd, it's gone virtually unchallenged.  Until Ms. Lithwick leapt in last Friday and trounced it, that is.

Acknowledging that the book is a bunch of crap, and that reading it may give rise to an overpowering urge to shower between chapters, Lithwick argues that we still need to engage with these kinds of arguments:
Men in Black never gets past the a.m.-radio bile to arrive at cogent analysis. Each of the first three chapters ends with the word "tyranny." Absent any structure or argument, this book could just have been titled Legal Decisions I Really, Really Hate. Levin follows the lead of lazy pundits everywhere who excoriate "activist judges" without precisely defining what constitutes one....

The book is silly. But the maddening question here is why Levin, Limbaugh, and--as of yesterday, Tom DeLay--have stopped threatening just "liberal activist" judges and have started threatening the judiciary as a whole. Levin, recall, is excoriating a court composed of seven Republican appointees. He's trashing the body that's done more to restore the primacy of states' rights, re-inject religion into public life, and limit the rights of criminal defendants than any court in decades. He seems not to have noticed that the Rehnquist court is a pretty reliably conservative entity. Reading his hysterical attacks on Justices O'Connor and Kennedy, you'd forget they are largely on his side and substantially different creatures from the court's true liberals. But Levin seems as incapable of distinguishing between jurists as he is incapable of differentiating between cases or doctrine. He's happy to decimate the court as a whole....

[Levin's] fixes for the problem of judicial overreaching go further than manipulating the appointments process. He wants to cut all judges off at the knees: He'd like to give force to the impeachment rules, put legislative limits on the kinds of constitutional questions courts may review, and institute judicial term limits. He'd also amend the Constitution to give congress a veto over the court's decisions. Each of which imperils the notion of an independent judiciary and of three separate, co-equal branches of government. But the Levins of the world are not interested in a co-equal judiciary. They seem to want to see it burn.

Originally posted to Maud Newton on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 06:20 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Levin (none)
    This guy is on AM talk here in NY right after Hannity. He is truly foul. His contempt for all Americans who do not agree with an arch right wing agenda is bilious.
  •  Catch (none)
    Good catch, Maud. You may wish to enclose the Lithwick text in a gray box for better visual clarity. The tags you use are < div class="blockquote"> TEXT </ div> but without the spaces before each "div".
  •  The Supreme Court DID destroy America (4.00)
    when it appointed Bush.
  •  Those Nine Guys (4.00)
    will rue the day when they issued Bush v. Gore and put those nuts, with all their fury, in power in America. They're coming after the judges now.
  •  Tyranny of the majority (none)
    They yearn for the tyranny of the majority, since they (mistakenly) believe that they are and will continue to be the majority.

    . . . solutions emerge from [our] judicious study of discernible reality.

    by realitybased on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 07:01:30 PM PDT

  •  And the sheeple (none)
    will devour the book while ignoring books written by real authors who've thoroughly researched their material.

    I weep for future generations. Impeachment Now!

    by blueohio on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 07:12:01 PM PDT

  •  They are ramping up (none)
    the campaign against the judiciary.  Nuclear option, Schiavo, Delay, Cornyn, etc.
  •  Talking Points (none)
    This has got to be why Cornyn and Delay and others are on this topic this week. Man, as someone who worked in the bookselling business for a while, I almost have to admire the coordination and public relations effort involved in this.

     - Book gets under way at Regnery

     - As pub date approaches, juicy judicial activist topic is chosen: Terri Schiavo

     - All Republicans converge on topic

     - Drawn by Republicans (and FOX) every other news outlet follows

    Imagine a world where all Democratic spokespeople spoke on one topic and clearly for just a couple of days. Now imagine that anyone actually listened to them. NO! OW! My brain broke under the strain.

    Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

    by darrelplant on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 07:20:39 PM PDT

  •  Is it really a best-seller... (none)
    ....or is it on bulk-buy steroids? Does anyone know?

    After all, just about anything can be a best seller if some right-wing millionare buys up a few hundred thousand copies to later give away to rubes for the S & H.

    "Salvation is by way of the truth, not by way of the fatherland" -- Chaadaev

    by sagesource on Mon Apr 04, 2005 at 07:45:39 PM PDT

  •  This is a classic example of posturing (none)
    by the conservative scoundrels who absolutely botched the handling of the Schiavo morass and are now trying to deflect the nearly overwhelming public criticism by frantically fingerpointing at the judiciary.

    This is S.O.P. for these scumbags. "It's their's their's their fault...not mine." One day the easily duped factions of the American public will catch wise to this childishness. Hopefully, it won't be too late for the rest of us.

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