Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I'm telling you, Sensenbrenner scares me

It's bad enough that F. Jim doesn't remember his civics lessons well enough to know that the third branch of government--the judiciary--is independent. Now, it turns out, he's actively trying to subjugate the courts to the Congress.

Max Blumenthal of The Nation wandered into that "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference some of the most extreme elements of the Republican party held last weekend. This is the one, you may remember, at which conservative activist Edwin Vieira said that Stalin--you remember Stalin? Brutal killer? Bad goatee?--"offered the best method for reining in the Supreme Court. 'He had a slogan,' Vieira said, 'and it worked very well for him whenever he ran into difficulty: "No man, no problem." ' " (The complete Stalin quote is, "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem.")

The Sensenbrenner part comes on page two of Blumenthal's article. You've heard about the threats against the physical well-being of judges; what's working under the surface is an attempt to strip judges of their Constitutional authority:
The threatening tenor of the conference speakers was a calculated tactic. As Gary Cass, the director of Rev. D. James Kennedy's lobbying front, the Center for Reclaiming America, explained, they are arousing the anger of their base in order to harness it politically. The rising tide of threats against judges "is understandable," Cass told me, "but we have to take the opportunity to channel that into a constitutional solution."

Cass's "solution" is the "Constitution Restoration Act," a bill relentlessly promoted during the conference that authorizes Congress to impeach judges who fail to abide by "the standard of good behavior" required by the Constitution. If they refuse to acknowledge "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government," or rely in any way on international law in their rulings, judges also invite impeachment. In essence, the bill would turn judges' gavels into mere instruments of "The Hammer," Tom DeLay, and Christian-right cadres. [. . .]

In the Senate the bill was sponsored by Richard Shelby, a senator from Roy Moore's home state; among the co-sponsors is Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who is contemplating a run for the Republican nomination for President. The bill was introduced on March 3, before the Terri Schiavo affair erupted, before Florida Circuit Judge George Greer ordered the removal of her feeding tube and before he became the poster-child for the right's judicial impeachment campaign.

Now, according to Howard Phillips in a speech to the conference, his "good friend" Wisconsin GOP Representative James Sensenbrenner is planning to hold hearings on the Constitution Restoration Act in the House. DeLay, who appeared on a big screen during a Thursday morning session to call for the removal of "a judiciary run amok," has put his name on the act as the House sponsor.
Howard Phillips, you may remember, is the founding father of the Constitution Party, which invites you to join them as they "work to restore our government [. . .] to its Biblical foundation." (Does this mean his "good friend" F. Jim will be introducing legislation to stone adulterers? Come to think if it, this does explain F. Jim's desire to over-regulate the entertainment industry.)

The "Constitution Restoration Act" is to the Constitution what the "Clear Skies Initiative" is to air and the "Healthy Forest Initiative" is to trees (read more about it here). Call F. Jim right now and ask him why he thinks our Constitution isn't worth protecting: (262) 784-1111 (district office); 1-800-242-1119 (the HOTLINE for those outside of the Milwaukee metro area); (202) 225-5101 (DC office).

Monday, April 11, 2005

A trip down memory lane

Vast Dairy-State Conspirator Stacie takes a moment to remind us of an old gem from F. Jim:
Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls), Tom Petri (R-Fond du Lac), Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), and Mark Green (R-Green Bay) today blasted Energy Secretary Bill Richardson and the Clinton-Gore Administration for their failure to implement a comprehensive energy policy to deal with staggering gas prices Wisconsin consumers continue to face at the pumps.

Today’s criticism came in response to predictions made by Secretary Richardson in April that high gas prices, then topping $1.50 per gallon, were only temporary [. . .]. “Secretary Richardson’s misguided prediction that we in Wisconsin could look forward to relief from outrageous gas prices by Labor Day is only one example pointing to the lack of any comprehensive energy policy on the part of the Clinton-Gore Administration,” charged Sensenbrenner.
Gas was $2.28.9 at the gas station by my apartment today, for the "cheap stuff." In 2000 dollars, that's $2.06 (handy calculator here)-- below the $2.09 cited by the press release, but well above the $1.60 the Republicans were screaming about.

So, I can [expect] Reps. Sensenbrenner, et. al., to release an updated statement calling for the Bush Administration to do something other than offer token relief, and to make policy, not just talk about it? Right?
Sure, Stacie. F. Jim will almost certainly step up any minute now. Yep. Any minute.

National Recognition for Sensenbrenner Watch

Well, kind of. Wisconsin Blogger Flamingo Jones has used her soapbox at The American Street to point to SW's post below on F. Jim's rejection of an independent judiciary (a perspective rejected even by Bush!). So, Welcome TAS readers! Spread the word about us to all of your Wisconsin freinds!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

When will F. Jim speak up?

Yesterday, Republican Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays smartly distanced himself from the tomfoolery of Tom DeLay:
"He is an absolute embarrassment to me and to the Republican Party," U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Bridgeport, told more than 50 Greenwich residents yesterday morning at Town Hall. He was in Greenwich to host a public forum, open to all political parties, on whatever pressing issues attendees were interested in discussing.

DeLay is facing legal problems in his home state and in the nation's capital. A grand jury in Texas has indicted two of DeLay's political associates on charges involving illegal campaign contributions. In Washington, a Senate committee and the Justice Department are investigating whether Republican lobbyists close to DeLay paid for lawmakers' trips abroad and other gifts in order to influence legislation.

DeLay also made headlines last week by calling for congressional oversight of judicial decisions, saying federal courts had "run amok," in part by disregarding the "will of the people." The comments reflect DeLay's outspoken criticism of federal judges for failing to order the reinsertion of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. DeLay's criticisms also come as a preview to an expected showdown over Senate rules governing the confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominees -- an issue that both Democrats and Republicans say is critical to upcoming fights to fill Supreme Court vacancies.

Yesterday, Shays flatly denied supporting DeLay, telling the small but lively gathering that the Texan probably will not last out this term as house majority leader, lacks credibility and will never attain the prominent position of speaker of the house.

"He knows that . . . if he ever runs for speaker, I get to vote on the House floor, and my 'No' vote combined with the Democrats means he will never be speaker," Shays said, drawing applause from the room. "One of the things I want to say here is that Tom DeLay will never be speaker in Congress." [. . .]

"Do I think Tom DeLay will be the majority leader by the end of this term? No," Shays said. "I don't think Tom DeLay is going to survive. He goes to the edge and he goes beyond . . . Even knowing there's a microscope on him, he continues to do these things."
It's time to apply some pressure Sensenbrenner: Does F. Jim, as a leader in the House and chair of the committee that oversees that judiciary DeLay keeps threatening, support Tom DeLay and his unconstitutional and unconscionable actions? If so, why?

Once again, those phone numbers: (262) 784-1111 (district office); 1-800-242-1119 (the HOTLINE for those outside of the Milwaukee metro area); (202) 225-5101 (DC office); sensenbrenner@mail.house.gov; or ask him at one of his town meetings.