THIS ELECTION IS NOT ABOUT RACE AND/OR GENDER. Yes, it’s historic: We have the first black presidential nominee and women cracking through the top of the ticket. And as a black female, I am practically salivating. I just made two breakthroughs!
But enough already! THIS ELECTION IS ABOUT THE ISSUES: The economy! Health Care, Education, Failing Infrastructure, Port Security, the Economy! National Security, Jobs, Pensions, Toyota or GM, the Economy! Immigration, Housing, Retirement, the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, The Economy! Restoring American Credibility, our Reputation and Moral Standing in the World, The Deficit and Back to: The Economy! AND THE SUPREME COURT!!! Those justices with one hand on the Constitution and the other hand on women’s ovaries!
An article titled: “The Last Word” — on the back page of the May 12/2008 issue of the news magazine ‘Newsweek’ calls Supreme Court justices among the most powerful people in America! She says their decisions affect and shape our lives for decades. Like: Brown v. Board of Education? Roe v. Wade. School Prayer. Eminent Domain. Unreasonable searches and protection from self-incrimination. The Newsweek article says republican presidents have appointed all (but two) of the justices on the Supreme Court in the last 40-years and the court is now tilting in the direct of the ultra-conservative right with the appointments of Samuel Alito (he replaced Sandra Day O’Connor) and John Roberts, the Bush appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice.
And do not forget the lower courts. A ‘USA Today’ article (May 12, 2008) cites President Ronald Reagan and his influence on the APPEALS COURTS. The author says 20-years ago, Reagan appointed justices to an influential set of 13 regional courts and these Appeals Court justices are now a dominant force in American law. Author says we are now feeling their decisions. These judges have apparently become the first in more than a half-century to say the Second Amendment protects individual rights to own guns. They also took the lead in ruling against affirmative-action (University of Michigan–the affirmative action plan at their law school) and other race-conscious policies. They also upheld bans on partial-birth abortion procedures before that even reached the Supreme Court! Reagan was the one (according to the USA Today article) who set out to (quote) reverse the trend of judicial involvement in school integration, prison problems and the environment…(unquote).
Reagan also broke the prior White House pattern of accepting senators preferences for appeals courts seats and put in place a sophisticated screening of candidates run by Department of Justice and White House lawyers. One critic in the article says good people were passed over because they were not ideologues. The author says president Bill Clinton did not want to expend major political capital with his court appointments. Clinton chose, instead, to put a priority on diversity and set records for appointing women and minorities.
A president Obama or John McCain will likely get to appoint several justices to our highest courts. The question for voters, especially female voters OF ALL RACES IS: Do you want more conservatives and ultra-right courts? Want judges legislating your reproductive decisions? If you do not, then decide carefully whom you vote for. Because you may try to exercise your free will to choose what to do with your fallopian tubes and find that a pit bull is blocking your path. With or without lipstick!