The Terri Schiavo vote in effect ends the independence of our Judiciary. Now, every court will know that its rulings can be undone by Congress. The will of Tom Delay will rule in every hospital room or courtroom that he desires.
We now join the ranks of countries whose judiciary is weak, the league of banana republics. Those with political connections and the power to persuade Congress will prevail. Mob rule will prevail. The ability of the right wing to reach into everyone’s lives has just been established never more than today.
My friends here at Booman this is the worst night for our country since the election last November. The Republican right-wing drunk on their own power has coerced the moderates and now runs this country without restraint.
The Congress has now passed a Bill of Attainder. Here is some information on Bills of Attainder:
“The Bill of Attainder Clause was intended not as a narrow, technical (and therefore soon to be outmoded) prohibition, but rather as an implementation of the separation of powers, a general safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function or more simply – trial by legislature.” U.S. v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437, 440 (1965).
“These clauses of the Constitution are not of the broad, general nature of the Due Process Clause, but refer to rather precise legal terms which had a meaning under English law at the time the Constitution was adopted. A bill of attainder was a legislative act that singled out one or more persons and imposed punishment on them, without benefit of trial. Such actions were regarded as odious by the framers of the Constitution because it was the traditional role of a court, judging an individual case, to impose punishment.” William H. Rehnquist, The Supreme Court, page 166.
“Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. … The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less-informed part of the community.” James Madison, Federalist Number 44, 1788.
So, will Rehnquist be consistent and hold that this bill is an unconstitutional Bill of Attainder? I doubt it very much. This is about the naked exercise of power.
Now we will see what the District Court in Florida does with this blatantly unconstitutional law. I am afraid the U.S. Constitution died tonight.