Tom Oliphant of the Boston Globe has a very itneresting piece today on the court case in which Rossi’s challenge to Gregoire’s election as Governor was heard.    The title of the piece is the same as that of this diary, and the entire article is well worth reading, so if interested go to this link.   Free registration is required, or use the dailykos bypass.

Let me offer a few quick selections and comments below.   And let me note (1) I’m glad to see Opliphant back and writing regularly, and (2)  the Boston Globe op ed pages are varied enough that it is really a place one ought to check regularly. I ma happy to provide highlights (even from Arlington VA), but I really think it is a place worth a regular visit.
The beginning:

AFTER A RUN of 37 years, conservative legal thought is showing clear signs of the fissures that come when longevity mixes with incumbency.

What began as a philosophy has morphed into an ideology. Philosophies can be windows open to the world; ideologies come with blinders.

The point was driven home to me not by the shouting matches here over a handful of President Bush’s nominees to federal appellate courts, but by a remark a few thousand miles away in the other Washington.

A description that is pertinent:

Indeed, after two recounts of the disputed result by machine and then an exhaustive tally of the state by hand that produced the Gregoire lead, the Republicans went judge shopping for their court case. That search, of course, assumed that ”conservative” county or ”conservative” judge implied an expected connection between the adjective and the anticipated result.

What was missing was the political argument first framed in 1968 by Richard Nixon and used ever since by Republicans in campaigns to encapsulate conservative legal philosophy as a presumed antidote to the presumed excesses of the late Chief Justice Earl Warren’s presumably activist US Supreme Court.

After some background about the attempted judge shopping, and noting that een though Judge Brdige was appointed by a democrat, he was considered independent and even libetarian, Oliphant notes pointedly:

What is more, Bridges is universally considered without political taint, and in a libertarian culture his beard and diamond stud in one ear were given no ideological meaning at all.

Bridges gave the Republicans a fair chance at a fresh election under strict rules. They had to prove fraud with evidence instead of inference, he ruled before the case was tried, and they had to show that the number of clearly fraudulent Gregoire votes clearly exceed her infinitesimal margin. After the case was heard but before Bridges ruled, there was a widespread feeling even among Republicans in the state that their point had not been proved.

And let me offer the brief paragraphs at the conclusion of the piece:

Bridges, however, tossed the entire vote deduction theory. Of the GOP invitation to theorize, he noted pointedly that ”to do so would constitute the ultimate of judicial egotism and activism.”

Contrast this classically conservative ruling with Antonin Scalia’s silly invention in 2000 of a 14th Amendment ”right” in stopping a statewide recount of Florida’s disputed presidential vote as belatedly ordered by that state’s supreme court.

And contrast Rossi’s crabby reference to the makeup of Washington’s supreme court with Al Gore’s gutsy, gracious acceptance of what was really an effort to keep the House of Representatives from having to elect George Bush.

Conservative legal philosophy lives on, but much more so in Washington State than in Washington, D.C.

Go read the entire article.  

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