Note: a form of this also appeared at West Michigan Rising.
Joe Crawford is out moonlighting again.
The spirit of, if not the actual words of Joe Crawford is alive tonite at The Grand Rapids Press and its sterling endorsement of Justice Cliff Taylor. I suppose it’s only right, after all the other Republicans are out recycling the greatest smears of yesteryear.
The sheer vacuity of the Press is on breath taking display. Rational argument has evidently deserted 155 Michigan. They take Justice Taylor’s words at face value, that his path is as he defined it (my emphasis) one of “restraint.” Yet surely, this is a classic form of New Speak, for in what reality does judicial restraint become its opposite, now defined as altering landmark legislation and overturning long-standing precedents?
So what actions justify treating change of tradition as restraint? Apparently it’s his sharpened pencil
(He) has brought a cost-consciousness to his job of overseeing all of Michigan’s courts, one of his important roles as chief justice. Last year, as the state faced an impending budget crisis, Mr. Taylor led the way in fiscal discipline by giving up his taxpayer-provided car,
That is touching. Why the next thing they’ll tell us is that he likes puppies. The notion that this fiscal prudence supplies sufficient warrant for re-election turns trivial once the scope of the problem is known — as even Press allowed:
the Taylor court has altered landmark legislation and overturned long-standing precedents. Some of these individual decisions lead to legitimate concerns that the court’s attempts to correct years of judicial activism have swung too far in the direction of protecting certain classes — guarding, for instance, business interests and insurance companies against the rights of ordinary citizens.
Hmm fiscal prudence or my rights as a citizen? They seem so alike.
The paper tries to camouflage its view as something rational, even normal. Justice Taylor articulates “a sound judicial philosophy”, as if the presence of a philosophy were reason enough. This completely evades the fundamental question: is this a philosophy — however “sound” — that ought to determine whether grieving mothers get their redress, or communities get the right to protect their environment? Whether city contracts and promises to the public be honored? or whether crime victims get their day in court?
The Supreme’s assault on the citizens of Michigan is increasingly well known.
It may be true that this is a sound philosophy of a sort at work here, but given the grim fruit such philosophy has borne it really belongs to the Press to explain that philosophy. It is not at all evident that being “sound” is an unquestioned virtue. What is sound (or not sound) is the content of the philosophy — the results that flow from its implementation. In endorsing the over-stepping of this radical court, the Press has again shown what its true philosophy is. Sadly.