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Archive for the ‘Constitution Corner’ Category

Three of the four national daily news papers have touched on a subject I wrote about a few weeks ago. The New York Times and USA Today discuss in two editorials the importance of the Presidential election on the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the Washington Post clearly dissects the Court demographics to help explain exactly what is at stake. Details on the flip side.
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Last Sunday (the 14th) I attended a panel at the Brooklyn Book Festival, where a number authors, ranging from Johnathan Lethem, to Johnathan Franzen, to Joan Didion spoke about new works, celebrated works, and the unfortunate state of frenzied hysteria we find ourselves in every four years or so. I sat in on a panel dubbed “The Consequences to Come” moderated by Robert Silvers, editor of The New York Review, which was to discuss the looming 2008 Presidential Election. The panel was decidedly pro-Obama, with Mark Danner, Ronald Dworkin, Darryl Pinckney and Joan Didion rounding things out. Each had their own assessment of how close Barack Obama would come to the White House, each voicing an understandably cynical prediction – it was, after all, one week after the Republican Convention and the unveiling of America’s newest sweetheart, Sarah Palin.

One speaker, in particular, was admittedly “depressed” by the GOP’s recent bounce. Ronald Dworkin – American legal philosopher, current professor at University College London and the New York University School of Law – had pleaded for previous speaker Mark Danner to “cheer him up with some favorable numbers.” After summarily disregarding Obama’s current poll position with regards to the “symbol-based community,” Danner left Dworkin to dwell on the rank possibilities of the Supreme Court under John McCain’s stewardship.

Dworkin said the Constitution stands to be left far worse than “more of the same” if McCain wins the White House. He argued that given the current makeup of the Supreme Court, in terms of age and ideology, many long-standing precedents regarding women’s rights, free speech and Affirmative Action would be completely overhauled given another four years of a GOP-led presidency.He stressed the key role Justice Kennedy has played, citing Kennedy’s record as a lynch pin.

In a Sunday Editorial, the New York Times concurred. “Under Mr. McCain, if a liberal justice or two or three steps down, we may see a very different America.” The veracity with which Dworkin spoke, left the assembled crowd just as depressed as he was. But, on the bright side, Gallup currently has Obama at +4…

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