Friday, June 30, 2006

Which chamber do we load?

So the numbers are looking better and better for a Democratic victory in the congress this Novemeber (assuming elections matter anymore.) But one thing is worth pointing out: While retaking either house for the Dems would be great (subpoena power!) in particular it would be best to retake the Senate, rather than the House. (Inshallah, let it be both.)

Of the two houses of Congress, the Senate is the one that has the most direct role in checking the power of the White House. The Senate needs to approve important appointments - say, UN ambassadors - and Supreme Court judges. Remember: yesterday's Hamdan decision could just as easily have been a 4-4 split, even without Roberts' recusal. In that case, the previous decision in favour of the government would have been upheld.

If Bush manages to name another justice, it will be the Senate where we need the Democrats. We also, of course, need Democrats who are willing to simply say no to another Bush appointment that worships imperial presidential powers, so long as their Republicans. Thomas, Alito, Scalia, and Roberts make a nasty, festering core to the Supreme Court. Eventually, we need to start talking about how to remove them from the court, and putting honest judges in their place.

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