hearts and minds

August 6, 2006

Need a lawyer? Why not get a judge?

“That ain’t a bad way to open the bow hunting season.” I was admiring the nice deer my ol’ buddy, Sid D. Complex, had just cleanly killed. “How much you judge it’ll dress out to?” That was the wrong way to phrase my question.

“Don’t ask me about judges.” Sid was annoyed. “I’m tired of hearing about judges. I steer clear of ‘em. I don’t know any, and don’t care to. How ‘bout you? Who you voting for to join the club with all those liberals in the Supreme Court?”

“Seven of the nine Supreme Court Justices were Republican appointed. Six of them were appointed by Reagan or George I or George II. But that’s besides the point,” I answered. “You and I don’t get to vote on them.”

“My point exactly,” agreed Sid. “So why should I think about it? They don’t care what I think. And I ain’t got a say, neither.”

“You’re not alone there,” I said. “Dmitry Orlov wrote in Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century, ‘Why should essentially powerless people want to engage in a humiliating farce designed to demonstrate the legitimacy of those who wield power?’”

“See what I’m sayin’?” asked Sid. “Look. People keep trying to figure out what is on Harriet Miers’ mind, and how she’s gonna come down on this, that or the other question. When were they born, yesterday? My mother usually caught me red-handed, if not sooner. My sister always blind-sided me. I never knew what they were thinking. How the devil am I supposed to figure what this Ms. Miers will think?”

“True enough,” I said. “Especially when the record is secret, the rules keep changing, and the answers are coy and evasive while the candidate’s qualifications are supposedly being reviewed. But what about the weighty matters before the Supreme Court? What about the Bill of Rights vs. getting Osama bin Hidin, ‘dead or alive’? What about a woman’s right to control her life vs. an embryo’s right to be born? What about unbridled corporate power vs. government of, by and for the people? Don’t we need to know more about a prospective Justice than a one page resume?”

“I’m surprised at you.” Sid aped a look of shocked cynicism. “You’re like everybody else, running around like a pack of hounds chasing squirrels, coons, rabbits, and crows, trying to figure where Ms. Miers will stand.

“Many people are steamed about abortion although most of them are either too old, or the wrong sex (or both), to get personally pregnant. And legal or not, when the rich and powerful in America need an abortion, they will simply get one, and you can be sure it will be a safe, effective and competent one. Offshore tax shelters and offshore abortion clinics can take care of their needs. The interest they have in the abortion issue is its usefulness in fashioning a political coalition that serves their real interests. Without abortion boiling, and Osama still on the lam (after 4 years!), the coalition of the rich and ignorant, that has been frying other fish, would crumble. Harriet probably thinks abortion should be illegal. But that’s not why Harriet was chosen.

“A lot of people have the ‘quaint’ notion that human rights are guaranteed by God or by the Constitution, or both. But there are a small number of people, who just happen to be dealing the cards and calling the game at the moment, who have a different notion. They figure that rights are commodities, and that the more money they have, the more rights they will have, and the less of both the rest of us will have. Harriet has always backed those dealers. But even that’s not why Harriet was chosen.

“Corporate power has made a mockery of democracy. Corporate boards and executives demand dominance over the courts, as well as over the executive and the legislative branches. That has already been ensured with the present makeup of the Supreme Court, the Congress, and the White House. Harriet will add weight to that overwhelming dominance, but so would any nominee at this time. That’s not why Harriet was chosen, either.”

“All right, you hay-seed know-it-all. Why was she chosen then?” I challenged.

“This particular nomination isn’t about abortion, or ‘our rights’, or even corporate power. Let’s say you got your lip caught in a legal wringer. Would you entrust your future to a faith-based defense?” asked Sid.

“That’s not all I’d do,” I answered, wincing at the thought.

“ Now imagine that you’re the President”, said Sid, “and you can see a glimmer of retirement at the end of the tunnel. You probably recall enough presidential history, combined with clues from today’s news, to contemplate the uncertain future that awaits you in an unpredictable world. Forget how history will treat you. How will the special prosecutors, grand juries, and courts treat you? Will you be able to keep your presidential records secret, and for how long? Will you have to depend on a shameful pardon to stay out of prison? Excuse the expression, but what pre-emptive steps would you take now? Would you just wait for the pinch and then call a lawyer?”

“Well, yeah”, says I. “I mean no. But the president just nominated his long time councilor to a position where she can no longer act as his attorney. She has kept him out of legal trouble so far. She knows him and his dealings, from Harken Oil to Camp David and the Crawford ranch, like the back of her hand. He has enjoyed her unquestioned loyalty for many years. Facing the uncertain future you just outlined, the president will not be able to use her legal services if she’s confirmed. He’ll have to find a new lawyer. If he was smart as you think he is, he would keep her close, and appoint someone else.”

“Shoot!” said Sid. “All those big words you use don’t make you the brightest penny in the pile, ain’a? Hot-shot lawyers are lined up to ride shotgun for the President. Do you think he wants his trustworthy, loyal, helpful, … obedient personal lawyer, who knows his family and his secrets, to be just his lawyer … when he can seat her on the Supreme Court? You tell me. If you was in trouble, would you druther your lawyer be in your corner … or that your lawyer be the Judge and in your corner?

“This appointment isn’t for the abortion-banners, or the secret police, or even the corporations. This one is for the President hisself. And regardless of the outcome, the Boss has cemented her loyalty. You got a cold one handy?” Sid looked inquisitive.

“Got a couple, Sid. Say, I suspect your deer will go a hundred and fifty pounds.”

“Suspect! What do suspects have to do with it? Don’t get me started.” Sid was deleting expletives again, as he set down his knife and reached for an ice-cold bottle.

October 18, 2005


  1. You are a righteous mutha-focka !!!

    Comment by Doug — September 1, 2006 @ 3:01 pm | Reply

  2. I guess she couldn’t take the heat and got out of the kitchen.

    Comment by Penny — February 16, 2007 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

  3. I like your Sid D. Complex style of writing better than the others. It is a much gentler way to get your point across.

    Comment by Elaine — February 16, 2007 @ 7:24 pm | Reply

  4. Why are you not continuing your essays? Did the editor cave in to local attitudes?

    Comment by William — February 16, 2007 @ 9:31 pm | Reply

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