The most important lesson learned from the chaotic presidential
election is not that the system works -- because it does not always; it is that some
of the most powerful judges in this country are blatant ideological creatures.
Take for example the Florida Supreme Court which caused much of the
trouble in the first place. Newsweek magazine methodically analyzed the liberal
biases of four of those jurists and connected them to a variety of
pro-democratic causes. The article left little doubt that no matter what
-- the four most left-leaning judges on that court were not going to put
the law above their political preferences.
And then there is the United States Supreme Court. Seven of those
justices believe that there were constitutional problems with the Florida Supreme
Court-ordered hand-recount because absolutely no uniform standards were
in place to evaluate the votes. In Broward County for example, the
Democratic canvassers counted votes for Al Gore that left journalists shaking their
heads. It was strictly a partisan interpretation. Even the chief justice
of the Florida Supreme Court acknowledged the blatant unfairness in his dissent.
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Yet federal judges John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg refused
to see that the no-standard problem was unfair to the rest of Americans who
cast votes. According to Stevens and Ginsburg, it is no problem if partisans
count votes. What? Is this not insane? I firmly believe that these two
judges are so firmly committed to a liberal ideology that even if the
Deity came down and said to them point blank: "Abortion is a crime against
humanity." They would issue a dissenting opinion disagreeing with God.
To be fair, Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Rhenquist are passionately
committed to conservative thought, and there was little question they
would not allow a liberal interpretation of the Florida vote. So the bottom
line on the highest court in the land, the people who make decisions that all
of us must live by, is that most of them are driven by ideology. This is
Now, on cases like police stops where there is little emotion
involved you can usually get a pretty good ruling based on the law from the Supremes.
But when there is an emotional case like abortion or a political
candidate in a devilish situation -- that's when the bias comes out. Human beings
are human beings. Just because they wear black robes doesn't make them
immune from weakness. And make no mistake about it, becoming a prisoner to your
ideology is a weakness.
This is something I fight against all the time as a news analyst.
Like you, I have my core beliefs. And I am sorely tempted to simply search for
backup to prop up those core beliefs rather than be skeptical about them. So I
find myself cutting out articles that back up what I believe and
sometimes not reading dissenting material closely enough. I fight this but the
temptation to fit the facts into my preconceived notions is a powerful one.
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Americans should now know that we are living in a deeply divided
country. Part of that is because propaganda and slick lawyering has replaced
truth as something to be valued. The political parties and candidates pay big
money to spin-meisters and legal beagles who can twist the truth their way.
And the media gobbles this stuff up. I, personally, hate that and that's why
I've instituted the "no-spin zone" on my program "The O'Reilly Factor."
I used to think that at least the Supreme Court would be comprised of
truth-seekers. But now we know that it is not. The all powerful justices
are just like the rest of us -- tied to a series of core beliefs that
are sincere but all consuming. The law doesn't stand a chance against that.