Friday, December 23, 2005

Republicans Loosening Their Ties With the Administration

In my post yesterday about the decision written by Michael Luttig rebuffing the Bush Administration's efforts to manipulate the courts to have its way with Jose Padilla, I sarcastically referred to Luttig as an actvist judge. He may in fact be one, but he's decidedly not a liberal activist judge, which is the usual implication behind the phrase, and he's certainly, judging from his earlier rulings in the Padilla case, not a friend of civil libertarians. What his court's decision this week does, however, is finally demonstrate that at long last even Republicans judges will do only so much for their party and President before realizing they have an obligation to their country and their own branch of government to consider as well. A minority of Republicans in Congress has started to realize and act on this as well, judging from recent setbacks to President Cheney in his efforts to maintain what he views as his unfettered right to detain, render, and torture at will, the failure to rubberstamp the Patriot Act extension, and even something of a bipartisan outcry against the Administration's violation of the law and abuse of the NSA to utilize warrantless taps against Americans.

No doubt some, if not all, of this Republican legislative independence is born of the realization that they no longer stand to gain politically from binding themselves to an increasingly unpopular and unhinged President. It would be nice if it had arisen from principal rather than political expediency. But we have to take our blessings where we find them and praise and thank these Republicans for their new found integrity, chimerical though it may be.
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