- The Washington Times - Monday, January 13, 2003

Schumer's behavior
On the fringe of American politics, "there are plenty of reckless, slanderous souls willing to bash" federal Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr. "as if he were a hooded, robed Klansman," Mark Davis writes in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, referring to the appeals court nominee targeted by far-left groups.
"Sadly, some of them dwell in the U.S. Senate," Mr. Davis said.
"On Wednesday, Sen. Charles Schumer showed a news conference audience and thus the nation just how low he is willing to go to smear a political enemy.
"It is sad but no longer shocking. To the dogmatic left, debate does not suffice. Increasingly, rather than deign to engage those who disagree honestly and civilly, they spare themselves the intellectual challenge by demonizing opponents as unworthy if not evil.
"Am I exaggerating? Not when Schumer can stand there and say not suggest, actually say that the Bush administration seeks to use judicial nominations to take America back to the days of colored water fountains and blacks in the backs of buses.
"'For years the federal courts served as the shield protecting basic civil rights in this country,' railed the New York Democrat. 'This administration wants the courts to become the sword that destroys those rights.'
"Is there a shred of human decency to this man?" Mr. Davis asked.
Scalia's comments
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia complained yesterday that courts have gone overboard in keeping God out of government.
Justice Scalia, speaking at a religious ceremony in Fredericksburg, Va., said the constitutional wall between church and state has been misinterpreted by the Supreme Court and lower courts, the Associated Press reports.
As an example, he pointed to an appeals court decision in California that barred students from saying the Pledge of Allegiance with the phrase "one nation under God."
Justice Scalia, the main speaker at an event for Religious Freedom Day, said decisions by his own court gave the judges in the Pledge case "plausible support to reach that decision."
The justice said, however, that he believes such decisions should be done legislatively, not by courts. If critics of the Pledge of Allegiance persuaded the public it should be changed, "then we could eliminate 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance, that could be democratically done," he said.
Justice Scalia used the event to repeat criticisms that the Constitution has often been misinterpreted by liberal judicial activists.
"It is a Constitution that morphs while you look at it, like Plasticman," he said, adding that the framers of the Constitution did not intend for God to be stripped from the government.
"That is contrary to our whole tradition, to 'in God we trust' on the coins, to Thanksgiving proclamations, to [congressional] chaplains, to tax exemption for places of worship, which has always existed in America."
Two cards at once
"Congressmen Charles Rangel, New York Democrat, and John Conyers, Michigan Democrat, have pushed some bad ideas before, but their new proposal to bring back the Vietnam era in the form of a military draft is far and away the worst," writes Caspar Weinberger, who served as secretary of defense in the Reagan administration.
"Attempting to play both the race and class warfare cards, the congressmen said the U.S. 'must debate whether it should continue with a fighting force comprised disproportionately of people from low-income families and minorities.' In another burst of unconscionable demagoguery, they also say that the burden of defending the country is resting too heavily on the shoulders of blacks and minorities.
"This is all utter and pernicious nonsense," Mr. Weinberger said, adding:
"If some statistical genius has computed that our all-volunteer force may have slightly more black and Hispanic volunteers than is 'proportional (to what?) I would reply that that simply demonstrates that there is a higher degree of patriotism among black and Hispanic youths of draft age than among whites of draft age. That should be a matter of praise and gratification. But no! The congressmen simply ignore the fact that however 'proportional,' our military is what it is because it is made up of people who want to be there."
Odd omission
"Warren Christopher wrote last week in the New York Times of terrorist attacks 'wreaking havoc in far-flung places such as Indonesia, Kenya, Jordan and Yemen,'" Martin Peretz observes in the New Republic.
"Maybe I am being myopic, but why didn't he mention Israel in that list, the state that suffers most from this savagery?" Mr. Peretz asked.
"Certainly Bill Clinton's secretary of state wouldn't be the first prominent American to believe that terror against Israelis is different, not quite so satanic, as terror against other civilians. Palestinian terror, say its apologists, is political the illegitimate means to a legitimate end, statehood. But many peoples have pursued statehood in modern history, and only the Palestinians have pursued it so barbarically. Terrorism, truth be told, is about the sum total of what the Palestinians have bestowed on our civilization during the last five decades."
Ginsburg's award
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be honored next month by the University of Louisville's Louis D. Brandeis School of Law for her past work promoting civil liberties and sexual equality.
Justice Ginsburg will receive the Brandeis medal, an award given to those who are said to reflect Justice Louis Brandeis' commitment to individual liberty, concern for the disadvantaged and public service.
She co-founded the Women's Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and won several key cases against sexual discrimination during her time with the ACLU.
Justice Ginsburg also taught at Rutgers University and Columbia Law School, where she was the first female full professor. She was named to the high court in 1993, after serving as a federal appeals judge for the District of Columbia.
Past Brandeis medal recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Justices Harry Blackmun and Sandra Day O'Connor, civil rights attorney Morris Dees and former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno.
Forbes' views
"Steve Forbes, who ran against George W. Bush for the Republican nomination, now sounds like an administration insider," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"Example: In Little Rock last week to talk with execs from firms like Wal-Mart, he stated flatly that any war with Iraq will be over and done within eight weeks. And he predicted that Bush, if re-elected, will enact a flat tax a key issue in Forbes' campaign. No surprise, then, that Forbes also said he won't run against Bush."
War on women?
The New York Times editorial page, which seems to save its fiercest attacks on the Bush administration for the Sunday edition, yesterday accused the White House of beginning, as the headline said, "The War Against Women."
The newspaper, which used the term "anti-choice" rather than "pro-life," excoriated the administration for, among other things, favoring a ban on partial-birth abortions.

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