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Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky

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MONDAY   Bench This Judge
by Burt Prelutsky [scriptwriter] 10/23/06

Whenever I hear my fellow conservatives talk about sitting out the election in  November, I want to grab them and shake them until their teeth rattle.  Anything that puts  Democrats even an inch closer to appointing federal judges should be more than enough  reason to get every right-winger off the couch and down to his polling place.  

In case you think I’m engaging in election year hyperbole, consider Judge  Stephen Roy Reinhardt.  He has been the mainstay of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the  9th Circuit for the past quarter of a century, ever since Jimmy Carter foisted him off on us.


Scriptwriter Burt Prelutsky has writing credits from some of television’s best known series as well as having been a humor columnist for the L.A. Times and a movie critic for Los Angeles magazine. [go to Prelutsky index]

What sort of disaster has Judge Reinhardt been?  For openers, it was his court that  first got our attention when it decided that “under God” had no place in the Pledge of  Allegiance.   

Not a court to rest on its laurels, the 9th Circuit recently garnered media attention  with its rulings in a couple of murder cases.  In the first, Reinhardt and his colleagues  decided that a convicted killer was entitled to a new trial because the relatives of his  victim had worn small buttons with their loved one’s picture to court.  The 9th Circuit  decided this had undue influence on the jurors, although the trial judge had ruled  otherwise, and the relatives, in any case, had only worn the buttons for the first two days  of the trial.

In the other case, the defendant had murdered a young woman by bashing in her  head with a dumbbell.  No, an actual dumbbell; not Judge Reinhardt.  In this instance, a  three judge panel decided 2-1, Reinhardt providing the swing vote, that when the jurors  back in 1982 sentenced the killer to die, they might not have taken into account “the  defendant’s potential for a positive adjustment to life in prison”!

Scary, isn’t it?

But I’m only getting started.  Judge Reinhardt is also the fellow who said, “I don’t  believe the Constitution says that individuals have a right to bear arms.”  Judge  Reinhardt, let me introduce you to the Second Amendment.

There’s more.  When someone suggested that the 9th Circuit was the most liberal  court in the country, he replied with a straight face: “When people say that, what they  mean is that this court, unlike most of the circuit courts, isn’t totally dominated by a  group of conservative judges who have a view of the Constitution that is, to put it mildly,  rather narrow and tends to resemble the view of the federal courts before the age of  enlightenment.”  I guess he means way back in the old days when the Second  Amendment was still part of the Constitution.

Not knowing the judge personally, I don’t know if he drinks or is simply a visitor  from a very strange planet, but in what was even for him a particularly loony moment, he  actually said, “When President Clinton was appointing judges, he did not appoint liberals  to the Supreme Court.  He appointed people that would be acceptable to the Republicans  in the Senate, and that’s why he got some of his appointees nominated.  But anyone who  seemed to be slightly liberal would not even get a hearing.”  Judge Reinhardt, let me  introduce you to Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Sometimes those on the Left accuse those of us on the Right of putting words in  their mouth.  But the truth is, we don’t need to.  Besides, even if we tried, we wouldn’t  succeed because they usually have one or more of their feet jammed in there, and there’s  simply not enough room! CRO

Copyright 2006 Burt Prelutsky





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