New Idea for Dems: Democracy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Adam's Apple, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Good advice to the Democrats from a liberal who should know.

    A New Idea for Democrats: Democracy
    By Joe Klein for Time Magazine
    April 3, 2005

    In focusing too much on the legal process, the party is in danger of losing the people

    Excerpted article:

    The Democrats come to their dilemma honorably. It dates back to the civil rights movement, when federal courts had to enforce federal law in states that refused racial integration. But the courts soon wandered into unlegislated gray areas. They imposed forced busing to achieve school integration, allowed racial preferences in hiring and school admissions, extrapolated a constitutional right to privacy and declared abortion legal in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case (and more recently, on the state court level, allowed gay marriage). Many of these were worthy decisions, but they were never voted on. Over time, as the Democrats became the minority party, their efforts to hold on to this last area of solace became more desperate.

    This month, Democrats may use procedural tricks to stop all Senate business and block a Republican effort to eliminate minority filibuster rights and jam through seven federal judges proposed by the President. The fight may be winnable, but it is a culture of law cul-de-sac. The Democrats will be shutting down the Senate over a matter of process rather than substance, a pinhead of principle most civilians will find difficult to understand. The Armageddon of confirmation battles—over the next Supreme Court Justice—will probably follow soon after, and it may cement a public impression of the Democrats as a party obsessed with the legal processes that preserve the status quo on issues such as abortion, gay rights and extreme secularism—and little else. The political damage may be considerable.

    Oddly, a solution to the Dems' dilemma may be on offer from liberal academia. "The hot new idea in liberal law journals is called popular constitutionalism," says Paul Gewirtz of Yale Law School. "It argues that legislatures and voters should have more control over government, and the judiciary should take a more subsidiary position." In other words, issues like abortion should be put to a vote. (Great idea!) This is an idea unthinkable to most Democratic politicians, who believe the right to an abortion is tucked somewhere in the Constitution—and also to the more extreme religious conservatives, who believe abortion is murder. That leaves the rest of us. And I imagine most of us would prefer some good, messy legislative compromises, hammered out at the state level, with the unimpeachable imprimatur of public approval. Perhaps it is time, finally, for Democrats to embrace democracy.

    for full article
    http://www.time.com/time/columnist/klein/article/0,9565,1044638,00.html
     

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