<center><h1><a href=http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-judges25apr25,0,6003233.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials> The American Banana Republic</a></h1></center> In Central and South America, authoritarian regimes which pay lip service to the rule of law have been the norm. And the US government, under both Democratic and Republican administrations, has clandestinely supported the ouster of democratically elected governments in favor of these authoritarian regimes. Now, at the hands of the Republican leadership, America is at risk of becoming a banana republic. Granted, they aren't bribing judges and other government officials, they are cloaking their actions in the mantle of religion. Regardless of the rationale, the end result will be the same...Centralized, authroitarian power with no effective checks and balances and paying lip service to the concept of democratic institutions. Banana republic status will be our future if these closet fascists are left unchecked, and gutting the judiciary is the final element of this agenda. Without a strong and independent judiciary, the Republic will become another banana republic and the dream of America will die. Make you choice, call your senators and tell them this must not come to pass...donnot impose the "nuclear option" and strip the minority of its last, best tool for standing against the tyrrany of the majority.