Conservative judges strike back

The New York Times reports:

A federal appeals court in Atlanta refused…to reconsider the case of Terri Schiavo, with one of the judges rebuking President Bush and Congress for acting ‘in a manner demonstrably at odds with our founding fathers’ blueprint for the governance of free people.’

The judge who rebuked Congress and the Bush administration’s intervention in the Schiavo case was none other than Judge Stanley Birch Jr.—a conservative judge appointed by the first President Bush. Judge Birch went on to note that “legislative dictation of how a federal court should exercise its judicial functions invades the province of the judiciary and violates the separation of powers principle.” Hey, this sounds familiar. Check out what Judge Henry Floyd, a recent Bush appointment, had to say about the administration’s handling of “war on terror” detainee Jose Padilla:

[T]he Court is of the firm opinion that it must reject the position posited by the Respondent. To do otherwise would not only offend the rule of law and violate this country’s constitutional tradition, but it would also be a betrayal of this Nation’s commitment to the separation of powers that safeguards our democratic values and individual liberties.

Judge Floyd’s opinion in the Padilla case actually echoed parts of an opinion written by notoriously conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, challenging the Bush administration to stay within in the law in its prosecution of terrorist suspects. It looks like even the conservative members of the judiciary are tired of being pushed around by the executive branch, and are starting to push back.


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