The silence is deafening
This is truly astonishing. It's one day after the most universally reviled SCOTUS verdict in recent memory, essentially rescinding property rights, and the left-half of the blogosphere is still AWOL. They will no doubt teach this case in history classes years from now, but many liberals are silent because they can't figure out how to blame it on Bush.
Atrios at least acknowledged the ruling, and even put forth an extremely tepid and incomprehensible defense of it, although I confess it eludes me. He seems to be saying, "Yes, it's a bad decision, but it's a good thing the conservative side didn't win, because that would be, well, bad." I'm paraphrasing, of course, but that seems to be the gist of it. No arguments, no reasoning, he's just glad the "conservatives" didn't win. By all means, better for the government to seize your home and hand it over to Wal-Mart than to hand the Republicans a political victory.
What bugs liberals most about this case is that it validates conservative fears of activist courts utterly run amok (which the Schiavo case did not do, by the way.) They realize this, yet are unable to defend this egregious ruling on its merits, and are struck dumb and impotent as a result.
Contrary to what many readers have suggested in comments and e-mail, I do not assume that a Bush nominee to the Court will automatically improve the situation. Granted, all four dissenters were appointed by Republican presidents, but so were three of the five in the majority (Ford, Reagan and Bush.) To get an originalist or a strict constructionalist on the high court, being a Republican nominee may be a necessary condition, but is by no means a sufficient one.
That's one reason I want to jettison this unofficial moratorium on "litmus tests." The next judicial nominee to appear before the Senate needs to be grilled on the Kelo case and grilled hard. If that comprises a litmus test, then so be it.
The fight for future judicial nominees just became more important than I could have imagined even a month or two ago. We have to hold our president's feet to the fire to nominate true strict constructionists, and we have to apply as much political pressure as necessary to get them through the Senate.
Strict constructionists can deliver disappointing decisions too, of course, but at least you always know what you're getting -- someone who interprets the letter of the law in a very narrow fashion. If you don't like the verdicts, then change the law. But this kind of unrestrained activism should alarm everyone.
UPDATE: Today's editorial in the New York Times actually defends this abomination, under the headline "The Limits of Property Rights."
Get the subtext here? The Supreme Court majority was all about reasonable "limits," and if you balk at the notion that your home, which you worked for your entire life, can be taken away so that some luxury high-rise can be built, then you're some kind of crazed absolutist.