Bush makes mischief on "activist judges"

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When President Bush rails against "activist judges" these days in support of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the word mischief-maker comes to mind.

The president is fully aware that the issue has no chance of clearing Congress, let alone winning approval of three fourths of the states. Even zealous Republicans in the Senate agree.

His motives are transparent. First, he wants to demonstrate to social conservatives in the GOP that he is with them and not a lame duck. And with November elections loooming, he wants to fortify the Republican base and dare Democrats to vote against an issue easy to demagogue.

The dominant theme of the president's recent speech was that judges were guilty of "legislating" from the bench on this issue. It is a favorite line of his in naming judges who are strict constructionists of the Constitution–as he sees it.

One wonders what Bush, if he were president at the time, would have said about judges in 1954 when the high court, headed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, voted 9 to 0 to end segregation in public schools. Bush was only 8 at the time.

Critics of that decision went on a rampage. Warren was accused of everything from high treason to race mixing. By today's measure, the Warren court was activist on several other issues as well.

The point here is that Bush seems to differ with the reality that our founders considered the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government as co-equals. Bush has made it clear since coming to office that he regards the legislature as a nuisance. His vice president, Dick Cheney, has pointedly admitted disdain for Congress, even though he served there.

Now, the executive is after the other branch.

Mr. President, you can continue to harp on this issue, but there is not going to be any constitutional amendment. Sadly, you know it but don't care, if it scores political points.