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Thursday, 31 January 2013 12:16

Ruling the US by a GOP Judicial Coup: Justice Blinded by the Right

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF TRUTHOUT AT BUZZFLASH                scotus75  Supreme Court

Yesterday, we wrote a piece on the long-term and devastating impact of the right-wing GOP increasing control over the federal judiciary.  It is a toxic impact that will last for decades, as Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit David Sentelle has shown.

The BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary, "Republican Federal Judge David Sentelle: How the GOP Has Packed the Courts With Partisan Hacks," explains a bit of background on how Sentelle has carried out GOP political objectives through the federal courts since 1985 – and since 1987 on the DC appellate court in a way that has negatively changed the course of US history.

As further background on the Republican federal bench coup (remember it resulted in on a Supreme Court mandated stolen election in 2000), BuzzFlash is reaching back into its early days and providing some context through David Brock, now head of Media Matters.

In 2002, BuzzFlash was one of the foremost promoters of a repentant David Brock. At that time, Brock had written a mea culpa book, "Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative," recounting how he had been a journalistic hit man for the extreme right.  Indeed, Brock had been instrumental in igniting the Whitewater and Troopergate stories as a means for the Republicans to pursue the eventual impeachment of Bill Clinton.  Brock "reported" for the American Spectator, a right wing attack publication largely financed by Richard Mellon Scaife, who was sort of a one man Koch Brothers in the '90s.

In short, Brock was a key scribe for what was known as "The Arkansas Project," the right wing financed effort to drive Bill Clinton from office despite being elected by the voters of America for two terms.  Brock called it a "contract on Clinton" that included his early articles about Paula Jones that stirred up the Ken Starr lynch mob after the Whitewater findings -- the original purpose of the independent counsel -- ended with the exoneration of the Clintons, who had actually lost money on the deal.

Due to growing doubts about the motives and veracity of his sponsors – and his coming out as gay at a time when the Republicans were bashing homosexuals with a truncheon of virulent hate, Brock evolved into regarding them as conspiratorialists attempting to undermine democracy.   

However, some progressives were wary of Brock's conversion and doubted that he was sincere.  After several conversations with Brock, it became clear to BuzzFlash that he was the real thing: a political journalistic hired gun who had seen the light.  We posted interviews with Brock about the book and helped ease doubts about his transformation and epiphany.

That brings us to David Sentelle and Laurence Silberman, both federal judges on the DC appellate court (although Silberman is now on senior status).  They ensured that Ken Starr had a free rein to ride rough shod over the Constitution and federal investigative standards in his successful effort to impeach Clinton.

Judge Silberman, along with his wife (right-wing shill Ricky), was an active proponent of removing Clinton from office, even while he ruled – when he should have recused himself -- on motions regarding Starr's runaway investigation.  

That is what brings us to a heavily highlighted personal copy of "Blinded by the Right" that I used in my interviews with David Brock -- and what it reveals about how the right wing has devastated democracy by key federal appointments beginning with Nixon, but accelerating to the code red stage with Reagan.

Regarding the key role Sentelle played in appointing Starr and letting him run as wild as a feral wolf without any legal leash, Brock wrote in 2002:

Though the post [of overseeing the independent counsel] usually went to more senior judges, in 1992 Rehnquist [the Chief Justice appointed by Reagan who had his own racist baggage] named DC Circuit Court Judge David Sentelle to head the panel that appoints independent counsels.  A Reagan appointee who named his daughter Reagan after the president…Sentelle was a hard-line right-winger.  In…1991…Sentelle accused "leftist heretics" of attempting to turn the United States into a "collectivist, egalitarian, materialistic, race-conscious, hypersecular, socially permissive state." (BuzzFlash inserted italics.)

As BuzzFlash at Truthout noted yesterday, the silent coup taking place in the United States is the hijacking of the United States Constitution by a right wing federal bench. It has been put into place with coordinated Senate/Republican executive branch strategy (when there are GOP presidents) that will shape the US for years to come.

As Brock wrote in "Blinded by the Right" in 2002, it was the goal of the Reagan administration and subsequent Republican presidents and majority and minority GOP Senate caucus members "to force a right-wing economic and social agenda on the country by judicial fiat."   Indeed, it is the right wing that adopted the role of judicial activism that usurped legislative and executive rights under the Constitution.  "Judicial conservatism," Brock wrote, "was abandoned by these right-wing judicial extremists."

The US will continue to pay the price for countless years to come.

(Photo: S.E.B.)