Favorite

Give Huckabee liberal judges 

Has anyone else noticed that Gov. Mike Huckabee is pleading for activist liberal judges who would make rather than interpret law? And that his lawyer in this exercise of powerful irony is a stalled George W. Bush nominee to a federal judgeship? My reason for bringing this up, other than amusement value, is to advance the point that partisan rhetoric in the area of judicial activism is often built on a hollow foundation. Conservatives don't oppose liberal judges for being activist; they oppose them for actively ordering things the conservatives don't like. But let's say you could turn that around ... You are aware that the Arkansas Supreme Court declared the Arkansas public schools inadequate and inequitable and ordered a legislative remedy by Jan. 1. You are aware that Huckabee made the issue all about high school consolidation. You are aware that his was a brave and correct initiative, but one not specifically addressed by the court order. You are aware that the legislature failed to meet the deadline, then passed a measure for administrative consolidation of school districts with fewer than 350 students. You are aware that the governor found the number too low, got huffy and participated no further in the debate even as a highly touted new school funding formula and a one-cent increase in the sales tax were passed by unilateral legislative initiative. You are aware that the Supreme Court, huffy itself that its deadline got missed, re-invoked the jurisdiction it had previously surrendered. Then it appointed two former justices to be "masters" to assess the legislative actions and report to the court on whether they measured up to the court order. As Attorney General Mike Beebe was preparing to do his constitutional duty to defend the state's actions and its principal officers, Huckabee announced that he wanted his own lawyer. He said he didn't think Beebe, or anyone, could simultaneously represent defendants of such divergent positions as this governor and this Legislature. Huckabee hired Leon Holmes, a conservative lawyer and anti-abortion zealot whose pending nomination by Bush to a federal judgeship - where he could impose some conservative activism - has been blocked. A moderate Republican senator, Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, got unnerved by some of Holmes' writings about how a man was to be the boss of the woman in the household, in the way the church is the bride of Christ. Beebe's office is arguing before the masters that the legislative actions were bold, substantial and equal to court assignment. Joining that opinion are the Benton and Rogers school districts, whose hired expert told the masters the other day that he'd never seen a set of new education policy initiatives so extensive as those enacted in our recent marathon special session by our gubernatorially abandoned and term-limited legislators. But Holmes, as Huckabee's personal lawyer, argued for the governor against the state. Holmes told the masters the legislative actions weren't good enough without more significant consolidation of school districts. Holmes and Huckabee want the masters to recommend that the Supreme Court impose more consolidation, presumably either by pre-emptive fiat or direct command to the legislature. While a meritorious public policy initiative, what Huckabee and Holmes request is nowhere mentioned in the court case. So, this Republican governor and his Bush-nominated attorney effectively want the court to usurp the legislative branch and make a different law from the one arising from the people's representative democracy. An activist court encroaching on the legislative branch's constitutional responsibility to make laws is a bad thing, you see, unless, that is, you happen to agree with what the court encroaches to impose. Again, modern American politics turns out to be more about momentary convenience than abiding principle. Finally, activist judges and glaring philosophical inconsistencies aren't really necessary here. The new funding formula and another measure called the Omnibus Quality Education Act would effect the consolidation Huckabee seeks, if he'll simply hold his horses and tell his Education Department to do its job.
Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated itsĀ 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in John Brummett

  • Gone to the DoG

    We're now longer carrying John Brummett's column in this space.
    • Oct 12, 2011
  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Another Jesus

    If you follow the logic of Jason Rapert and his supporters, God is very pleased so many have donated money to rebuild a giant stone slab with some rules on it. A few minutes on Rapert's Facebook page (if he hasn't blocked you yet) also shows his supporters believe that Jesus wants us to lock up more people in prison, close our borders to those in need and let poor Americans fend for themselves for food and health care.
  • Pay attention

    If anyone thinks that a crisis with the Power Ultra Lounge shooting, then he hasn't been paying attention to Little Rock.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Pay attention

    • Nicely said, Antwan.

    • on July 20, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Sounds like maybe some of those descriptors hit a little close to home for you.

    • on July 20, 2017
  • Re: Another Jesus

    • Oh, please. Just a teensy bit self-righteous aren't you. You are. How do you KNOW…

    • on July 20, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation