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September 06, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-09-06

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 6, 2005



Editor in Chief

Editorial Page Editors

Managing Editor


I'm sick of the
press conferences.
For God's sake,
shut up and send us
-Aaron Broussard, president of
Jefferson Parish in New Orleans, on NBC's
"Meet the Press" this past Sunday.


Scalia and

It certainly wasn't his job performance or his
PT Cruiser that got him promoted before even
starting his job, so what was it? His charming
smile and boyish good looks?
Snubbed a promotion by a president who
calls you his favorites for the new kid on
the block? Ouch.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, a U.S.
Supreme Court death and a lethal stampede
in Iraq, Natalie Holloway seems to also
have gone missing from the headlines.



Keep waiting

t's been 10 years
and two election
cycles since the
last vacancy on the
U.S. Supreme Court,
and when classes ended
this past April, the high
court was as tranquil as
it was a decade before.
Now, the most resil-
ient bench in Supreme
Court history is crum-
bling, and it's doing so on President Bush's
watch. GOP activists are billing this week's
U.S. Senate confirmation hearings as the begin-
ning of a sea change, a long-sought departure
from the activism-ridden doctrines of the War-
ren Court - a body of jurisprudence conserva-
tive scholars have been trying to dismantle for
more than three decades.
For conservatives, it's a perennially failing
effort, and in this light the last few decades of
Republican appointments are telling. There
were those convinced it would be Nixon who
would remodel the court. He filled four vacan-
cies, but the "Nixon Court" never took the
dramatic turn rightward that was anticipated,
instead carrying a relatively moderate posture
until it was shuffled in the '80s. The Reagan-
Bush era proved just as unprofitable. Between
the two presidents, there were five more
appointments; that's 12 years of conservative
stacking, the result being the bench in its most
recent - and for many conservatives - unsat-
isfactory form. If we've learned anything, it's
that the court is more insulated than it's been
given credit for, a president's ability to steer its
course questionable.
Then there's today's landscape. The presi-
dent has two vacancies and as many years to
fill them. He has an empty chief justice seat
and in John Roberts an ironclad nominee - a
foot soldier from the Reagan era with a gold-
platedresume and an inscrutable judicial phi-

losophy. To boot, he's got the most powerful
Senate majority in recent history prepared to
back his next pick. If a conservative judicial
revolution is at hand, there's no shortage of
warning signs.
But look closer. It goes without saying
that replacing the late chief justice, William
Rehnquist, with John Roberts will be nothing
less than an ideological wash, a zero-sum trad-
eoff unlikely to disturb the court's philosophi-
cal composition. But what of O'Connor? No
doubt she's out of favor in conservative circles,
widely perceived as a fence-sitter with danger-
ous liberal leanings. But these sentiments are
more a product of media rhetoric than of any
objective understanding of O'Connor's tenure.
Match her public profile with her last 24 years
of jurisprudence and the disparity is stark.
A comprehensive, issue-by-issue assess-
ment by the National Journal paints O'Connor
in a much different light. Though often the
deciding opinion, O'Connor swings right
much more frequently than left (and much
more predictably than most of her colleagues).
She camps with the federalism movement,
a school of thought committed to devolving
federal authority to the states, and the bulk
of her legal writings suggest a penchant for
judicial restraint. By any reasonable metric,
O'Connor is the most unappreciated conser-
vative on the bench.
The National Journal went a step further,
isolating key decisions where O'Connor tipped
the court by siding with a liberal majority,
cases that would presumably swing the other
way with a more reliable conservative on the
bench. The few decisions where O'Connor
turns coats are all extremely nuanced and,
not surprisingly, the very media blockbust-
ers that helped shape her misguiding public
persona. She floated left on religious displays
this July, siding with the liberals in ordering
the removal of a Ten Commandments display
in a Kentucky courthouse. But on the same

day, she sustained a Texas state appeal to
display similar religious monuments on state
capitol grounds. The difference, she said,
was circumstantial. She's joined liberals in
upholding partial birth abortion bans, but not
before leaving open other pathways for states
to restrict reproductive freedom. And as a key
vote in the Bollinger cases, she at once upheld
the University's right to use race as a factor in
admissions decisions and choked off any way
to institutionalize it. When O'Connor sides
with the left, she does it with caveats.
Compare these with the areas still out
of bounds for a 5-4 conservative majority.
National Journal research places the economic
rights imbedded in the Commerce Clause
- categorically, the most expansive and hotly
contested area of constitutional law - in untip-
pable territory, most requiring a six-justice
majority to unravel. E-Commerce. Health-
care. Privacy. Environmental regulation. The
court's interpretation of the scope of the Com-
merce Clause, namely the span of Congress's
reach in regulating interstate economic activ-
ity, will be the single most important factor in
shaping 21st century public policy. On top of
that, the National Journal rules out any sweep-
ing changes in criminal procedure - an entire
body of federal sentencing guidelines still
outside the reach of a 5-4 bench. Tack on civil
litigation, equal protection and congressio-
nal redistricting, and the true frontiers of the
'Rehnquist Court become apparent.
Whether or not conservatives can swallow it,
these boundaries were carved out, consolidated
and safeguarded by the same legal minds sent
into bulldoze them. This isn't the revolution,
and a marginally more conservative bloc on the
court will do little to shift its direction. If Bush
wants a lasting footprint on the federal judiciary,
he's going to need more than two fresh faces.


Singer can be reached
at singers@umich.edu.


Herrmann doesn't
understand how modern
college offenses work
I'm curious if Michigan defense coordi-
nator Jim Herrmann realizes that a college
football offense no longer consists of "three
yards and a cloud of dust." At least the inven-
tor of that offense, Bo Schembechler himself,
noticed it when interviewed in the press box!
Jeremy Segall
Unpaid Move-In
crew gets job done
I just wanted to take a moment to recognize
a group of people that I got to know very well
last week during move in. For six days, these
Move-In Makers spent their afternoons help-
ing hundreds of students move into Mary Mar-
kley Hall. Waiting in the heat of the day for the
next loaded van to pull up to the front doors
of Markley, they were always ready with a bin
and a smile to help another family move in.
What most students who move in don't realize
is that being a Move-In Maker is not a paid

position. As a co-coordinator of the Move-In
Makers at Markley, not even I was paid.
The volunteers of the afternoon crew were
freshmen, sophomores and even juniors
- most lived in Markley, but others lived in
South Quadrangle, Cambridge House at West
Quadrangle, Couzens Hall and even off-cam-
pus. These students oftentimes went without
thanks but they were always ready to find
bins in the halls, help move furniture around
in rooms and carry the empty boxes and trash
left scattered in the halls to the loading dock
for recycling.
These Move-In Makers went above and
beyond my expectations, and I wanted to rec-
ognize them for helping Markley successfully
move in. My afternoon crew - Paris, Thom-
as, Steve, the other Steve, Francis, Scott, Sara,
Nick, Brian, Mike, Chris, Elise, Sarah, Kath-
erine, Brian L., Liz, Michael, Jamie, Shaun,
Rachel S., Rachel T., Chris V., Dimitry, David
W., David X., Kris, Jan and Judy - thank
you. I also wanted to thank the morning crew
at Markley, who had already helped many
families by the time I arrived for my shift, as
well as all the Move-In Makers and coordina-
tors across campus who at one time or anoth-
er probably helped move you, the reader, into

your residence hall. My thanks also extends
to the building and maintenance staff, the
front desk staff, and the resident advisers at
Markley, as well as in all the residence halls,
for their help in making it another successful
year of Move-In at the University.
Monica Sendor
LSA sophomore
The letter writer was the co-coordinator of
Move-In Makers at Mary Markley Hall.

Welcome back and stay safe!

Welcome to the Ann Arbor campus!
Whether you are a first-year or returning
student, we'd like to welcome you to this
wonderful campus community.
As the director of the University's Depart-
ment of Public Safety, I work with a team of
police and safety officers who want you to
have a safe and successful year. There are
many actions that you can take to help keep
our campus safe.
Reports of violent crimes continue to be
infrequent, both on and off campus. How-
ever, one aggravated assault is too many.
Let's not become complacent. Try not to

belongings secure and with you at all times.
If you must leave your laptop or credit cards
behind, be sure to put them out-of-sight and
in a locked desk or cabinet. Never leave your
laptop, wallet or personal property unat-
tended on a library table, in a study room,
on the gym floor or by an open window. Be
sure your residence room or apartment doors
are locked - and don't prop open doors to
allow unauthorized people in your building.
Unfortunately, there are thieves waiting for
their opportunities.
Additionally, be responsible not only with
your property but also with yourself. When
you are socializing, do so with intelligence
to keep yourself safe. Be aware of the laws in

er you have a can of beer in your hand or in
your stomach. The law further requires that
police officers, especially on Michigan col-
lege campuses, enforce this law. But we don't
randomly stop students on the street for sus-
picion of alcohol use. Usually, the individuals
our officers arrest or cite for violation of the
minor in possession law have attracted our
attention with other crimes, such as property
vandalism or disorderly conduct. Do we want
to write MIP tickets? Is this some University
administration attempt to stop people from
having a good time? No and no. We don't
pick and choose which laws to enforce. We
are obligated to do our job, which is trying to
keep our community safe.

F . "S ' '' e I~l ~i77XSi- #,

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