Wednesday, May 25, 2005

What's the Score?

After a major political occurence such as the filibuster showdown, one of the first things the punditocracy does is try to decide who are the winners and losers. In the all important team sport aspect of politics, the Republicans lost because the failed to accomplish what their base wanted the most -- not a successful vote on all of the Bush judges, but a humiliating defeat for the Democrats.

That is the conclusion that I draw from some of the commentary that I have seen such as the DJ Drummond post at Polipundit labeled, "Treachery!": "That any Republican would sign such an agreement, is betrayal of his party, his state, and his nation."

This exchange from the Rush Limbaugh program has the same tone:
SHEETS(Sen. Robert Byrd): We have kept it. We have kept the republic. We have lifted ourselves above politics --

RUSH: I want to puke.

The Democrats won less than a full victory. They are hampered by their obsession with abortion, the right to which no more appears in the constitution than the phrase "up or down vote." If they would make more of a fuss over other issues, such as Priscilla Owen's alleged ethical problems, they might have some success. Owen took money from Enron and Halliburton and then ruled in their favor:
Two notable past corporate-friendly cases ruled on by Owen involve very publicly known corporations – Halliburton and Enron – both of which had donated to Owen's judicial campaign. In the case of Sanchez v. Halliburton, a Halliburton field worker "won a $2.6 million verdict after the jury found that a company supervisor had framed him to test positive for cocaine." After an appeals court ruling overturned the verdict, Sanchez tried to bring the case to the Texas Supreme Court. In the months during which the case was before the Court, Halliburton made its only campaign donations to Texas Supreme Court justices that year, giving thousands of dollars to three justices: Priscilla Owen, Nathan Hect, and Alberto Gonzales. Result: the court declined to hear the case and the ruling overturning Sanchez's case stood. In Enron Corp. v. Spring Independent School District, Owen "authored the opinion for a unanimous court [decision] that … saved Enron $225,000 and resulted in lost revenue for the school district."

If Owen stays at the appeals level, she will never have the final say on an abortion case, but she often will in more mundane cases involving lawsuits and regulations and the like.

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