Jewish Journal


November 3, 2010

General election hangover


The election is over and now the mop up begins. Just as President Obama and the Democrats did two years ago, the Republicans recaptured the house on a platform of change. Sadly, I’m not optimistic that things are going to get better.

There are a lot of religion stories in the wake of last night’s winners and losers—losers like Prop. 19 and those neo-Nazis running for minor office in the IE. I be happy about the latter but not the former.

The RNS Blog has a good wrap-up of all things religion emanating from Tuesday night. You can check out the full list of links—there are a lot—here. I’d just like to point out a few:

—Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, a former spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America, lost her Tea Party-fueled Senate bid, 57 to 40. ...

—South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, a Republican daughter of Indian immigrants who faced questions about her Christian conversion, won her race for governor, 51 to 47.

—Louisiana Sen. David Vitter won another term in the Senate, 57 to 38, despite his “very serious sin” with a D.C. madam three years ago. Voters appeared hesitant to cast the first stone, and hey, in Louisiana, who can blame them?

—Three members of the Iowa Supreme Court who voted last year to legalize same-sex marriage were thrown out of office, a move that supporters called a message of “We the people,’ not ‘We the courts,’” and opponents called “most unfortunate.” Keep an eye on similar moves in other states.

Nikki Haley and Christine O’Donnell are no strangers to this blog. But that last line about the Iowa Supreme Court is interesting.

You may recall when the state’s high court said limiting marriage as something between a man and woman was unconstitutional. What you may not remember, especially if you’re not from California, is that even on the Left Coast, where state Supreme Court justices must be “retained,” as three were yesterday, we have ousted a few who were perceived as too liberal. Former Chief Justice Rose Bird, removed in 1986 along with two other justices strongly opposed to capitol punishment, remain the most notable casualties.

But don’t expect a push to remove U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker anytime soon. (He’s the judge who deemed Prop. 8 unconstitutional.) Federal judges have lifetime appointments. You may not always, or even often, agree with their rulings, but I certainly prefer this approach because it makes them less susceptible to the whims of supporters and more capable of being the unbiased arbiters they have sworn to be.

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