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Cutting the Court

by on February 1, 2011

Glimpsing inside Charles Schumer’s mind is a disturbing prospect. But, as with an open wound, one is sometimes intrigued to see how gruesome the interior is. Gross things can be informative.

Take his recent CNN appearance, where he offered a moment of inadvertently revealing loquaciousness. Chuck Nasty’s verbal gaffe said more about how he thinks than the garrulous senator would like to reveal:

So I would urge my Republican colleagues no matter how strongly they feel. You know, we have three branches of government: we have a House, we have a Senate, we have a president, and all three of us are gonna have to come together…

Something’s missing.  Not to contradict someone who works for the government, but he may have double-counted something, too.  In New York’s senior senator’s defense, that’s still too many branches for Thomas Friedman’s liking. But until we outsource running our nation to China, we’re stuck with checks and balances.

He may be interested to learn that one-third of them are represented by those nine legal geezers who can rule that the other two actual federal subdivisions are ignoring the Constitution they’re sworn to defend as well as protect or support.

Of course, Schumer just said it wrong. It’s understandable when someone misspeaks on live, unscripted television, even when the verbal error is made by a camera whore who should know what he’s saying.

On the other hand, the howls and head-shaking from liberals would never cease if George W. Bush or Sarah Palin had flubbed in such a Schumeresque manner. Palin would additionally be accused of cleverly disguising words to trigger attacks by lunatics who never pay attention to her.

But Schumer’s history of promoting meddlesome policies makes his honest error interesting. After all, he is known above all for working to seize upon sensationalist news stories and ban anything that could be marginally dangerous, such as products that, say, dopes ingest to get high. In his defense, he clearly doesn’t have anything better to do than hassle budget-minded faux crackheads.

His excessive time and wandering mind also combine to explain why he strove to encourage the obnoxiously annoying Four Loko ban without so much as scheduling a vote. Reducing our options by passing laws is such a hassle. Why else would we have an FDA?

On a related note, it would be easier to dismiss Schumer’s inaccurate statement as an innocuous accident if he wasn’t a supporter of clamping down upon that annoying filibuster. He doesn’t want irksome roadblocks like rules or procedures interfering with his progressive vision.

Schumer’s Supreme Court-excising lapse isn’t the type of government reduction Tea Partiers have in mind. Of course, he would be happy deep down with a single branch of government consisting of one senator elected only by New York State residents. That way, he could be in charge and not even have to bother with making his case on television, although that wouldn’t stop him from appearing at press conferences.

It goes without saying that Schumer merely committed a verbal slip-up, and we can credit him with just possibly actually knowing that the national judiciary exists. But he’s still rueful that it does. He’ll change his opinion if Antonin Scalia retires this year.

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