Sunday, June 08, 2008

Gamer Sandy D follows up on Grand Theft POTUS

Above you have Justice and Mr. O'Connor with Dubyah just after she announced her retirement in 2005. Claudia Parsons of Reuters reports Retired Supreme Court Justice Unveils Video Game: Free online 'Our Courts' game is designed to teach kids about the judicial system where Justice O'Connor was quoted as follows:
"In recent years I've become increasingly concerned about vitriolic attacks by some members of Congress, some members of state legislatures and various private interest groups ... on judges. ... We hear a great deal about judges who are activists -- godless, secular, humanists trying to impose their will on the rest of us."
Wired's Chris Baker shares Sandra Day O'Connor: Game Designer and provides the following:
O'Connor said that the No Child Left Behind act of 2001 has "effectively squeezed out civics education" from public schools. "We can't forget that the primary purpose of public schools in America is to produce citizens who have the skills and knowledge to sustain our form of government," she said. "Public education is the only longterm solution to preserving an independent judiciary and constitutional democracy."
Certainly Justice O'Connor is worthy of praise for lending a hand as relates to publicity and the like for this effort. I'd have loved to have had such a promising tool as Our Courts when I was in the trenches teaching civics.

Yet I wonder if I'd have had time given the reality of trying to teach in the testing driven climate that I fled. According to Bu$hCo and others in the "accountability" camp, educational results must be measurable. I regret that high stakes testing controls pretty much everything one does as an educator. Your decision in 2000 was but one step in the march toward where we are today in education. Seriously, bringing the false "Texas Miracle" to DC is a consequence of your vote and also the conservative tradition that helped bring you to the Supreme Court.

However, I'm also steamed that Justice O'Connor expresses disappointment over attacks on judges. She's reaping what she's sown I'd offer. And which party/philosophy frequently uses labels of "activist judges" Justice O'Connor? John McCain is using that language even now! Hot Tub Tom DeLay and other right wing nut jobs rely on this construct regularly. I can accept the argument that Bu$hCo and the GOP are the ones truly pushing for activism from the bench however. The fact that five of the Supremes, some that even claim to be in the State's Rights camp, told Florida to stop counting votes seemed rather activist to me.

There's also some truth to the clear conflict of interest that Sandra Day O'Connor, among others, had in the Bu$h vs. Gore case. She had told people she very much wanted to retire and would do so only under a GOP President. She was visibly upset upon hearing early reports that Al Gore had won. Her reputation as a reasonable swing vote was trashed by her own judicial activism in 2000.

Doing good work now is appreciated yet if Sandra Day O'Connor really wanted to create change she'd talk openly and plainly about her alleged concerns. She's be able to speak I'd think with some weight behind her if she'd do the right thing. But the right thing goes way beyond videogames. John Gunn

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