Bill Roper (billroper) wrote,
Bill Roper
billroper

Bush and the Supreme Court

In response to yesterday's post, folkmew asked what I thought about the justices that Bush might nominate to the Supreme Court. I answered there, but figured I'd copy it up to the front.

Bush has promised to nominate judges who are "strict constructionists". I believe that he should be held to that promise.

Now, what does that phrase mean? To my mind, this means a judge will read the text of the Constitution and the text of the law and attempt to reconcile them. He will not arbitrarily discard bits and pieces of either that don't fit his personal belief structure. He will consult the legislative record and the record of the original Constitutional convention if he has doubts about what a particular section is meant to do.

Sidebar: much of what we refer to as "the politics of personal destruction" can be traced back to the defeated Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork. This is a sad thing, because Bork's own statements make it trivial to defeat him on his merits. One of the things that he said was that the Ninth Amendment was like an inkblot and that judges were not permitted to make up what was under it.

But here's the text of the amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

I can't think of an amendment that's inherently more important. The Bill of Rights did not limit our rights; it merely spells some of them out because they had been particularly abused recently.

And Bork should have been defeated because of this.

The other important point in judicial nominations is the concept of stare decisis, that appropriate respect should be paid to existing case law and that it should not be overturned without compelling reason.

I believe that these are the important questions that the Judiciary Committee and the Senate should ask of Bush's Supreme Court nominees. If they are held to these standards, I believe that we will have little to fear.
Tags: musings, politics
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