Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What's at stake

A half-century ago William Buckley observed that conservatives’ role in the political world is to stand athwart history yelling, “STOP!” Though conservatives have failed more than we would like to admit in stemming the rise of the state, the present situation offers us an opportunity to at least stop the activism of the Courts, an activism that allows the left to institute policies by judicial fiat that it otherwise could not legislatively, and which further erodes the value of the Constitution.

The difference in judicial philosophy was highlighted over a week ago in the debate between Justice Scalia and Justice Breyer over the role that foreign judicial decisions should have, if any, over US Supreme Court jurisprudence. Sclia argued that they had absolutely no relevance; Breyer argued that they could at least inform the Court’s actions. Here, in a nutshell, is the heart of the debate between those who believe that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the original intent of its Framers, and those who believe that the Constitution is a “living, breathing document” that should easily adjust to the times, and that court decisions ought to include extra-constitutional factors. In other words, it is a battle between those who believe in eternal standards and the rule of law and proponents of a standardless, ever-evolving and inconsistent judicial tyranny.

Chief Justice John Marshal wrote that our Constitution and respect for its customs made us a nation of law and not of men. George Bush and the Republican-controlled Senate must do all within their power to guarantee the appointments of men and women to the Courts who will uphold our Consitution and not invert Marshall’s words. There is nothing less at stake in this battle over judicial nominations than the continuance of our nation as a respecter of the rule of law.


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