05 July 2005

Supreme "uniters"?

Arlen Specter thinks that whoever Bush nominates to the Supreme Court ought to be a uniter. We don't want someone from the extreme left because that judge won't "unite" us. Neither do we want someone from the extreme right because, again, that judge won't "unite" us. Okay. Get Specter off the Judiciary Committee: he has no idea what the heck a judge does!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What in the world does he mean by this garbage about "uniting"? There are Liberals in this republic; and there are Conservative in this republic. (There are also those other people who think they are Moderate, which only means they have not the courage to confess that they are liberals. But I digress.) What does a "uniter" do? Make liberals cease to be liberals? Make conservatives cease to be conservatives? If judges are going to be "uniters", who in the world is actually going to decide cases under the law?

Here is what is united in this country: the states who created this union. Let me say that again: the states created the union. And what unites the states is the agreement to "hang together" under terms specified in the Constitution, a Constitution which the states freely ratified.

Whatever the answer, I don't not want "uniters" on the courts. I want originalists; I want judges who know what the heck a law is, specifically in a republic. And in a republic--our republic, anyway--a law is created by act of a legistlative body, approved and carried into effect by an executive. In a republic, the courts do not pass judgment on the wisdom of the people and/or their elected representatives, deciding what the law should really be; they decide whether the law--as created by the legislature--has been followed. And in a republic, courts don't do this very well when they are allowed to declare themselves empowered to alter the definitons of words in the laws, thus changing (i.e., amending) the laws. In a republic, the only body who changes the laws is the same body that created those laws: the legislature.

And I also believe that in a republic, the citizens ought to question whether their judges ought to resolve issues by recourse to "settled" legal principle. Judicial review is "settled" principle. The "incorporation" doctrine (i.e., the 14th amendment applies the Bill of Rights against the states) is "settled" principle. And who says so? Why a handful of members of the legal community. But when did we cede to the legal community the priviledge of "settling" things for us?


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James Frank Solís
Former soldier (USA). Graduate-level educated. Married 26 years. Texas ex-patriate. Ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.
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