July 23, 2005

"The Dread Pirate Roberts."

Oscar: "The only hope for us liberals is that Roberts has been cagily angling for this Supreme Court job his whole professional life."

UPDATE: Why isn't the best hope for liberals that a diligent, neutrally principled, brilliant, skilled judge would interpret the Constitution to mean what you think it does? Do you really think the liberal outcomes are produced only by liberal political leanings? I notice that the Justices who disappoint the Presidents who chose them were -- in recent times -- all appointed by conservatives, yet you liberals don't even bother to argue that the reason the drift goes to the left is because that's where honest, legitimate interpretation takes you. You would think we'd hear that argument all the time, and yet we don't! I mean, just as a political argument, it's good. But might it perhaps be true -- you know, that the Constitution really does guarantee our liberties?


Ron said...

Now, I've got the image of Peter Cook saying "Marriage..." like Elmer Fudd stuck in my head, thanks to this posting!

Gerry said...

Before that argument could be well made, one would need to demonstrate that the leftward drift of the court has also been a drift towards protecting our liberties.

I think it is a dubious assertion.

John Jenkins said...

It's a flatly wrong assertion. Kelo had to tell us that, even though it was really just following precedent. The fact that it *was* following precedent should tell us something about the effect of the leftward drift of the court (that people on the left will deny utterly, showing only where they are, not where the court is. Admittedly, that shows the court is to my left and moving away, but I'm not particularly conservative in the American political sense).

Reggie said...

Constitutional interpretation during the last 50 years, and perhaps always, has been more predictable by looking at academic and elitist thought at the time rather than the Constitution's text. Perhaps that is how it was meant to be, after all, the founders were believers in natural law. The liberal Republican court phenomenon is due to the fact that Republicans weren't necessarily conservative until Reagan came along. It's taken 20 years for the movement to grow up.

And as far as the stealth angle to Roberts goes, I think it is a pretty good sign of Roberts' conservativism that every uber-conservative that has worked with Roberts says not to worry. I'm thinking particularly of Hugh Hewitt and several other inside Washington types.

jvg1249 said...

So, Reggie, you're saying Goldwater was chopped liver? I don't think it's accurate to say the Goldwater wing of the Republican Party disappeared, anymore than I think it's accurate to say that Reagan was truly a conservative -- why were there Reagan Democrats?

No, I think Ann hit it on the head. The morning after a newly minted Justice goes to work must by quite an "a ha!" moment. The USSC does protect our liberties -- maybe not perfectly -- but it must still be a sobering moment in one's life. And the consequent pull to the left must, indeed, be strong.

Gerry said...

"why were there Reagan Democrats?"

Because there are conservative Democrats.

I know it is a hard to understand phenomenon, but polls repeatedly bear it out. About 1/3 of all self-described conservatives are either Democrats or leaning Democratic.

However, the percentage is shrinking, and has been since, well, Reagan.

Greg D said...

It's a lovely argument, it's just not true.

And, its only lovely when you think the Constitution is protecting a "liberty" that you value.

I think the Constitution protects the "liberty" of having the laws that We the People think best, rather than the laws the law professors think best. The liberty of having a vote that matters, rather than having a junta of nine would-be dictators who get to dictate our laws to us.

"Liberals" prefer the dictatorship of the junta. I don't know how much of that is because they just hate democracy, and how much is because they don't' care about anything but getting their own way, but, whatever the reason, the past 50 years have shown it to be so.

For that matter, I like the liberty of Federalism. Having most laws decided at the State or Local level, and getting to move where the laws suit me. "Liberals", OTOH, worship Federal power above all other, and want to force one set of rules on everyone.

Is it true that the only valid definition of "liberty" is "the Federal Government prevents everyone from having laws on certain subjects"? Because that's the only kind of liberty the Supreme Court can "give".

IMHO, it's one thing when "We the People" have decided that such a ruling should be made. It's an entirely different thing when 5 members of a junta decide to force that on the rest of us just because they think they have the power to get away with it.

Greg D said...

Some more thoughts on liberty. Let's consider some actions that the Supreme Court could take to expand "liberty" (defined as people's right to act as they chose, instead of how other people chose). Here's some laws the Supreme Court could strike down:

Minimum wage (which prohibits you from taking a job paying less than a certain amount).

Anti-discrimination laws (which are huge impositions on people's right to chose as they wish, and a clear case of legislating morality).

Closed Shop laws, the force people to join, or pay, a union in order to work somewhere.

I could go on, for a long time, but I think the point is made. Liberty, like justice, and fairness, are terms whose meaning is often entirely political. It is you personal beliefs about right and wrong that define what is fair, or just.

Do I like the idea of 50% + 1 deciding what is right or wrong? No.

But that's infinitely better than having 5 of 9 Supreme Court "Justices" doing the deciding for us.

Every judge swears an oath to follow the US Constitution. If there's something written in there that says that being on the Supreme Court gives you the right to impose your morality on the American People, I've missed it. Lacking that, "Justices" who do so anyway are Oath Breakers, too.

Being ruled by people who have to violate their Oath of Office in order to become rulers is even worse than just being ruled by unelected and unaccountable dictators.

But that's what we've got, that's what the "Liberals" want us to have, and that's what you're defending.