Today a lawyer I know sent me a link to this article, Our Fill-in-the-Blank Constitution. Our Fill-in-the-Blank Constitution is an oped the New York Times that defends President Barack Obama’s recent remarks on his criteria for a nominee to the Supreme Court. Here is how it begins.
AS the Senate awaits the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice, a frank discussion is needed on the proper role of judges in our constitutional system. For 30 years, conservative commentators have persuaded the public that conservative judges apply the law, whereas liberal judges make up the law. According to Chief Justice John Roberts, his job is just to “call balls and strikes.” According to Justice Antonin Scalia, conservative jurists merely carry out the “original meaning” of the framers. These are appealing but wholly disingenuous descriptions of what judges — liberal or conservative — actually do.
Considering the context provided by our times, I find the article just one more cause for despair. When is the Liberal news media going to give up on Obama!?
What Geoffrey R. Stone does is “argue” for his cause based upon the imperfection of humanity. As he sees it, Conservative judges imperfectly interpret the Constitution. Therefore, Stone sees it as okay for others to interpret the Constitution to the advantage of their own personal beliefs.
Here is the definition of disingenuous.
dis·in·gen·u·ous /ˌdɪsɪnˈdʒɛnyuəs/ [dis-in-jen-yoo-uhs] –adjective
lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous; insincere: Her excuse was rather disingenuous.
Stone did not like what Roberts said so he attacked him personally.
What follows is something I borrowed from here.
Consider the following table.
THING REASON AN EXAMPLE WRONG WRONG Stealing from a neighbor. RIGHT WRONG Obeying the law because a of the fear of punishment WRONG RIGHT Stealing from the rich to give to the poor. RIGHT RIGHT Giving to those in need.
The table shows four options.
- If we do something wrong for the wrong reason, we have done something evil. When greed motivates us to steal from a neighbor, for example, that is a wholly evil act.
- If we do the right thing for the wrong reason, society notices no wrong, but God knows the nature of our intent. Unless we learn to love our neighbors as we love ourself, only the fear of punishment stops us from abusing each other.
- If we do the wrong thing for the right reason, we corrupt our good intentions. We act in the belief that the end justifies the means.
- If we do the right thing for the right reason, then we act in accordance with the Golden Rule.
We don’t require empathy from judges. We require people with the objectivity to set aside their personal preferences. We require firm adherence to a strict code of honor. We require people who understand the consequences of not doing the right thing for the right reason.
- When judges do the wrong thing for the wrong reason, instead of interpreting the Law, they themselves discard the Law.
- When judges do the right thing for the wrong reason, when there is no one to keep them honest, they cannot be trusted.
- When judges do the wrong thing for the right reason, instead of interpreting the Law, they become the Law.
- Only when judges do the right thing for the right reason can we remain a nation of free men and women under the rule of Law.
Empathy is nice, but I want my children and grandchildren to retain their liberty. So I will settle for a judge who is at least trying to do his job.
Is it always easy to apply the Constitution as its writers intended? No, but Liberal judges too often don’t even try. That is why we must rigorously oppose Obama’s judicial philosophy.