Saturday, May 12, 2007

Democrats Debate

A Hillary supporter debates an Obama voter in this amusing video.


That Eminent Tribunal

My friend Jason is a historian who recently came across this quote which he thoughtfully shared with me. Who do you think said it (Hint: It was an American president):

"At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court ... the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal."

The words are those of Abraham Lincoln in his First Inaugural Address, in which The Great Emancipator is referring to the Dred Scott case that affirmed that slaves were the lawful property of their masters. What Lincoln said about the Supreme Court in his day could easily be said of courts in general in our own.

One salient difference between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives believe judges and justices should rule based on what the law says as much as possible, whereas liberals tend to believe that courts should act to make law if the legislature is too slothful in doing so. This is called "legislating from the bench," and it's the major political point of contention whenever President Bush appoints jurists to the federal bench or the Supreme Court.

Republicans want to be sure that the nominee will respect the Constitution and decide based on what that document actually says, whereas liberals want to be sure that the nominee will feel free to rule in ways that suit their progressive inclinations regardless of what the law and the Constitution say.

Thus, liberals will not vote, for example, to confirm a judge who believes that Roe v. Wade was a bad judicial decision. It doesn't matter to them that there's nothing in the Constitution to support Roe. Society needs abortion on demand, and it would never, it was apparent in 1973, be legalized by the legislature. So, in the liberals' view, it was perfectly appropriate for the Supreme Court to circumvent Congress and each of the state legislatures and grant women the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Roe is just one example. The left, recognizing that the people's representatives would be unlikely to enact a leftist agenda through the process established by the Constitution, would be delighted to have us "resign our government into the hands of that eminent tribunal."