Skip to comments.SCOTUS shmotis? - (most SCOTUS opinions on Bush nominees coming from political windbags!)
Posted on 07/21/2005 8:56:04 PM PDT by CHARLITE
For those not news junkies, the overwhelming majority, SCOTUS is the acronym for Supreme Court of the United States. As to getting excited about the coming debate over the latest appointment to this bench, most people's reaction is SCOTUS shmotis.
I'm what some partisans of absolutist positions might call wishy-washy on their issues. I prefer to call my attitude rooted in absolute principles and then seeking their practical application. To just take three of the hottest buttons:
Abortion is not an absolute "right." It is the taking of a life. I agree with my traditional Jewish laws that allow it in only the extreme case of saving the mother's life. I've seen too many supposedly "handicapped" children and adults live decent lives and even excel, and seen too many obsessed Einstein-Olympian-seeking moms drive themselves and their kids nuts, to accept the casualness of many abortion decisions.
For example, the Wednesday-morning newspaper reports a study of 219 inner-city births of very premature children (weights of 2.2 pounds or less) occurring between 1992 and 1995, following their progress until school age. The headline says, "Disabilities common among children born very prematurely, study says." That was certainly enough to catch my eye and scare the heck out of me.
However, reading the details, it seems the so-called disabilities included asthma, slower learners and social difficulties, not exactly having two heads. Further, the rate of these occurring was in the 20 to 30 percent range and about two to three times their occurrence in full-term babies of similar backgrounds.
In other words, in my opinion, the results of this study, the lives of these children, hardly merits the status of major calamity justifying abortion (http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050720/news_1n20preemies.html).
Life, to me, is about each of us being individually differing, like the leaves on a tree. There is nothing wrong with requiring at least several days contemplation and counseling before taking such a life-ending step as abortion. There is nothing wrong with a minor child being required to consult her parents, unless the court finds the parents abusive.
Possession of all firearms is not an absolute right, but restrictions must be very well justified. Common-sense limitations do apply of keeping them out of the hands of felons and others proven dangerous. Waiting periods to vet the purchaser are not undue. Severe laws against their criminal possession or use are proper. Machine guns may be a justified possession constitutionally, for collecting, or for the fun of firing, but subject to adequate safeguards from negligent use. Justifying their possession for wild-game hunting is ludicrous.
National security is another issue that requires some leavening. Again looking at my morning newspaper, I see a report on a hearing at the Richmond Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The issue is whether a U.S. citizen, captured on U.S. soil, for national-security crimes committed abroad, is entitled to ordinary U.S. jurisprudence protections and process or is more leniently holdable as an enemy combatant. Personally, for the sanctity of U.S. citizenship rights, I lean toward the former, as there are other national-security provisions that could protect validly sensitive info or intel (http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20050720/news_1n20preemies.html).
None of the above opinions held by me are as informed as the experts testifying in a court case, especially by the time it reaches the U.S. Supreme Court. None of these opinions held by me cause a close-minded outcome to consideration of the particular details of an actual case. More important is what process of deliberation I follow, to be adequately competent and fair.
William Stuntz, law professor at Harvard Law School, writing in The New Republic's generally liberal pages, expresses my view. I recommend this article for those who don't want to see the SCOTUS nomination degenerate into the mud-slinging that appears probable.
The correct approach that the U.S. Senate should take - that it owes the American people - in its exercise of its constitutional advice and consent role to approval of the new Supreme Court justice is to check into the nominee's legal reasoning power, rather than into his conjectured decisions on cases not yet heard. Many Supreme Court justices have ruled very differently on the bench than was expected by partisans before their confirmation.
" ... federal judges, especially the ones who decide appeals, are supposed to give reasons for their bottom lines. The reasons are the check - they are the only thing that keeps judges from writing their own preferences into the law. ... The politics of judicial selection and confirmation becomes ... more about bottom lines with every new appointment. ... If (senators) want to do justice to the next justice - and to the people the next justice will serve - they would do well to skip all the up-or-down questions. Instead ask Roberts what law is about, what constitutional law is about, and what the difference is. Ask him when the framers' intent should govern and when precedent should control. Ask him what might lead him to change his mind - not about bottom lines, but about his preferred theories" (http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?pt=R0ab1JbLkDBy%2BO23uLMRYA%3D%3D).
In other words, the integrity of our legal processes is more important than transitory likes and dislikes. The integrity of our thinking is more important than our transitory impulses. The traits of judiciousness are what we seek and deserve in a Supreme Court justice, not a politician wavering with shifting breezes, or windbags.
As you hear the various politicians, partisans and windbags over the next few months, this is a pretty good test of whether each has the Constitution in mind.
Otherwise, the speaker is more interested in something else, and that is outside the proper scope of senatorial advice and consent, and does not as well serve the overriding lasting interests of the American people and union.
Bruce Kesler is a regular contributor to The Augusta Free Press. Read past columns on-line at:
I agree with this author...
Soem are unaware the Earl Warren changed the name of the Supreme Court to the Supreme Court of the United States, SCOTUS. And the Supremes have been extending their hegemony ever since.
If Judge Roberts turns out to be another 'closet liberal' like Breyer or Souter, will they re-name themselves again?
Maybe the Supreme Court Redux Of The United Middling States?
("Hey, Pink Floyd couldn't make it, but let's give it up--put your hands together, people, won't you--for the SCROTUMS! From the top, 'Gloria': and a-one and a-two . . .")