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Posted on 08/28/2005 10:08:24 AM PDT by pickrell
In an AP story, writer Nancy Benac details the array of opinions over how to question, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, a nominee for the office of Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Variations revolve around the manner and appropriateness of detailed interrogation as to how the nominee feels about various issues , thus indicating how that nominee will likely rule.
That such articles are now written indicates just what danger the Republic now faces, and from whence the threat comes.
Before the "Reduce Them to Mental Fudge" Acts of 1972 thru 2005 , our school systems used to teach the structures of government in civics classes. I can attest that the 3 branches of government used to include a separate but equal branch of government called the Judiciary, and that unless memory fails, the duty of that branch was to interpret the conformance of newly passed and standing law with the protections of the Constitution of the United States.
As consolation prizes to the Legislative and Executive Branches, they were awarded responsibility for passing laws, and executing laws, respectively; and I might add, respectfully.
The phrase "Res Ipse Loquitur" used to be definitive. "The thing means exactly what it says", is the very basis of law itself. To aid the cognition of the liberal caucus, what part of "...shall not be infringed..." don't you understand?
If every courtroom, every legislative body, and every department of the Executive Branch decided that-, instead of what the written law said-, by far the more important thing would be what the readers decide what the law should have said, or perhaps merely forgot to include in their haste to retire to dinner, then we can eliminate the budget deficit.
Repeat, we can eliminate the budget deficit.
You see, we could save all of the money spent to record laws, all of the money spent in trials where judges are tasked to interpret laws, and all of the money spent by individuals and corporations in their efforts to conform to laws. The savings would be enormous.
The only problem is that the costs would be staggering.
This Republic stood, and stands, far ahead of the rest of the world primarily because of our agreement to honor the intent of the framers of the Constitution, that this would be a land of laws, and not of men. Our responsibility, then, as our part of the bargain, is to respect and be bound by the written words of the Constitution. This Constitution asssumes that new laws will be passed, old laws may be repealed, and that this function is "...reserved to the States and to the People..."
A nation of laws, and not of men. It's an easy phrase to toss around, but somehow is no longer important enough to explore the meaning of in public schools.
The Judicial Branch of the United States shall consist of a Supreme Court, and various inferior Courts. This Supreme Court is tasked to interpret written laws passed by the Legislative Branch, and signed into law by the Chief Executive. These laws shall be compared and held against the written Constitution of the United States to determine whether the law violates any provision of that Constitution.
What is not written, however, is just as important as what is written. For if it is not written into the Constitution, it is not part of the Constitution. If it is written into the Constitution, it is part of the Constitution. Res Ipsa Loquitur. Provisions were also made to change the Constitution, assuming the gravity of the grievance so requires, by Admendment thereto. It is a grave undertaking and so should be.
The Supreme Court does not sit to screen out unpleasant laws, inadvisable laws, stupid laws, or any other law which displeases them or conflicts with their person view of what the law should be.
The ability to correct all such "errors" in lawmaking was vested in the same body which created the "errors" in the first place- the Legislative branch. This branch is wholly answerable to the people each election day. It was in fact designed to be sensitive to political pressure, as was the executive.
The Supreme Court was specifically insulated from the pressures of popular opinion through grant of lifetime appointment. In exchange for this insulation, all who sit on it owe the duty to the Republic of removing all their judgements from the subjective and personal, and confining them to the objective and validatable interpretation of whether laws passed by the various States conform to the guarantees of liberty written into the Constitution.
These questions being asked of how to question the nominee betray a corruption on the parts of those Senators so afflicted. Anyone who has risen to the position of enjoying the emoluments, both of pay and priveleges, of being a United States Senator, and who would nonetheless betray their responsibility to uphold and defend the Constitution of The United States, by overt attempt to corrupt the Judicial Branch, through denying a seat thereon to any nominee who admits and confesses to his intent to faithfully satisy the requirements of that very office... no longer deserves to be a Senator.
Let us from flyover country, unschooled in the sophistications of the elite on capital hill, aid you in your selection of questions.
Mister Nominee... can you read? You see the responsible position you have been nominated for requires you to be able to read the Constitution as it was written. If during your office, you begin seeing penubras radiating from the paper, we will provide for reading glasses, CAT scans,- whatever may be necessary to return your vision to the paper.
Mister Nominee... do you understand that the great authority to be entrusted to you , binds you to remove from your mind any personal desires about what you would like the law to say, or what you think the Framers simply forgot to record, but clearly would have- if there hadn't been such a rush in the lunch line that day? That the Constitution was and is a contract, not a quaint historical oddity, and that this contract between generations spelled out certain rights that were in no way to be ever infringed by government. And that if any other "rights" were part of that controlling legal authority, that they would have been included in that controlling legal authority. Ipso facto, if they weren't included... they weren't included. Is there some part of this you don't understand?
Mister Nominee... do you understand that the legitimacy and authority of the Supreme Court lies in the enlightened understanding and acceptance by the citizenry that the power to make law resides in a legislature answerable to the consent of the governed, and that only by honest, unbiased reading and interpretation of what is written, may you approve or remove laws passed by State and local legislatures? If a law proves to have unintended consequences, or a regret occurs among the citizenry that the law is actually providing its intended, and now unsettling, consequences, the citizenry has the recourse designed into the Constitution to pressure the legislators, under threat of removal from office next election day, to repeal the offending passages.
Mister Nominee... do you understand that each of the three Branches of Government was forseen by the framers to be susceptible to the certain temptation to encroach on the duties and the responsibilities of the other two branches, and that the surest way for the Legislative branch to restore those lines of demarcation, and constrain the Judiciary from creating law and "previously undiscovered and unmentioned fundamental rights" by dictat, is for us to screen out those persons who are tempted to make the world a better place by "correcting" the lack of the laws they personal would be in favor of.
Mister Nominee... do you understand that the only body of government which can correct Judicial error, is the Supreme Court, and that this applies even to mistakes made even by that same august body? That being constrained by pride or reputation from correcting egregious mistakes made by that term, or prior terms, is an abrogation of the responsibility of all those who sit on that Court?
Mister Nominee... do you understand that if you are confirmed... that white smoke will not then pour from the Senate chimney? Can you control your appreciation of power to the extent that you realize you are not undergoing coronation, but rather confirmation? That all mortal men make mistakes, and that your duty is to examine yours and correct your judgements when found, since infallibilty does not fall within your powers?
But while we are at it, we need to ask ourselves as Senators and inquisitors:
Ladies and Gentlemen from the various States... do we understand that if we forgo to ask these questions, and instead ask whether the nominee intends to read into the law the same agenda that we favor, and intend to exclude those who will not..., that we violate the very advise and consent power we were assigned by the Constitution, and that stands as the very check we have against a rule by men instead of by law.
Ladies and Gentlemen from the various States... do we understand that the reason this Republic was founded was that men should not have to kneel before a king, or nine dukes, and beg for a pronouncement of law that suits our desires. Do we understand instead that the people were and are specifically empowered to vote for Lawmakers, Legislators, who would then by vote establish a series of laws, and, so long as these laws didn't conflict with the written provisions of the Constitution, that they would stand as the law of the land...until repealed by those same Legislators.
Ladies and Gentlemen from the various States...
... have we forgotten at what price we enjoy these liberties, and how many young lives were spent buying these guarantees of representation? Have we no shame that we think to cover our indifference to the will of the people, who even now die in battle against our bitterest enemies, by pretending some legitimacy to our attempts to "stack the court" with our agents, who, through a nod and a wink, are more than willing to disregard the Constitution of the United States, in order to rearrange the law in favor of their personal views of "how things should be"?
Ladies and Gentlemen from the various States... [and our eyes flit back and forth, and briefly to the CSPAN cameras as we lower our voice]... are we forgetting that what we are doing is being watched, and that, unless the Supreme Court acts to strike down re-elections for "correct thinking" Senators...
... that we will answer to the people next election day.