By Hannah Hayes
“Stop, In the Name of Love” Oops. Wrong Supremes. Stop? If you think it oh-oh-ver, isn’t this what winning the presidential election is all about? With the largest number of votes ever, President Obama has earned the privilege of nominating a Supreme Court justice.
It’s certain that his pick will be approved. How does he rise to the occasion? A moderate choice is not the way. The people who first backed Obama because of his anti-war stance, the people who believe in law and the Constitution, the people who want judiciary decisions to demonstrate the spirit of our country deserve to have their victory reflected in the choice. The nominations of Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts brought “Nothing But Heartaches” for the left, and their nominations were virtually rubber-stamped by the spineless Democrats.
The shrinking Republican party remains disproportionately vocal, and their dual issues of Roe vs. Wade and gay marriage cannot determine the next nominee. Obama, with his perceived mandate, should not feel the slightest need to cave to the right’s version of judicial activism.
Is David Souter leaving to pursue a solo career? He seems headed back to his farm in New Hampshire after a tenure that probably surprised the Bush that nominated him. His modest 19 years on the court did keep many 5-4 decisions from flipping over to the conservative side. In 1992, his alliance with Justices Anthony Kennedy and Sandra Day O’Connor helped preserve legal abortion. Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor at George Washington University, says Souter “was more interested in getting the law right and approaching each case with integrity than he was in building coalitions or articulating a judicial vision that others could rally around.”
Those characteristics are a good place to start in selecting a new person. “Reflections” of the population would also be a good place to focus. To show who we are, the visual image of the court would have to be about 15 percent Latino, 13 percent African-American, with representation from other races that total another 5 percent of the population. Women are one half of the male-female, ratio and this pick must surely be a woman.
Who would be my “Dream Girl”? As Bill Maher suggests, “Obama needs to find a non-lawyer, single parent with disabilities who is also a bi-curious black woman.” “I Second That Emotion.”
This is Obama’s opportunity to leave a lasting legacy by naming his “Love Child.” Will other justices retire during Obama’s term? I think “I Hear a Symphony” of change sweeping us toward a progressive future that sings to the hearts of the American people.
We can still hope, Mr. Obama. After all, it’s not the ‘60s anymore, and you have a chance to do something truly Supreme.
By Kelly Weist
President Obama announced on May 1 that Justice David Souter was resigning from the U.S. Supreme Court at the end of the 2009 term. Obama stated, “Throughout his two decades on the Supreme Court, Justice Souter has shown what it means to be a fair-minded and independent judge. He came to the bench with no particular ideology. He never sought to promote a political agenda. He consistently defied labels and rejected absolutes, focusing instead on just one task: reaching a just result in the case that was before him.” Yeah, right.
When a liberal states that a judge is “fair-minded and independent,” he means that the judge doesn’t follow the letter of the law. “Reaching a just decision” means following liberal orthodoxy on constitutional law, which consists of deciding cases based on which litigant is politically correct.
Obama also said, “I will seek someone who understands that justice isn’t about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book … I view that quality of empathy of understanding and identifying with people’s hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes. I will seek somebody who is dedicated to the rule of law, who honors our constitutional traditions, who respects the integrity of the judicial process and the appropriate limits of the judicial role. I will seek somebody who shares my respect for constitutional values on which this nation was founded and who brings a thoughtful understanding of how to apply them in our time.”
Being dedicated to the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution means the exact opposite of “a quality of empathy” and definitely encompasses “footnote(s) in a case book.” The rule of law means that the letter of the law matters. “A thoughtful understanding” of “our constitutional values” means using one’s own judgment, and, yes, empathy to decide a case, rather than the letter of the law.
One can always use constitutional “values” in any way one wants. One can look at the First Amendment and say that pornography is protected speech but campaign contributions are not, because the “value” here is free sex for all but political speech for elites only. Doesn’t matter what the founders meant. For liberals and “living constitutionalists,” it only matters that their values are protected. That’s what “apply(ing) them in our time” means.
Souter was a perfect example of this type of judge. He consistently voted for liberal ideals of the “living constitution,” substituting the “values” of our time for the letter of the Constitution.
Obama has said he will not apply any litmus tests to his selection of a nominee. I wonder why I don’t believe him. The only litmus test for any judge, especially a Supreme Court justice, should be his/her commitment and demonstrated adherence to the letter of the U.S. Constitution.
“When a liberal states that a judge is ‘fair-minded and independent,’ he means that the judge doesn’t follow the letter of the law,” says Kelly. Oh, “Let Me Go the Right Way” because when a conservative says “fair-minded and independent,” you can count on that. Yeah, right.
I agree that the rule of law matters, yet it’s starting to seem that Bush/Cheney won’t have their day in court. If one is truly interested in the law, there surely would be no reason to prevent Attorney General Eric Holder from appointing a special prosecutor to investigate government officials who may have participated in illegal war crimes, illegal wiretapping, torture, lying about the pretexts for war, Gonzales’ secret orders and the political firings of U.S. attorneys, and more than 750 signing statements that set aside statutes passed by Congress. Please, President Obama, “My Heart Can’t Take it No More.”
From the liberal equivalent of an intellectual, Bill Maher, we have the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard uttered about a U.S. Supreme Court nominee. First off, how is a non-lawyer to have the ability to analyze legal cases, much less be charged with interpreting the U.S. Constitution? Nothing against non-lawyers, otherwise known as “regular people,” but the Supreme Court is not a body that gets to rearrange the law for its own pleasure. (That’s the Congress.) It’s a body that was created in order to protect and defend the letter of the law of the U.S. Constitution from the Congress and the president.
Maher’s comment, and Hannah’s excited recitation of it, clearly shows the left’s agenda. It has nothing to do with upholding the law or the Constitution. Mainly, it has to do with ordering society in the way they like and most regular people don’t. Whether a person is single, disabled, black, gay, purple, a parent or has been abducted by an alien has absolutely nothing to do with whether they can and will uphold the Constitution.
Hannah B. Hayes is a small-business owner and activist with Evergreen Peace. A recent graduate of Leadership Evergreen with a master’s degree in education, Hayes has remained active in this community through her writing and organizing for 35 years.
Attorney and political activist Kelly Weist has served on the board of directors of the Colorado Federation of Republican Women and is the co-founder of Mountain Republican Women. She is an adjunct professor of political science at Metropolitan State College of Denver.