Living in the rarefied air of Washington D.C. as a Congressman, Senator or Supreme Court Justice, makes it difficult to stick to your claimed principles. Lobbyists and powerful activists may live next door or down the street. A simple lunch in a local restaurant, cocktail parties, your daughter’s soccer game – everything in daily life exposes the “mighty” among political servants to political pressures.
How do they “mingle” with their community and stay true to the core beliefs they professed – the “professions” that got them the job in the first place? The answer is, in all-to-many cases, they do not.
While Congressmen and Senators may be voted out of office, Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life. How difficult it must be to sit on the highest court in the land and uphold a private person’s right to keep the land they own. How difficult it must be to protect America’s sovereignty when you adore everything European and see Europe as “the” desirable model for this country.
It is not only difficult to reside in Washington D.C. and retain political integrity, integrity seldom seems to be a goal. Power is the goal, and the extremely liberal social environment of our Nation’s capital breeds power as well as the mongers seeking to use that power to control you and me; seeking to protect us from everything but their principle-less decisions and laws.
Doug Patton makes a case for reducing the court to perhaps, just Justice Roberts “reading briefs at a card table in his chambers….” I don’t think one Justice is the answer, and I don’t think Mr. Patton does either, but for the privilege of sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress might mandate Justices to live in middle America, and NEVER attend a social function in our Nation’s capital, especially at the invitation of a lobbyist, a Corporation or Congress.
New Oversight of Supreme Court Needed
By Doug Patton
June 30, 2008
My old boss, U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, one of the few non-lawyers on the House Judiciary Committee, used to tell me about how Congress has the power to regulate the federal courts.
“Constitutionally, we could reduce the Supreme Court to the Chief Justice sitting in his chambers at a card table if we wanted to,” he would say.
I thought of that unused congressional authority as I pondered why it is that the Supreme Court tends to pull its members to the left.
In recent decades, from Abe Fortas and Thurgood Marshall, appointed by Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s, to Clinton appointees Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the 1990s, liberal Democrats are rarely disappointed in the left-wing positions of their appointees on virtually every issue. Not so with justices appointed by Republican presidents.
Certainly there are reliable minds on the court that can be trusted with the strict interpretation of the constitution. Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas have proven themselves worthy of our respect in that regard. Similarly, Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito are slowly building a reputation for eschewing judicial activism and for defending the concept of original intent.
But Republican nominees frequently fail to live up to the hopes of those who believe in strict adherence to the Founders’ constitutional intentions.
In modern times, perhaps the biggest disappointments began with former California Governor Earl Warren, a Republican appointed by President Dwight Eisenhower to serve as Chief Justice.
Richard Nixon’s appointments of Warren Burger and Harry Blackmun were a disaster. Both men voted in the majority on the most infamous Supreme Court ruling of the 20th Century, 1973’s Roe vs. Wade, with Blackmun writing the majority opinion. The result is forty million Americans aborted.
David Souter, appointed by President George H. W. Bush, has so abandoned any semblance of conservative jurisprudence that he is now counted consistently with Ginsburg, Breyer and John Paul Stevens on the left end of the court.
Two Reagan appointees, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, turned into two of the biggest disappointments of the era. O’Connor’s left turn culminated two important recent cases, Carhart vs. Stenberg and Lawrence vs. Texas. The Carhart case struck down Nebraska’s ban on partial birth abortion. Lawrence created a constitutional right to sodomy, thereby throwing the door open wide for the movement to legalize same-sex marriage.
With O’Connor now retired, Kennedy is widely considered to be the court’s “swing vote.” But increasingly, Kennedy’s decisions are viewed as activist liberal votes. He wrote the majority opinion in the aforementioned…(read more)…
Doug Patton is a freelance columnist who has served as a political speechwriter and public policy advisor. His weekly columns are published in newspapers across the country and on selected Internet web sites, including Human Events Online, TheConservativeVoice.com and GOPUSA.com, where he is a senior writer and state editor. Readers may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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