The Supreme Court, blind justice and more…
by Sparta Live | July 9, 2018 6:26 am
The Right Stuff – By Donald Holman
Since we have the Supreme Court in the news these days, I thought I would go back and review some ideals that the court has embraced since its founding and prod us to ask ourselves the hard questions. What, exactly, are we looking for in a Supreme Court Justice anyway?
Let’s start with their oath:
“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.”
Above is the judicial oath, which they swear to as well as the oath all other officials of the federal government swear to:
“I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.”
What we really need on the Supreme Court are justices who are impartial and duty bound. We need judges that are impartial because, for a trial to be fair, it must be an honest and open examination of the FACTS PRESENTED to it. In the best sense of the words, Supreme Court justices are to fairly and blindly judge the case on its merits, without noticing the person bringing the suit and in all instances “support and defend” the Constitution.
The Supreme Court also is responsible for judging the actions of states, federal officials, and running the judicial system.
How then does it happen that whenever a Supreme Court nomination is up for a vote, we always hear all these prejudices listed as qualifying factors? Democrats like to talk about judges “holding up for the little man.” But that would clearly be prejudicial. Judges are to decide their cases on the law of the land and the United States Constitution and not any other factors, except in state issues where state matters might be affected by their own constitutions. Republicans like to talk about someone doing away with Roe v. Wade. Again, justices are not supposed to go about pre-judging cases! If various factions present their case in court, then let their case be decided on the merits!
Justice Sotomayor was called in question during her nomination hearing because she said the following: “I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” – Oct. 26, 2001.
But let’s look at what the president who nominated her said about choosing Supreme Court justices. Indeed, in a 2007 speech to a Planned Parenthood convention, the president laid out the criteria he would use to select judges: “We need somebody who’s got the heart – the empathy – to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old.”
In other words, we “need” Supreme Court justices who will lift the blindfold and inspect not just the cases brought before them but also the plaintiffs bringing those cases. And not only that, but take into consideration in their judgments such things as what it’s like to be gay? Where does this fit into their oath and their duties? Sadly, it does not.
Now let’s look at some other things Supreme Court justices do that they should not. We have all heard the idea of an “originalist” versus the “living, breathing document” type justice and why it matters. An “originalist” believes the Constitution should be judged entirely as the meaning was when it was originally written. This theory of law is based on common sense and an understanding of the checks and balances system and the court’s place in it. All laws, our Constitution says, are to be written by our elected representatives in Congress. Now why would that be? Because if they write laws that we disagree with, we can vote them out! What do we do with a lifetime appointed Supreme Court justice who rules against us? An originalist has respect for and defers to the voters of our country. Their philosophy is that if the people want things changed, write a constitutional law to make those changes through our elected representatives because when a lifetime appointed judge writes a law, your rights as a citizen are damaged. Moreover, many activist judges interpret laws in ways that could never pass as laws. This is what the term “legislating from the bench” means.
Now the “living and breathing document” crew believes that the Constitution is there for them to “interpret” for our benefit. I have never heard these folks claim if it is though a séance, or Mme Rene’s fortune telling or exactly what method they use to decide what the founders “really” meant. And it is these “interpretations” that liberals have used over the years to make into law things we the American people never get to vote on and would never agree to if we did. You can see why they are so concerned about what might happen if the court was filled with judges that actually showed restraint and only interpreted the laws, not made them.
Yet, things happen. We had a federal appeals court judge delay President Trump’s immigration rules for almost two years while the case made its way to the Supreme Court. Regardless of whether you agree with the law or not, have you thought about what might have happened had this been some kind of national emergency? For all we know, many bad folks slipped into the country while this case was being fought in court. Can we see why when courts overstep their bounds, bad things can happen?
Or take the state of Pennsylvania. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania rewrote the states districting laws, even though their state constitution required the legislature to do it. What occurred was the state supreme court struck down the original districting voting laws and sent it back to the legislature to be redrawn. But the judges didn’t like the new plan either, claiming it was an attempt by the Republicans to gerrymander districts to elect Republicans. But instead of sending it back to the legislature to be redrawn, the judges redrew it themselves – IN favor of Democrats. The supreme court is majority Democrat, the legislature Republican. So, the Democrat state supreme court broke the laws of its own constitution and wrote its own gerrymandering law. Can we see what happens when courts are prejudiced?
Finally, we need a Supreme Court justice who will rule where appropriate and strike laws down where warranted and not re-write them. Yet Justice Roberts rewrote Obamacare when he upheld it saying the fee was actually a tax. And he rewrote it again when he held that state exchanges didn’t mean state exchanges. And then the justices rewrote Trump’s travel ban by ruling some groups would be subject to it, while others would not. Whether one is a conservative or a liberal, the current court needs more originalists and less “interpreters” of the law. Let us hope we get them and remember, the Senate approves the Supreme Court nominees. Don’t we need a conservative senator to go to Washington for this and many other reasons? Think about that this week, won’t you?