The Constitution: Mere Wax in the Hands of Obama, Sotomayor, & Left

PatriotPost.US Monday Brief 1 June 2009 Vol. 09 No. 22

THE FOUNDATION "The Constitution ... is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary which they may twist and shape into any form they please." --Thomas Jefferson

FOR THE RECORD "Barack Obama's legacy is coming sharply into focus, four years early. He's out to transform 'a nation of laws,' once the pride of our Anglo-Saxon heritage and examplar to the world, into 'a nation of feelings.' ... Sonia Sotomayor is only one of the building blocks of the president's envisioned Mediocre Society. She's a perfect first nominee to the Supreme Court, 'untouchable' to anyone who risks looking at who she really is.... The president is the master of demographic politics, playing the race card in a way that no one else could. Miss Sotomayor was presented not as a jurist distinguished by learning and accomplishment, but first as a Latina, a woman of empathy and delicate sensibility. He's counting on male gallantry, if not male timidity, to carry the day. Robert Gibbs, the president's press agent, was an unapologetic intimidator, warning everyone to be 'exceedingly careful' in talking about her. Criticism of Miss Sotomayor is to be regarded as proof of racism, sexism and maybe even fascism. The headline in The Washington Post was typical: 'First Latina Picked for Supreme Court/GOP Faces Delicate Task in Opposition.' Criticize the little lady at your own risk. ... The danger is not that Republicans will be too tough, but not tough enough. Miss Sotomayor has a damning paper trail, and the Republicans have a responsibility to ask vigorous, even robust, questions. Mr. Obama has the votes to prevail no matter how she answers the questions, but the nation is entitled to know who the president is putting on the nation's highest court." --Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden

CULTURE "A judge with highfalutin' notions about what's right and what's wrong isn't going to let The People get away with contradicting him. He'll take broadsword to a law he doesn't like (e.g., the old, pre-Roe v. Wade abortion statutes), or he'll put under his personal authority an entire public school system he sees as needing improvement in specific ways. ... The irony in the Sotomayor case, of course, is that a president elected by a majority vote proposes to seat on the Supreme Court a woman he seems to value for her ability to ignore trifles like the will of the majority, or social peace, or a law's actual meaning. The liberal -- and Obama is a liberal -- theory of judging involves the use of courts to do quickly what democratic debate, being unwieldy, can't accomplish. The judge whose place she will take, David Souter ... was himself a sort of empathizing, let's-move-the-ball-forward kind of judge. Sonia Sotomayor won't immediately change the tenor of discussion and judgment on the court, but assuming the President reads her rightly she will certainly try. As will all future Obama candidates for the court we may yet rename the Society for the Advancement of Empathy in America." --columnist William Murchison

RE: THE LEFT "In every trial -- every single trial -- judges solemnly instruct American citizens who are compelled to perform jury duty that they will have a sworn obligation to decide cases objectively -- without fear or favor. If a person is unwilling or unable to do that, if the person believes he or she has a bias or prejudice, especially one based on a belief that people are inferior or superior due to such factors as race, ethnicity, or sex, the person is not qualified to be a juror. ...[W]e strive to keep those attitudes out of our law -- even to the point of expecting prospective jurors to tell us honestly whether they have such biases so we can make certain they don't get on a jury. Non-biased decision-making, we tell every ordinary citizen called for jury duty, is the most basic obligation of service in the legal system. Would Judge Sotomayor be qualified to serve as a juror? Let's say she forthrightly explained to the court during the voir dire (the jury-selection phase of a case) that she believed a wise Latina makes better judgments than a white male; that she doubts it is actually possible to 'transcend [one's] personal sympathies and prejudices and aspire to achieve a greater degree of fairness and integrity based on the reason of law'; and that there are 'basic differences' in the way people 'of color' exercise 'logic and reasoning.' If, upon hearing that, would it not be reasonable for a lawyer for one (or both) of the parties to ask the court to excuse her for cause? Would it not be incumbent on the court to grant that request? Should we have on the Supreme Court, where jury verdicts are reviewed, a justice who would have difficulty qualifying for jury service?" --National Review editor Andy McCarthy

POLITICAL FUTURES "Obama and Sotomayor draw on the 'richness of her experiences' and concern for judicial results to favor one American story, one disadvantaged background, over another. The refutation lies in the very oath Sotomayor must take when she ascends to the Supreme Court: 'I do solemnly swear that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich. ... So help me God.' When the hearings begin, Republicans should call [New Haven, Connecticut firefighter] Frank Ricci as their first witness. Democrats want justice rooted in empathy? Let Ricci tell his story and let the American people judge whether his promotion should have been denied because of his skin color in a procedure Sotomayor joined in calling 'facially race-neutral.' Make the case for individual vs. group rights, for justice vs. empathy. Then vote to confirm Sotomayor solely on the grounds -- consistently violated by the Democrats, including Sen. Obama -- that a president is entitled to deference on his Supreme Court nominees, particularly one who so thoroughly reflects the mainstream views of the winning party. Elections have consequences. Vote Democratic and you get mainstream liberalism: A judicially mandated racial spoils system and a jurisprudence of empathy that hinges on which litigant is less 'advantaged.' A teaching moment, as liberals like to say. Clarifying and politically potent. Seize it." --columnist Charles Krauthammer

THE GIPPER "The Supreme Court of the United States is the custodian of our Constitution. Justices of the Supreme Court must not only be jurists of the highest competence; they must be attentive to the specific rights guaranteed in our Constitution and proper role of the courts in our democratic system. ...[J]udges' personal preferences and values should not be part of their constitutional interpretations. The guiding principle of judicial restraint recognizes that under the Constitution it is the exclusive province of the legislatures to enact laws and the role of the courts to interpret them." --Ronald Reagan