No, this is not about Diana Ross et. al., though that would be an interesting blog entry, no doubt. This is about the Supreme Court of the U.S., election politics and one of the loudest dogs that’s not barking at the moment.
There was a decision handed down this week by the SCOTUS, about the death penalty, Baze v. Rees, of which Jonah Goldberg (he of Liberal Fascism) writes:
What is staggering, or at least should be, is that Stevens freely admits that he no longer considers “objective evidence” or even the plain text of the Constitution determinative of what is or isn’t constitutional: “I have relied on my own experience in reaching the conclusion that the imposition of the death penalty” is unconstitutional.
Justice Antonin Scalia, in a blistering response, justifiably exclaimed that, “Purer expression cannot be found of the principle of rule by judicial fiat.”
Yeah. We don’t know yet who the presidential candidates might choose to fill vacancies on the court that will undoubtedly arise during the next four to eight years, but the voting public is getting a sense of the candidates’ preferred archetype.
When defending his vote against Justice John Roberts’ confirmation, Obama explained that the standard for a justice must be “one’s deepest values, one’s core concerns, one’s broader perspectives on how the world works, and the depth and breadth of one’s empathy.”
Now that is a pure expression of the principle of judicial fiat.
Indeed, by Obama’s own words the best justices are those who will most shamelessly violate their own oath of office.
Supreme Court justices must “solemnly swear 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 on me as a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States under the Constitution and laws of the United States, so help me God.”
Strong words, amply justified in the text of his column, which I urge you to read.
Given his words (“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 – and that’s the criteria by which I’ll be selecting my judges.”) I think a fair picture emerges of a potential Obama nominee to the Supreme Court. Likewise we know that McCain, who voted to confirm Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito, has made his thoughts known (“During the campaign, President Bush said he will appoint judges who will strictly interpret the constitution… thinking anything else is either amnesia or ignorance… elections have consequences…”).
What about a potential Clinton nominee? I cannot shake the feeling that, given the chance, President H.R. Clinton’s preferred nominee would be – William Jefferson Clinton.
Please persuade me that I’m wrong.