Consider a replacement for Justice Scalia

EditorialBy George Miller

RIP Justice Antonin Scalia. Our prayers are with you  You were a memorable man who served a very memorable term. Highly intelligent, educated, dedicated and passionate, you defended the Constitution to the best of your abilities, as near as you could to its letter and “original intent.” You even popularized the term “originalism.” Yet many disagreed with you and some hated you enough to revile you and even threaten your life. Your funeral hasn’t even been held yet, but before your body was even cold, the two big, corrupt political parties were already alternatively planning a confirmation blockade or plotting to slip in another “living Constitution” ideologue.

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The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

The purpose of the Supreme Court, as envisioned by the Founders and supported by many for centuries, is to interpret the Constitution and the law.  Not to write the law and not even to be the final authority (although Marbury v Madison certainly clouded the waters). To interpret it. If other institutions or The People disagree with rulings, they have several options, such as changing the law, properly invoking the Tenth Amendment, impeaching a Justice, appointing better ones in the future, or amending the Constitution, which was deliberately made very hard to do.

Some are outraged that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to block all votes on a nominee until a new President is installed. Be careful what you wish for, Mitch. Yet, the arguably most powerful Democrat Senator, Chuck Schumer, decided to try exactly that when the shoe was on the other foot. Also, back in 1960, the Democrats even passed a formal resolution to that effect. The hypocrisy.

While McConnell’s tactics can be and are being questioned, let’s look at the reason for his “line in the sand.” The reason is that the Constitution is under siege like never before, including by members of McConnell’s own party and McConnell himself, Democrats too, but especially the current occupant of the White House. Obama has done more to compromise the Constitution than any President any of us alive has ever seen. He routinely flouts the law and the Constitution. Just a few examples are: attempting to change immigration and gun laws via executive actions, unilaterally changing already shaky Obamacare rules and illegally attempting to shut down the coal energy industry.

Many reasonable people are worried that Obama will further deepen his legacy by appointing still another revisionist ideologue, who will tilt the balance even further toward the Court writing laws instead of upholding the Constitution. Those who say the court is already very Conservative are simply incorrect. Kennedy and Roberts have swung both ways multiple times, resulting in, for example, twice upholding the constitutionally shaky Obamacare and introducing de facto national “gay” marriage. Obama is on record as criticizing the Constitution as a flawed document, “a charter of negative liberties”– of what the government can’t do, vs. what it can do. That of course is nonsense, especially from a self-described “constitutional professor” (he is/was neither). The Constitution lays out what the government can and can’t do. Obama and other peoples’ real complaint about the Constitution is that they want to greatly expand government far beyond the boundaries of the Constitution. The legal way to do that is by amending the Constitution, if you can get the votes, not by subverting it.

The role of the Senate in appointments has been described as “advise and consent,” meaning that they can provide input to the nomination/appointment process, but have the last word on approvals. In the past, they haven’t always taken that very seriously. The last three appointments are examples of this.

CitizensJournal.us would love to see a constitutionalist appointed/confirmed. We don’t believe that is very likely this year, though. We would also like to see the Senate simply do its job and properly vet candidates. The idea of appointing a “Conservative” or “Liberal” Justice to deliberately bend the Constitution and law one way or another is wrong. Yet, that is what has happened and it is a problem. We need to strive to make it as non-political as humanly possible- a tall order. Another thing: if just following the Constitution is considered “political,” then this country has an even bigger problem.


George Miller is Publisher of CitizensJournal.us and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard

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2 Responses to Consider a replacement for Justice Scalia

  1. William "Bill" Hicks February 20, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Considering that you don’t have to have a law degree, I select Carla Bonney. On a last ditch selection, I choose Judge Judy.

    Reply
  2. Carla Bonney February 16, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    I could see Jay Sekulow as a nominee. He has argued so many times in front of the Supreme Court, and is definitely a “original” Constitutionalist as was Justice Scalia.

    Reply

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