Home > Law > Calling It Like It Is

Calling It Like It Is

April 15th, 2010

Geoffrey Stone writes an op-ed for the NYT which tells us what we already know, but which half the population or more blinds itself to:

Rulings by conservative justices in the past decade make it perfectly clear that they do not “apply the law” in a neutral and detached manner. Consider, for example, their decisions holding that corporations have the same right of free speech as individuals, that commercial advertising receives robust protection under the First Amendment, that the Second Amendment prohibits the regulation of guns, that affirmative action is unconstitutional, that the equal protection clause mandated the election of George W. Bush and that the Boy Scouts have a First Amendment right to exclude gay scoutmasters.

Whatever one thinks of these decisions, it should be apparent that conservative judges do not disinterestedly call balls and strikes. Rather, fueled by their own political and ideological convictions, they make value judgments, often in an aggressively activist manner that goes well beyond anything the framers themselves envisioned. There is nothing simple, neutral, objective or restrained about such decisions. For too long, conservatives have set the terms of the debate about judges, and they have done so in a highly misleading way. Americans should see conservative constitutional jurisprudence for what it really is. And liberals must stand up for their vision of the judiciary.

Fact is, conservatives “legislate from the bench” (in its real meaning, not the conservative sense of “making a decision I disagree with”) far more than liberal judges do. Scalia and Thomas especially apply their political bias with extreme prejudice. They hold up their various flavors of “constructionism” as excuses, with knowing ignorance that such a philosophy is by its nature unconstitutional. Like most modern conservatives, they don’t give a damn; they “know what’s right” and happily rewrite the Constitution under the flimsiest of pretenses, while, in classic right-wing projection, accuse the liberals of doing exactly that.

This article on the role of the judiciary is recommended, a good read.

Categories: Law Tags: by
Comments are closed.