Monday, March 07, 2005

The Constitution Suffers Rape

The U.S. Constitution suffered some serious setbacks this week. The future of liberty and the rule of law suffered likewise.

It's bad enough that Democrat obstructionists are once again denying President George Bush's federal-bench nominees their constitutionally prescribed up-or-down vote by the full Senate. In a fine example of why we need those nominees on the bench, Leftists on the Supreme Court are, again, "interpreting" the so-called "living Constitution" as a method of altering that venerable document by judicial diktat.

Worse yet, these Left-judiciary Supremacists -- Justice Anthony Kennedy and Court Jesters Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens -- cited "national consensus" as a factor in Tuesday's Roper v. Simmons ruling. In other words, they disregarded the Constitution's prescription for federalism and republican government in the name of unmitigated democracy. Which is to say, while riding roughshod over the Ninth and Tenth Amendments as they overturned the laws of 19 states, the Supremes blithely pushed the nation one step closer toward what everyone since Plato has described as governance in its most degenerative form.

Writing for the majority, Kennedy claimed that Americans had reached a "national consensus" against capital punishment for "children," citing as evidence that only 20 states allow a 17-year-old to be sentenced to death. Of course, Kennedy's logic is utterly at odds with decisions such as Roe v. Wade. In that 1973 decision, the Supremes serendipitously discovered a right to privacy that allowed for the aborting of children, despite the fact that all 50 states had laws at the time either prohibiting or tightly regulating abortion. So we must ask you, Justice Kennedy -- what's all this rubbish about a "national consensus?"

You recall, of course, that in a recent case, the Supremacists discovered a clause in the Constitution specifically stating that a 14-year-old is mature enough to abort the life of her child without parental consent. Now, in Roper v. Simmons, they've found a contradictory clause, which avers that a 17-year-old is not mature enough to be held accountable for capital murder.

Adding grievous insult to this "national consensus" injury, Kennedy cited "international consensus" noting "the overwhelming weight of international opinion" as a factor in the Court's decision. Kennedy cited the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child when writing, "The United States is the only country in the world that continues to give official sanction to the juvenile death penalty." Here, his message was all too clear: The High Court is building a tradition of referring "to the laws of other countries and to international authorities as instructive for its interpretation" of the U.S. Constitution.

Sadly, such citing of international standards and conventions seems to be the latest fashion among the Supremacists.

In 2003, Justices Ginsburg and Breyer upheld an affirmative-action policy at the University of Michigan, noting an international treaty endorsing race-based advancement for minorities. Stevens, for his part, cited international law in overturning another capital case: "Within the world community, the...death overwhelmingly disapproved." Furthermore, in Lawrence v. Texas, Kennedy wrote that the European Court of Human Rights has affirmed the "rights of homosexual adults to engage in intimate, consensual conduct."

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said recently, "I suspect that over time we will rely increasingly...on international and foreign courts in examining domestic issues." Justice Breyer added, "We see all the time, Justice O'Connor and I, and the others, how the world really -- it's trite but it's true -- is growing together. The challenge [will be] whether our Constitution...fits into the governing documents of other nations."

"How our Constitution fits?"

Justice Antonin Scalia, a dependable constitutional constructionist, protested on behalf of the dissenters that capital punishment should, rightly in accordance with constitutional federalism, be determined by individual states. "Because I do not believe that the meaning of our Eighth Amendment, any more than the meaning of other provisions of our Constitution, should be determined by the subjective views of five Members of this Court and like-minded foreigners, I dissent. ... To invoke alien law when it agrees with one's own thinking, and ignore it otherwise, is not reasoned decision-making, but sophistry." Just so.

Perhaps Justice Scalia recalls this admonition from Founder George Washington: "Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence...the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government."

Clearly, international consensus has no standing whatsoever in the constitutional rule of law in the United States. For that matter, the only relevant "national consensus" is that prescribed by our Constitution for its amendment -- a consensus of the people as represented by two-thirds of the legislatures of the several states. But such facts are lost on Left-judicial activists who are content to legislate from the bench. Just consider this recent comment from Justice Breyer: "The extent to which the Constitution is flexible is a function of what provisions you're talking about." In other words, if he likes it the way it was written, it stands as is. If not, he interprets it, in the words of the august Sen. Sam Ervin, "to mean what it would have said if he, instead of the Founding Fathers, had written it."

Which brings us to the Senate Judiciary Democrats' filibuster of President Bush's nominees. Plainly, the Constitution intended that Executive Branch appointments be subject to confirmation by the full Senate, and that such consideration not be obstructed by a handful of wild-eyed Leftists such as Ted Kennedy.

Why are Senate Democrats so insistent on blocking the President's nominations? Because they know the real locus of central government power resides on the federal bench.

Many of President Bush's nominees are constitutional constructionists, as intended by our Founders -- those who issue rulings based on the letter of constitutional law rather than interpret it according to their constituent agenda. Yet Kennedy and his ilk are bent on denying consideration of these fine constructionist judges, for they know that the President will likely advance the names of two such nominees to the Supreme Court in this term.

As for the constitutionality of their filibuster, even liberal Georgetown law professor Susan Low Bloch argues that supermajority requirements (to overcome the filibuster) for nominations "upset the carefully crafted rules concerning appointment of both executive officials and judges and...unilaterally limit the power the Constitution gives to the President in the appointments process. This [allows] the Senate to aggrandize its own role and would unconstitutionally distort the balance of powers established by the Constitution." Clearly, then, filibuster as a method for obstruction of Senate judicial confirmations circumvents the Constitution in both letter and spirit.

That has prompted Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist to consider what he calls the "nuclear option" -- change the Senate rules on such committee obstructions in order to get the President's nominees before the full Senate for an up or down vote -- as constitutionally mandated. In fact, it is the Democrats who have exercised the "nuclear option" by circumventing the Constitution!


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