"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States


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Sunday, November 28, 2004
  Scalia and the Supreme Court
I recently came across the following story, regarding Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and his view on religion and government: Scalia rejects religious 'neutrality' in government.
An "originalist," Scalia says he believes in following the Constitution as written by the Founding Fathers, rather than interpreting it to reflect the changing times.

"Our Constitution does not morph," he said yesterday, deadpanning, "As I've often said, I am an originalist, I am a textualist, but I am not a nut."
This short passage reveals the very real danger that a supreme court dominated by "textualist" justices represents. For those not familiar with "textualism", it is the belief that if something is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution, then it isn't a right and does not exist. Hence Scalia's (and Rehnquist and Thomas's) opposition to abortion, for which they find no mention in the constitution. They literally take concepts such as "liberty" or "the pursuit of happiness" as empty, without meaning. For those of you old enough to remember, this is like Robert Bork, who compared the ninth amendment ("The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.") to an "ink blot", which no justice could rightly interpret or prescribe.

These are the types of judges that Bush wants to appoint. When he says he wants someone who won't "interpret" the constitution or "legislate from the bench", what he means is that he wants to put an end to judicial review, and thereby put an end to the last vestige of freedom in the judicial branch of government. Without judicial review, the process where judges rule a given law unconstitutional and strike it down, the path will be clear for Bush (or his successors) to outlaw abortion, homosexuality, heterosexuality (except for procreative purposes), cloning, stem cell research, you name it. Anything not "explicitly" mentioned in the constitution, is not a right, as far as these people are concerned.

While I don't mean to imply that the current court is ideal (far from it), it has made some valuable contributions to our rights and liberty, albeit on a tenuous foundation. This is why I made a fuss over the Arlen Specter incident, and why I intend to watch all supreme court nominations and confirmations very carefully.

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