Saturday, October 18, 2008

Elections and the Judiciary

I was interested to see a little discussion of the upcoming election in this article:

Newsday Blogs

The President is important in shaping the judiciary, but so are the members of Congress. Unfortunately, it seems like people on both side of the political spectrum are able to consider their desire for particular political objectives when appointing and approving judges. But it is Congress' job to do that work. The courts are supposed to decide about the constitutionality of laws, not about whether laws further a particular left/right goal.

What I see too often in discussions like this is a desire to have the court decide toward a particular political side. If you are pro-choice you want justices who would uphold Roe; if you are pro-life you hope for justices who would overturn it. Or affirmative action; or...

What I see too seldom in these disussions is what the courts are supposed to do under the Constitution. I am pro-life but I don't want a President McCain appointing a justice for that reason. I believe that our labor laws must be fair, but I do not want a President Obame appointing justices who decide that a particular labor is unfair on a moral basis. I don't want them trying to make the laws better. They should just decide if the law in front of them is constitutional. I would like to see more of the high court's debate go to the writings and actions of the Founders than about what other countries do.

If I were President, I would try very hard to look at a potential justice's action according to the standards I have outlined. If I chose correctly, I could appoint a justice whose personal preference is on the pro-choice side because he/she would not let that personal preference influence decisions. Is a law under question written in a way that is consitent with rights outlined in the Constition? The decision should not go beyond that.

Many impressive figures in our history were afraid the judiciary would gradually take on too much power - Lincoln and Jefferson, for example. Learn more here:
Judiciary and the Constitution

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