Unless you’ve been a coma for the past couple of weeks, the Senate is in throes of confirming another Supreme Court nominee. It’s been all over the news. TV and Talk-radio pundits are in the midst of a major “issue-oriented” feeding frenzy. The nominee is Elena Kagan. And, as usual, the Lefties can’t say enough good about her, while the Righties can’t say enough bad about her.
I’m not going to get into the nominee’s qualifications for the job. She meets all Constitutional and statutory mandates. The nation elected Barack Obama as its current president. As such, he gets to choose his nominees and unless the Senate finds some Earth-shattering tidbit of a disqualifier, she’s going to be confirmed as the next justice on the Supreme Court.
I’ve learned to dismiss (COMPLETELY) two things when it comes to appointee confirmation hearings. The first is all of the political posturing, partisan wind-baggary, and blathering pontifications coming from the U. S. Senate. The second is the plethora of meaningless side issues aimed at politically pigeonholing nominees for the sake of scaring the hell out of the public.
Relative to the first item above, our Founding Fathers not only gave us our Constitution, they also instilled a sense of endearing freedom into a fledging nation that went on to kick King George’s butt. Unfortunately, though, it’s been at least sixty-years since we’ve had a sitting U. S. Congress concerned about anything other than its collective reelection posturing. As well, hoards of voters have become too stupid to realize it.
Relative to the second item above, we seem stuck with partisans that have learned to elevate emotional chaos to an eardrum-shattering level of noise by reducing the debate to a hissy fit contest between the ORIGANALISTS, seemingly always on the Right and the LIVING DOCUMENTISTS, seemingly always on the Left.
For the sake of clarity, “Original Intent” theory holds that ALL interpretation of the written Constitution should be restricted to what its authors intended the words to mean. Closely aligned with this is “Original Meaning” theory, a view that is based on the idea that interpretation of the written Constitution should be restricted to a meaning that was assigned by reasonable normative thinking of the times.
In other words, we should always interpret the written Constitution as meaning the same thing as what its drafters and contemporary society at that time intended the words to mean.
LIVING DOCUMENTISTS, conversely, hold that the Constitution is dynamic and adaptable to accommodate contemporaneous societal changes. In other words, human life is intimately tied to circumstances that often change over long periods and our Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution and the means to accommodate such changes.
And, herewith charges of judicial activism from both the Right and the Left constantly question judicial integrity. But’ it’s the system they gave us and we need to make the best of it.