Specter Shows Ignorance on SCOTUS Role

2009 May 4
by ruleoflawrestoration

Before you read this, please understand that I’m probably one of the most non-partisan people in the country.  I care very little which party Arlen Specter belongs to, for I think that both major parties are responsible for America’s rapid descent down the slippery slope of constitutional violations.

Who better, then, than the recent party-switcher, Arlen Specter, to represent America’s vast ignorance on the intended role of the justices of the Supreme Court.  In a message to Barack Obama this weekend, Specter tried to influence Obama on what type of person to appoint to replace retiring Justice Souter:

We need more people to express a woman’s point of view or a minority point of view,

Specter, as many Americans, appears not to understand that it is not the job of the Supreme Court to represent the views of certain segments of the American society.  No, that job goes to those certain segments of the American society, who are supposed to represent their own views and to influence the government as bet they can.

The job of the Supreme Court of the United States, on the other hand, is to represent the Constitution.  The Supreme Court was not constituted to do any of the following:

  • Write laws.
  • Make policy.
  • Execute laws.
  • Appropriate money.
  • Be activists.
  • Be a representative body of the population or of any special interests or partisan interests.

Their intended role is very simple:  Keep the nation on track with the Constitution—which just happens to be the very document that established the Court in the first place!  This job does not require a personal “point of view”.  Rather, it requires critical thinking skills, objectivity, great familiarity with the Constitution, and the personal integrity to keep one’s own personal views out of the process.

Perhaps Mr. Specter doesn’t realize it, but he has implied with his statement that it is not possible to find such people to serve as Justices.  Therefore, the implication goes, we must stack the court with people from different societal segments in order to see to it that the biases of the Court are balanced.  Rather than seeking a court with an unbiased view of the law, he seeks one in which every bias has a fair shot.

This, of course, shows great ignorance of the concept of the Rule of Law.  If the Congress were apt to do its job by limiting the terms of the SCOTUS justices only to such time as during which they are in “good behavior” (Article III, Section I), then it simply wouldn’t matter what societal segments are represented on the Court.

Specter’s suggestion is a prime example of treating the symptoms and not the cause.  Until America shuns this nasty habit and engages in some rational and fundamental analysis, we will never get anywhere good.  We must return to the Rule of Law; no other paradigm will do.

Jack Pelham

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