A guide to liberal Supreme Court-speak
By Lisa Fabrizio
Certain seasons or events have historically spawned their own lexicons which are unique to those events and used almost exclusively to describe them. Late in the college football season, some games have what are unfailingly called, "serious bowl implications." Likewise vice-presidential candidates must possess 'gravitas' and Super Bowls oddly acquire roman numerals. So too, does the Supreme Court nomination process require its own terminology, especially when the president is a Republican.
Over the next several weeks there are a number of ordinary words and phrases that will be used ad nauseam in reference to whomever President Bush submits to the senate for confirmation. They will however take on some unfamiliar connotations in the course of being repeated in endless web-postings, editorials and what passes for debate in the world's greatest deliberative body.
This process begins with identifying senators with whom liberals can reach a 'consensus'. Anyone they would deem an 'acceptable' Republican they can 'work with' is, of course, either a 'moderate' like Lincoln Chafee or a 'maverick' like John McCain. Anyone else is a 'partisan', an 'extremist' or more simply put, unwilling to 'compromise'.
'Advice' or 'consultation' means that either the president submits a list of 'mainstream' candidates to Pat Leahy and he picks one, or that Pat Leahy submits a 'mainstream' list to the president and he picks one.
'Mainstream' refers to a nominee who, in the event they have no nanny-gate issues, is to the political left of Barbara Boxer, whereas a 'radical' is someone who is to the political right of Barbara Boxer. Any nominee who has actually written an opinion that is 'out of the mainstream' will be referred to as 'flawed'.
'Out of the mainstream' also refers to those who are strict religious adherents, while those who have actually read, understood and follow the tenets of the U.S. Constitution are 'strict originalists' who would 'roll back rights'. Watch for these and other appellations coming soon to a cable news network near you.
As to the actual nominee there is much speculation, hope and deathly despair. Some say the best the Democrats can hope for would be the current Attorney General, while most conservatives believe that the word 'Gonzales' translates into English as 'Souter'.
As for the rest of the president's short list, we'll just wait and see but the pick here is between the flawed Emilio Garza, the radical Edith Jones or Michael Luttig who is certainly out of the mainstream. Either way, the nominee is almost assuredly one who will be a strict originalist.
Even here the left has hope, in that Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter seems to share their disdain and misunderstanding of the Constitution. He said, ''If you followed original intent, the galleries in the United States Senate would still be segregated, with Caucasians on one side and African-Americans on the other side."
It seems Senator Specter has been too busy studying Scottish law to have read Article V of the U.S. Constitution which gives the congress or the states the power to amend any part of that document; which was how the country ended slavery and gave women and minorities the right to vote. Liberals in general and five justices of the Supreme Court also seem to have ignored Article VI which reads in part:
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall bethe supreme Law of the Land... The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution.
It works this way: this nation was meant to be governed by the people through their representatives and not by the courts. The only influence the people have in the make-up of the courts is through presidential and senate elections. And they have increasingly spoken with a conservative voice in the past five years, thus hoping to ensure that voice is heard when judges are appointed.
And the president has not campaigned for their vote up and down this country for six years in order to let a senate minority put the kibosh on his dream of reconstituting the Supreme Court along more Constitution-friendly lines. A radical concept indeed.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!
© 1996-2013, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.