Saturday, October 29, 2005


Captain's Quarters on CNN

The guy from Captain's Quarters is on CNN right now - gotta be a kick for him, and personally, I think that's awesome. I truly wish it were me. However, I have a long-standing beef with what he just tried to get away with saying.

Note both to conservative talking-point parroters and to Democrats - When it comes to judicial nominations, "Originalist" does not mean "true to the intent of the Constitution." The Founding Fathers didn't know about abortion, they didn't know about stem cells, they didn't know about evolution, they didn't know about Social Security, they didn't know about terrorism.

To lift a line from With Honors, spoken by Joe Pesci, the genius of the Constitution was that it can change to fit the times. The Founding Fathers were smart enough to realize that their children, and their children, and their children, would face challenges those in the 1780s hadn't even thought of, and would need a national order flexible enough to meet them head-on, without having to refer to "the originalist view" of the Constitution.

No, in modern terms, "Originalist" means "because the Constitution says nothing which specifically allows abortion, it should be illegal, whatever the majority of the country believes about the act of abortion as a necessary evil, and its performance by a doctor under sterile conditions being vastly superior to unscrupulous criminals in back alleys with coat hangers." "Originalist" means "the Founding Fathers didn't foresee Social Security, so it should be dismantled." And that is absolute crap, from start to finish. Times change, and so must our laws. If we refuse to do so - because of fear of change, because of personal bias, for any reason - we risk fading into the mists of history like the great powers upon whose shoulders we have built our global influence and cultural power.

So, while it was cool to see a local blogger on national TV, it was noticeable that he spouted the same GOP talking points that are in use in the federal government. These points are wrong, and they are misleading. By the GOP's definition of "activist judges" who "legislate from the bench," the fact is that the most activist judges on the Supreme Court are named Scalia and Thomas, not Breyer and Ginsburg.

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