Colbert King and the Caring Constitution


Quick question: Who wanted Judge Janice Rogers Brown on the Supreme Court? And who was it who blocked her?

Let’s refresh our memory. Supporters of this highly qualified woman-who-happens-to-be-black were conservatives. Opponents were liberal Democrats.

And yet. Comes today Colbert King, writing in the Washington Post:

Thus sayeth the high priests of far-right conservatism: To be worthy of appointment to the Supreme Court, a nominee must be scholarly, a great intellect and a possessor of sterling conservative credentials. In addition, the nominee should come equipped with a well-established constitutional philosophy, experience in constitutional law and the ability to divine what the Constitution means through analysis of its words and structure. In addition, they say, the nominee must have a proven ability to write clearly, argue incisively and have well-known opinions on judicial philosophy.

Okay. . . And the problem with that is. . . ? Colbert continues:

Unspoken, but well understood, is that to be short-listed it certainly doesn’t hurt to be white, male and straight. . .

That is an absolute slander. Shame on you Colbert King.

Just take a look at the poll I ran here on this blog. Rogers was the number one pick.

King then goes on to assert that we need people with the right “values” serving on the Supreme Court. In the process he brings us the Caring Constitution:

Missing from the litany of legal virtues approved by the high priests is any expression of values, any awareness of the court’s leavening role in society, any recognition of the court as a bulwark against the majority’s worst instincts. They seem to think it wrong for a judge to search for a constitutional way to “to help, or at least protect, those [who] have a moral claim on the society” . . .

This all sounds good. The problem is that it is intellectually soft and corrupts the role of the courts. This paragraph cited above is a bald articulation of judicial activism.

There is no need for a judge to wander the highways and byways looking for a way to protect the needy — that path is already set out for them through careful interpretation of the Constitution itself.

* * *

Hat tip to Captain Ed for his excellent dissection of King’s piece.


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2 Responses

  1. basil's blog says:

    Breakfast: 11/8/2005

    Try one of these specials with your breakfast:

    Mudville Gazette has a prayer request

    Cranky (Six Meat Buffet) says “Sorry…”

    Lost in Lima Ohio is following the story of a monster

    Confederate Yankee catches the Brady Center lying…

  2. Is it just me, or have a lot of people forgotten that the Supreme Court looks at actual cases? That maybe – just maybe – sometimes the Justices ought to be ruling on a specific case based on the merits (or lack thereof) of that case, instead of being consumed with the idea of using it as a coathook on which to hang their favorite legal fashion?

    To be fair, a lot of the cases seem mighty manufactured, and put forward by people who clearly are as precedent-obsessed as some of the folks on the court and in politics and in bureaucracies.

    But I’d love to see the court stay within bounds a little more often, and its rulings not touted as pronouncements on social policy quite as much.

    Silly me, right?

    (A person can dream, can’t they?)

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