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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

 

Borking

With the new hearings and likely appointment of Alito to the supreme court, people are again remembering Robert Bork, a Reagan nominee of 1987, whose failed political campaign sunk his chances before the explosive hearings even got underway. With the new occurrence of the 24 hour 'news' media, the supreme court nominees can gain more public attention. When I consider democracy in general terms, it seems reasonable to assume a well informed populace would constitute a stronger society. However, with the current state of affairs, featuring a sharp rise in partisan politics (a device actively fed by a citizenry that believes in the enormous over simplifications contained therein) is the attention being paid to the supreme court nominees a positive trait for our democracy to posses, or simply the way in which the lifetime positions of the justices will be undermined by the fact that they will essentially need to be elected or confirmed in the court of public opinion?

Comments:
How do you answer your question?

Justice Scalia has noted that if we believe in a "living constitution," then politics and political ideology become important to picking a Supreme Court Justice. After all, if it is living, the idea is that we want the Court to reinterpret the words from time to time to keep up with the prevailing ideas of good and bad government.

What do you think?
 
I don't think politics and political ideology are what is important. Justice is blind for a reson. The justice system and the people in its highest positions are there not to promote any agenda of the current political climate but to interpret the consitution as it was intended and can resonably be implemented in our contemporary society.
 
Meg: Unfortunately, there are real judges and justices, as well as real law school professors, who believe the best approach to interpreting the Constitution is as a "living constitution." By this, they mean to say that it doesn't really matter what the Court has said in the past were meant by the written words, the meaning can and should be changed as the "values of society" change over time.

I think Justice Scalia is on to something. Before there were law profs and Justices who promoted the "living constitution" view, little attention was paid to the Senate confirmation hearings. Now that many do subscribe to the theory of the living constitution, it becomes important to know a potential justices politics. After all, how would we figure out the ways in which the "values of society" have been changed without appealing to public statements on political issues?
 
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