In light of the victory that barely squeaked through the Supreme Court yesterday, I believe it would be beneficial to revisit how our candidates plan to select Supreme Court Justices. Remember that is a power of the president’s office.
First we have Obama:
“We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that’s the criteria by which I’m going to be selecting my judges.”
Really? Well that is downright scary. It is not a judges job to understand these things. A judges job is to interpret and apply the law in a given scenario. Being fair and just does not and should not require empathy. If being poor, African-American, gay, disabled, or old changes the way a law applies, then the law needs to be written that way. That’s the job of a legislator, not a judge.
Stealing is a crime. It is just as much of a crime if a single mom steals food to feed her family. Of course we feel sorry for her situation, but that does not change the fact that a crime is committed. Saying otherwise is legislating from the bench. Judges do have the opportunity to show her mercy, but they should not be changing policy.
[added] And there is this from his DailyKos diary:
There is one way, over the long haul, to guarantee the appointment of judges that are sensitive to issues of social justice, and that is to win the right to appoint them by recapturing the presidency and the Senate.
Social justice? Um no. But this does confirm that it’s all part of his great plan of hopechanginess.[end of edit]
Contrast McCain’s position:
“My nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power, and clear limits to the scope of federal power,” McCain said Tuesday in a speech at Wake Forest University.
He also promises to nominate justices in the mold of Roberts and Alito.
We don’t need activist judges that believe in a living Constitution. The founding fathers meant it just like they wrote it. There is a very democratic process by which it can be amended. Allowing unelected judges dictate public policy is a short path to fascism. The system of checks and balances hinges on the separation of powers.
The issue of justices alone should make one tremble. Don’t forget that there are enough liberal votes in the Senate to confirm any justice Obama nominates. The existing justices are not getting any younger.
I certainly still have my issues with McCain, but I agree with him more that I disagree. The only benefit I can see from an Obama presidency is that it would be so exceedingly bad that the people would wake up and take action. Unfortunately, Americans have gotten too fat, lazy, and complacent.