I have resisted blogging about current events for the last few weeks. Until this weekend there was nothing to comment on except this never-ending Presidential race. I am even more convinced that we should adopt Germany's rules for elections. In German elections, the candidates only get 6 weeks to campaign before voting, so there can be no marathon campaigns that cost fortunes. I would even be willing to stretch that to 3 months, but the year and a half we endure here in America is simply wasteful and disruptive. I am ready for Facebook to go back to posting pictures of food and kittens, instead of mean spirited political memes.
But then over the weekend at a ranch in Texas the game changed. The judicial Don of the privileged class, the consigliere of the right wing, longest serving Supreme Court Justice and some might argue the man who gave George W. Bush the 2000 Presidency, Antonin Scalia died.
He was the first Italian American appointed to the high court, and looked, to me, more like a defendant than a judge. In an alternate universe he could have been a gangster with a nickname like Icepick or the Bull and been more notorious, but instead he became a Reagan appointee to the Supreme Court.
I understand he had a great sense of humor and when not talking about politics, religion, or social issues could be socially engaging. He drank and partied at private outings with the 1% which is what he was doing the day he died.
He became famous for his "originalist" interpretation of the Constitution. I think everyone is agreed that the founding Fathers "original" concept of the Supreme Court was to be completely separate and independent from the politics of the other two branches of Government. As a judge Scalia's writings were clear, easily read, and understood. In a right leaning court he was usually the one who wrote the majority opinion. I can't say I ever agreed with his constitutional opinions, which trended toward racism, homophobia, and the blurring of separation between Church and State. It's obvious that the independence of the Supreme Court has been severely compromised in the last 30 years.
I am not a legal scholar but it seems to me a "constitutional originalist" has very much in common with a person who takes the Bible literally. I think for these two documents to maintain their connection to modern times they must grow to include ideas and advancements that did not exist when they were originally written.
But Scalia is no longer a member of the Supreme Court so all this is moot.
Now the government has a job to replace Judge Scalia so that decisions can't end in a 4 to 4 tie. Republicans have vowed they will not let a replacement be seated while Obama is President. The reason is obvious, they do not want a liberal judge to be seated and upset the conservative majority they have enjoyed for decades. The Democrats want a liberal judge appointed and the Republicans want a conservative appointed and it looks like neither side will compromise. This is the issue and the problem as I see it.
We are a nation of differences. "We the People" have different religions, different ethnic backgrounds and different political parties but "We the people" stand together in one singular group called Americans. The Supreme Court is supposed to be the "independent, non-religious, non-political mediator" of what the constitution defines as American. To that end we should look for the most intelligent mind in a person who will consider the evidence presented, leaving all petty personal opinions out of the discussion and decide what is best for America and Americans. No Supreme Court Judge should be the poster boy (or girl) for any special interest subgroup or political party.
When called for jury duty and during the selection process the presiding Judge will address every personal conflict a juror might have with an admonition that goes something like, "do you think you can set your feelings aside, look at the evidence presented in this court objectively and come to a conclusion based solely upon the evidence you hear?" Why is that the standard expected of me for a week's worth of jury duty and not for a Supreme Court Judge who is appointed to that duty for life?
I would hope and pray that the Senate and the President appoint neither a Democrat nor a Republican, Conservative nor Liberal nor Deacon to sit on the court. We need a person not affiliated with a political party, special interest, religion nor sect of any kind. We need to say to that person, "can you set your feelings aside, look at the evidence presented in this court objectively and come to a conclusion based solely upon the evidence you hear?"
How about a brilliant American with no other identifying tags to become a Supreme Court Judge for the rest of their life?
As you were,