As long as the Constitution, as currently written and interpreted, forms the basis of our social contract here in the United States, I do not fear for the future of our Republic.

The left sees the Constitution as an impediment to implementing some of it’s more radical changes, which is why they have politicized the judicial branch since at least 1987 (going perhaps as far back as Roosevelt). Very few people can boast about their last name turning into a verb, but Robert Bork is one of them.
Antonin Scalia, the current bete noir of the far left, was appointed to the Supreme Court just a year prior in 1986 and confirmed 98-0. Anyone think he’d garner a near unanimous vote were he to be nominated in the current political environment?
Scalia has a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court and cannot be forced to leave unless impeached, but that doesn’t stop the left from continuing their attacks. This is because Scalia aggressively promotes and defends his originalist ideas. Clarence Thomas, the other originalist on the Court, keeps a relatively lower profile and doesn’t speak or write as often.
The left can’t remove Scalia from office, but it can aggressively and falsely attack his writings and speeches as evidenced by the latest smear in Salon today from Heather Digby Parton. Ms. Parton, according to her bio, is "the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism."
Having no idea what that prize is, I looked it up. It’s new – only two years old – and last year’s winner is a gentleman named Andrew Sullivan, apparently having fully recovered from his in-patient stay at the Sarah and Trig Palin Obsessive Compulsive Center for Adults. So it’s a liberal organization handing out writing prizes to liberal writers they agree with. Cool.
It’s likely that Ms. Parton’s current column wasn’t included in her submission for the award, because it’s a lazy rehash of a Think Progress post that she links to. Note what Ms. Digby doesn’t do – link to Scalia directly. This is 2014 after all and SCOTUS releases all of their decisions for public consumption. Google took .02129 seconds to find this.
A cursory read demonstrates that Scalia is making a legal and procedural point and as someone not schooled in law I don’t have the tools to evaluate his legal reasoning. I can assume it wasn’t persuasive, as his was a dissent, but Ms. Digby isn’t concerned with Scalia’s legal reasoning.
She wants to attack his character. She thinks he’s "depraved."
Ms. Digby is against the death penalty, that much is certain from her column. So am I. So are many Libertarians. I sympathize with the "what if the person convicted turns out to be innocent" argument, but that’s not the basis for my objection. I don’t believe we should ever empower the government to terminate another person’s life. Period.
The Founders didn’t see it that way. They wrote the Constitution so as to prohibit "cruel and unusual punishment" and in their day execution was neither cruel nor unusual. But they didn’t proscribe execution in certain cases either. That question, like so many others, is left to the states to decide.
I accept this state of affairs. I understand that Constitution allows execution but I have the opportunity – and the duty, if I feel strongly – to persuade my fellow citizens that the exercise of that authority is morally wrong.
For the left, and Ms. Digby apparently, this is an unconscionable state of affairs. If something is "right" by their worldview, then everyone else must accept and be governed by that worldview. It forms the basis for much of the legal reasoning – aka the "living Constitution" – which results in granting legal meaning to an old text which it did not have at the time it was drafted.
"Cruel and unusual punishment" is a perfect example. There is no possible way that the Founders thought they were outlawing execution by using this phrase. But to society in 2014, many of us think of execution as both cruel and unusual. We attach a meaning to that phrase that the people who democratically enacted the law did not and would not have attached to it.
The progressive argument – that despite the original meaning of the text we should attach a new meaning to the words – misses a step. It grants the judiciary a power normally reserved for the legislature. States can outlaw capital punishment, and 18 have plus the District of Columbia. But those on the far left don’t want to go through the messy process of persuading people – they’re right after all, why would they need to persuade anyone?
All of this leads Ms. Digby to take the story of two men wrongly convicted of murder in 1983 and sentenced to death row – a great argument against giving the government the power to terminate a life and a wonderful example of how innovation and science can add clarity to an imperfect system – and turns it into a scathing and untruthful attack on Justice Scalia. She might sincerely care about getting rid of the death penalty, but that, apparently, is not her goal.
Scalia must be discredited lest his ideas permeate the minds of impressionable law students who may one day succeed him on the Supreme Court. Because as long as the Constitution remains in place, the progressive agenda is limited in it’s scope.
I will be hereby be nominating myself for the 2015 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism. Something tells me my politics will prevent me from winning, but based on this column I suspect my analysis journalism skills far surpass those of Ms. Digby.
0 0 votes
Article Rating