ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Our Future Chief Justice

I happened to catch Justice Antonin Scalia on C-SPAN late last night, giving a speeh with Q&A at the end regarding Constitutional Interpretation at the Woodrow Wilson Int'l Center. If you ever wanted to know what the heck original intent meant and why it protects our freedoms better than viewing the Constitution as a "Living, Breathing Document" that evolves with the thoughts and wishes of the people, this is Must See TV. (RealPlayer required). If the previous link doesn't work, copy this URL and paste into realplayer after clicking on File, Open in RealPlayer:
rtsp://video.c-span.org/project/c04/c04031405_scalia.rm

Or go to the CSPAN website and search for Scalia. Here are my search results. Title of the video is "Justice Antonin Scalia Speech on Constitutional Interpretation"

The basic message from Scalia is that if you want our laws & government policy to evolve with the people, DO IT THROUGH THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. Convince and persuade your fellow citizens that your position is correct and get it passed through our democratic process. The "Living, Breathing Constitution" perspective empowers unelected justices to impose their feelings on these matters, while at the samme time removing the issue from further debate (ie if it's unconstitutional, it no longer becomes a matter for the legislatures (federal or state)). Our government is more flexible when the Constitution is interpreted through original intent, because the difficult issues of the day (on which our opinions will change over time) can be decided through the legislative process year after year.

***UPDATE***
Laura Ingraham discussing this topic now.

Recent poll shows that 75% of Americans (85% of Republicans, 75% of Indies, and even 66% of Democrats) think that Bush should keep his promise and appoint strict constructionists to the court (Scalia prefers the term Original Intent).

82% of Americans believe that a vote should occur on any judicial nominee that is deemed to be qualified (in terms of judicial competence, not in terms of political ideology).

Scalia was confirmed 98-0 and the remaining 2 votes would've been for him, but they were absent. This would be impossible given today's reactionary partisanship by the Dems.

The Judicial Confirmation Network attempts takes the issue to the grassroots. Here's an AP story about the speech on their website, for those unable to view the realplayer clip.

**UPDATE - 3/16***
Three Bad Fingers has the full transcript (if you're unable to watch the video)

***UPDATE 2 - 3/16***
Three Bad Fingers has now posted the transcript from the Q&A which followed. It's interesting to read the questions that some of the law professors ask. More importantly are Scalia's responses...

What I don't get is that this philosophy of Original Intent isn't complicated... and you can tell that people realize that, but also realize that it doesn't allow judges to do the "good things" that they want them to do. They're making a Faustian bargain by giving the Judiciary this much power to govern over our lives and not confining them to the original intent of the texts.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler