Democracy, Loyalty, and Being Right
“They also positively reneged on the implicit deal between a president and his nominees, an unspoken understanding that the nominee knows the general beliefs of the president sending him or her to the Senate and generally agreed with that set of beliefs.” So states Hugh Hewitt, eloquently and insightfully, in “Leave John Roberts Alone.” He is referring to a trio of justices, David Souter, Harry Blackmun, and William Brennan, whose opinions on the court veered from the philosophy of the presidents who nominated them, in fact three justices whose court opinions departed from the conservatism which is necessary to save our nation and our democracy. He concludes that ‘Trojan Horse’ justices such as the aforementioned trio deserve ‘the searing appraisal of their understanding of what judicial ethics requires of nominees when they are first offered a job on the Supreme Court or any court.’ What is required is loyalty to the views of the president who appoints you and an adherence to a proper political philosophy.
While Hewitt defends John Roberts, others have reacted with concern and criticism to some of his decisions. While Hewitt supports Roberts because he ‘has moved the jurisprudence of the U.S. in an originalist direction,’ and that this should insulate him from the decisions he made regarding Obamacare, others see those decisions as tantamount to treason. Ted Cruz roundly denounced John Roberts, and apologized for his vote to confirm him, as a result of the two Obamacare decisions Roberts handed down which Cruz maintains violate the conservatism which should be required of a Supreme Court justice. Ben Wolfgang of the Washington Times insists that ‘it’s too late for him to salvage his credibility with them [conservatives].’ Supreme Court justices need to remember that their obligation is to forward the political philosophy of their appointers, not cross over to legalistic posturing.
Winston Churchill was wrong when he noted, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” While some would say that the strength of democracy is in bringing people of different points of view together and seeing which ones gain support, the real strength of democracy is in providing people who know what is right the tools to ensure that their viewpoint prevails. And what is right is clear. An originalist view of the Constitution. The knowledge that America is a Christian Nation. The recognition that just as voting was limited to certain groups in the early days of our republic, it is fair and proper to ensure that it remains limited to the right class of people.
Hewitt extends originalism beyond merely an interpretation of the Constitution and the obligation of justices to adhere to it. He extends it to the viewpoints of the presidents who appointed the justices. He wields his harsh criticism of Souter, Blackmun, and Brennan because they used their intellect and experience to reconsider their original views, and evolved away from a strict construction of the views of the presidents who appointed them. It is as if they applied the notion of the ‘living document’ to their own judicial views, and allowed themselves to stray.
While progressives think that purpose of education is to provide the opportunities and knowledge so that students can think critically and come to their own opinions, conservatives rightly understand that the purpose of education is, in Barry Goldwater’s words, “to transmit the cultural heritage of one generation to the next generation, and to so train the minds of the new generation as to make them capable of absorbing ancient learning.” Our children should inherit the culture and views of their parents, and their parents before them, and pass this on to their children. Likewise, as Hugh Hewitt so admirably states, Supreme Court justices should not allow their views to be altered by their experience on the court, but should continue to transmit the views of the president who appointed them, even after decades on the court.