Democrats and the Roberts Nomination
Democrat leader Harry Reid, once purported to be a more “moderate” kind of Democrat than the infamous Tom Daschle, announced this week that he will oppose the confirmation of John Roberts as Chief Justice. He explained that he just wasn’t sure where Roberts stood on issues like abortion and civil rights.
Reid and other Democrat opponents are effectively acknowledging that they believe federal judges are essentially political candidates – it’s just that Roberts is seeking a different office, with an elite electorate. Like candidates for any public office – they must take a position on issues of the day and persuade members of the Senate that they will faithfully serve that ideology. Something like door-knocking an upscale neighborhood.
This is a radical view of the judiciary, but one which has gained great currency over the past couple decades. It naturally leads to a very fluid and politicized interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Just look at Idaho’s experience with federal judges and our long campaign to establish a Parental Consent Law: each of the judges seem to have their own, unique edition of the Constitution. It means one thing in one court – something different in the next. In one court, the law is constitutional; in another, the Legislature has violated some bizarre construction of the very same document.
That is a very disturbing dynamic – since the founders of this great nation risked all to establish a government of some certainty. They wanted rights and governmental limits established by both the written word and consent of governors and governed. No longer would men be subject to the arbitrary whim of a king.
It seems ordained that Roberts will be confirmed next week. And it is simply unknown how he will vote on the crucial matter of legalized abortion. But his public statements do suggest that he appreciates the glory of what our forefathers achieved in establishing a written Constitution designed to produce limited government. For most of our history, the words of the Constitution were given their plain meaning – and judges valued their role as its defender.
We must pray that Roberts will use this great trust to help restore constitutional government to America, including effective respect for the fundamental right to life.