By Scott Tibbs, May 28, 2009
President Barack Obama made a major gaffe in speaking about a potential Supreme Court nominee, declaring that a potential nominee needs to "be able to stand in somebody else's shoes and see through their eyes and get a sense of how the law might work or not work in practical day-to-day living." With this statement, Obama displayed extreme disrespect for the rule of law and the Constitution and a fundamental misunderstanding of the American system of government. This should be of great concern to every American.
Our system of government is brilliant in its simplicity. The highest legal authority in our land is not a king, a president or an elected legislature, but a document that defines the powers of government and what government may and may not do. If the President, the Congress, or state or local government attempts to do something not allowed by the Constitution, that action has no legal authority. While the Constitution can be amended, the amendment process is slow and difficult, intended to preserve our system of government against the whims of popular sentiment.
The best way to "interpret" the Constitution (and any law) is with a literal, word-for-word reading of the actual text. It is not up to a judge, whether a county judge or a Supreme Court justice, to determine whether a law "works" or not. The judge's only responsibility is to determine whether the law is being followed in a manner consistent with the literal text of the law. If the law needs to be changed, the appropriate legislative body should pass an amendment to the law fixing any unforeseen problems. If a "judge" changes the law based on a personal opinion of whether it "works" or not, we cease to be a nation of laws and we instead become a judicial oligarchy.
Monday was Memorial Day, a day we honored all those who have fought and died in defense of our liberty. By so flippantly tossing aside the rule of law, Barack Obama showed obscene disrespect for the men and women who have died in defense of liberty. After all, the rule of law is the foundation of our liberty. Obama should apologize to the families of those who have lost loved ones in war, and promise to nominate a justice who will make rulings based only on a literal, word-for-word reading of the law and the Constitution. If a "judge" changes the law by juridical fiat because that "judge" thinks it does not "work", our Constitution has been shredded and burned. That cannot be tolerated, and any "judge" who would do that should be rejected by a vote of 100-0.