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Ability should overrule all issues

By Frank Salvato
web posted November 15, 2004

Since the re-election of George W. Bush there has been quite a bit of talk about potential nominees to the US Supreme Court. Those of us who live in the land of reality -- who aren't mulling the black helicopter stolen election conspiracy theories of Greg Palast and US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) -- know that President Bush will most likely be nominating more than one jurist to the highest court in the land. Rather than the nominee's personal preferences on individual issues we should be focusing on their ability to safeguard the US Constitution.

Perhaps this subject matter best illustrates the sorry state of our union-controlled education system, a system that places more emphasis on political correctness and self-esteem than actual education. When one believes it is appropriate to use a single-issue litmus test when contemplating a nominee for the Supreme Court it can be argued that they don't understand the function of the third branch of our government. The NEA-fostered "dumbing down of America" continues.

The US Supreme Court -- the pinnacle of the Judicial Branch of our government -- has the daunting task of being the protector and interpreter of the US Constitution. They do not create laws, at least they are not supposed to. They are supposed to apply the Constitution to problems brought before them deeming them constitutional or non-constitutional. Law making is the job of the Legislative Branch not the judiciary. This notion is progressively escaping many jurists today. In the case of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, this notion has been forgotten altogether.

Many among the liberal-left and the radical-right are paralyzed in ideological tunnel vision. It doesn't matter what the issue; abortion, gun owner rights, prayer in schools, using the word "God," some in our society believe that issue oriented litmus tests are applicable when it comes to confirming or rejecting a president's nominees to the Supreme Court. This ideological tunnel vision is both shortsighted and dangerous. In fact, it is limiting and in the end excludes some incredibly talented legal minds from attaining their rightful place on the bench of the highest court in the land.

One example of tunnel vision based ideological sabotage occurred during the confirmation hearings of President Reagan's nominee Robert Bork. While the liberal left branded him "anti-abortion" and promoted the idea that he would single-handedly overturn Roe v. Wade the fact of the matter is that Bork was -- and still is -- a proponent of judicial restraint, a concept in direct opposition to the judicial activism we are experiencing today. He believes the Supreme Court's task is to adjudicate from the bench rather than to legislate from it. But politics being what it is, Bork's nomination was rejected and ‘We the People' were deprived of a brilliant judicial mind in the roll of sentinel for our Constitution. Justice Anthony Kennedy was awarded the vacancy and serves dutifully today.

The point here is this, it is infinitely more important to place protectors of the Constitution on the Supreme Court than it is to load the highest court in the land with politically acceptable, issue oriented puppets of our political parties. It is critical that we have jurists on the Supreme Court who hold the Constitution higher than politics. They must live and breathe the liberty that sets forth from our Founder's creation to all the people of the United States not just those who have the power to get elected or lobby our political process. Politics should not enter into the realm of our Constitution.

It is for this reason that "We the People" should demand a level of excellence for our Constitution's sentinels, a level of excellence that far exceeds a one-issue litmus test. We must strive to court and select the most brilliant constitutional minds within our legal community, minds that will honor our Founding Fathers and their creation. We need to elevate jurists who will weigh, with deep contemplation, all the far-reaching implications of their decisions without deference to pressure from special interests, no matter how noble the cause.

The phrase, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is more than just a catchy tagline used on national holidays. It is the precept included in the Declaration of Independence that helped to inspire our Constitution. It is a phrase that epitomizes the principles employed in the construction of the "contract" between our government and the governed, the contract that is the US Constitution -- the supreme law of the land.

Let us choose to employ the brilliant mind over the political activist, the intellectually humble over the issue-oriented narcissist. Let us choose sentinels to protect our Constitution not political activists. Our nation's future may very well depend on decisions made today by those we entrust with this duty.

Frank Salvato is a political media consultant and the managing editor for TheRant.us. His pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com. He has appeared as a guest on The O'Reilly Factor and numerous radio shows. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention and are periodically featured in The Washington Times as well as other national and international publications. He can be contacted at oped@therant.us Copyright © 2004 Frank Salvato

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