The courts are often thought of as the last place citizens can go to find redress for grievances. However, a citizen can not find redress in the Supreme Court, if the court will not accept the case. A dangerous special interest, the religious right has been able to breathe new life into the doctrine of strict constructionism. It has not happened over night. The journey has taken several decades. It will be complete should the Senate confirm Judge Samuel Alito as the next Supreme Court Justice. His jurisprudence of strict constructionism is not good for the nation for all the reasons stated in recent postings. With strict constructionism as the prevailing jurisprudence of the court, citizens will have less access to the Supreme Court.
For several postings this writer has been writing about the darkness of originalism or strict constructionism as a means for constitutional interpretation. Dark because it limits access to the Supreme Court and defers to the states for resolution of the peoples grievances.
The alternative approach would be an non originalism or an expansive interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. Most things change with time. What is useful for dealing with something today. May be considered obsolete tomorrow. It’s fair to say that in some instances it may even be illegal.
Consider that the some of the founding fathers owned plantations. The people who owned those plantations employed people kidnapped from Africa. Those Africans were bought here in ships that provided living quarters not fit for human habitation. Once here these Africans were sold to the highest bidder. Once bought, these human beings were considered the property of their purchaser. Most were forced to provide free labor for their masters and plantation owners. With the exception of owning property, all the above behaviors today are constitutionally prohibited. In short, illegal meaning criminal. All because of a jurisprudence that viewed the constitution as a document that was expansive in its jurisprudence. Other examples exists, like the liberation of women as property of their husbands. The long battle women fought to earn the right to vote. Separation of church and state will shrink unless any notion of strict constructionism is defeated. Good bye, Judge Alito!
Basically a non originalists or expansive jurisprudence’s for constitutional interpretation has this for its foundation. The authors of the nations constitution could not anticipate the extent that the government might extend itself in the future to oppress the people. Therefore, the Supreme Court justices must at times step in, and be the protector of the people.
Soon the Senate Judiciary Committee will take up the nomination of Judge Samuel A. Alito as a candidate for the Supreme Court. He will be asked lots of questions concerning his jurisprudence. He will give many reasons as to why he can not answer those questions. He’ll do that for fear of being “BORKED.” The senators need an answer to one question. Judge Alito, are you a strict constructionists? He will not directly answer that question. The Senators will have to secure the answer from his writings and how he answers questions. Of course, the answer is already known. Judge Samuel Alito is a strict constructionists. He should be rejected by the committee. And of course, that is going to occur either. So, it is up to the American public to mobilize, and persuade the full Senate to reject Judge Alitio nomination.
Samuel Adams fought against British colonial rule and a signer of The Declaration of Independence had this to say about the art of persuasion. It does not take a majority to prevail. It takes a irate tireless minority. Keen on setting brush fires of liberty in the minds of the people. That is what it is going to take to defeat Alito. A conviction that liberty is at risk with a Supreme Court majority whose jurisprudence is of strict constructionism.