Cutting through hypocrisy, I want to declare aloud an assumed but hushed reality that U.S. Supreme Court Justices interpret the Constitution based on individual biases.
After all, Republicans and Democrats would not be arguing over whom and when a justice will be nominated to replace the late and Honorable Antonin Scalia if interpretation of law could not be skewed.
Further proof of bias: justices’ voting records consistently divide by ideology. Five to four. Five to four. Five to four. Of course exceptions can be found when common sense sides with both constitutional principles and underlying partisan goals.
Attorneys have argued with my assertion that justices are biased. I hear terms such as Originalist used to describe Justice Antonin Scalia. He self-described this too, saying he sought the original intent of the Constitution. This is just fine as a concept, however, each conservative and liberal delves into the Constitution and finds what he or she is seeking. Each interpretation is different. Five to four.
Justices contemplate and summarize law with intelligence and insight, and craft excellent arguments one way or the other. Yet it is still interpretation. It is still biased.
The founding fathers were people, just like us, yet brilliant and visionary. Some Americans want to adamantly believe founders were guided by a deity when drafting the Constitution. Others like myself think these men learned from the British monarchy what “not to do.” Separation of church and state was a remarkable move on their part and this law became critically beneficial to religionists and non-believers alike.
Proof exists, by the way, that the Constitution is not the catchall, end-all of a great society. Twenty-seven constitutional amendments validate and correct weaknesses of the Constitution, including one of my many favorites, the right for women to vote.
In analyzing one recent SCOTUS decision, perhaps the most important issue for humanity no matter where you weigh on the conservative/moderate/liberal scale: just a few weeks ago, before Justice Scalia’s death, justices blocked President Obama’s approved Environmental Protection Agency Clean Power Plan from moving forward while the rule is challenged in court. The SCOTUS vote was again, five to four.
The Clean Power Plan’s delay by the Court is an example of a partisan-divided decision, messing with the earth and the lives of seven billion people. SCOTUS’s outcome shunned a worldwide clean air plan, a vote remarkably shortsighted. If you read into my words as “she’s just liberal,” you are not thinking about the future, nor your children’s and grandchildren’s welfare. Global warming and climate change are not feel-good social contracts. Climate change data is fact, black and white within an otherwise gray world, a world chock-full of differing opinions, diversified cultures, and conflicting political systems and religions. Yet environmental data is data. Resources in order to exist are diminishing. And SCOTUS voted to delay dealing with this data.
So may I suggest: nominate a moderate to replace Scalia; an experienced lower court justice smart enough to look beyond partisanship and use reason. He or she will be biased, but how about biased toward our country as a whole, and not toward a political ideology or party?
The left and right will continue to argue and sabotage, convincing the world yet again we reside in a dysfunctional democracy. Room for improvement is about as wide as the Grand Canyon. Why not improve our country starting with this U.S. Supreme Court nomination?
Let’s do something right, something smart, something that moves our country forward, rather than stalling it with political idiocracy. What we do in the U.S. influences the globe. In my opinion, an additional moderate on the U.S. Supreme Court could favorably impact the future of humanity.