The Wall Street Journal published a scathing editorial this week, ripping into Hillary Clinton for her views on the Constitution and the Supreme Court. The Journal’s editorial board was aghast at Hillary’s comments at the third presidential debate, where she explained to viewers that the Supreme Court should represent “the people” and that her nominees would protect the powerless and stand up to the powerful.
“The Supreme Court should represent all of us,” Hillary said. “And the kind of people that I would be looking to nominate to the court would be in the great tradition of standing up to the powerful, standing up on our behalf of our rights as Americans.”
“Where to begin with that one?” asked the WSJ editorial board. “The Supreme Court doesn’t – or shouldn’t – ‘represent’ anyone. In the U.S. system that’s the job of the elected branches. The courts are appointed, not elected, so they can be nonpartisan adjudicators of competing legal claims.
“Mrs. Clinton is suggesting that the Court should be a super-legislature that vindicates the will of what she calls ‘the American people,’ which apparently excludes ‘the powerful,'” they continue. “But last we checked, the Constitution protects everyone, even the powerful. The law is supposed to protect individual rights, not an abstraction called ‘the people.'”
This is a timely piece.
We’ve gotten in the bad habit of pining for “conservative” justices, playing into this false belief that “liberalism” and “conservatism” are two valid philosophies of equal merit when it comes to filling out the Supreme Court.
Liberalism, as a political philosophy, has its place. People who want social progress have every right to choose politicians who will fight for that progress, no matter how inane the proposals might be. There’s nothing inherently broken in the system when liberals keep electing liberals. It sucks, but it’s not a threat to the core of the nation.
The Supreme Court, however, should not be infected with “liberalism” as we know it through the Democratic Party. Liberalism/progressivism, by definition, means pushing for change. “Progress.” When applied to politics, it can be tolerated. When applied to the law, it represents a threat to our republic.
There are ways to change and amend the Constitution. These methods are slow, difficult, and cumbersome. And that’s the way it must be. If our Constitution is subject to the shifting winds of political trends, it ceases to have any power. It becomes meaningless. We may as well shred it and start calling the Supreme Court the “Living Constitution.” Just tell us what to do, guys! What could go wrong?
Conservatism, through literal constitutional interpretation, is the only appropriate Supreme Court philosophy. One “liberal” judge is one too many.