Old Patriot's Pen

Personal pontifications of an old geezer born 200 years too late.

NOTE The views I express on this site are mine and mine alone. Nothing I say should be construed as being "official" or the views of any group, whether I've been a member of that group or not. The advertisings on this page are from Google, and do not constitute an endorsement on my part.

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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

I've been everywhere That was the title of a hit country-and-western song from the late 1950's, originally sung by Hank Snow, and made famous by Johnny Cash. I resemble that! My 26-year career in the Air Force took me to more than sixty nations on five continents - sometimes only for a few minutes, other times for as long as four years at a time. In all that travel, I also managed to find the perfect partner, help rear three children, earn more than 200 hours of college credit, write more than 3000 reports, papers, documents, pamphlets, and even a handful of novels, take about 10,000 photographs, and met a huge crowd of interesting people. I use this weblog and my personal website here to document my life, and discuss my views on subjects I find interesting.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Time to Enforce the Constitution

Article III of the Constitution of the United States establishes the Supreme Court and such inferior courts as the Congress from time to time shall ordain and establish. The Constitution also says that judges "shall hold their offices during good behavior". There's nothing in the Constitution that demands that justices remain for the rest of their lives,or until they retire - just so long as they continue to exhibit 'good behavior'. There's also this comment in the third paragraph that's very interesting: "In all the other cases before-mentioned, the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both in law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations, as the Congress shall make."

It's time to enforce the "good behavior" clause of the US Constitution and dismiss at least three judges of the US Supreme Court: Ruth Badder Ginsburg, Sandra Day O'Conner, and Andrew Kennedy. There are a couple of others we should watch, as well. The following article about Ruth Badder Ginsburg is especially revealing.

Justice Ginsburg: Supreme Court Considers Foreign Laws, Not Just Constitution
By Dave Eberhart,
Sunday, April 3, 2005

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Friday that as a justice she considers foreign laws – not just U.S. laws and its Constitution - in forming her legal opinions.

Ginsburg said criticisms of relying too heavily on world opinion "should not lead us to abandon the effort to learn what we can from the experience and good thinking foreign sources may convey."

"The notion that it is improper to look beyond the borders of the United States in grappling with hard questions has a certain kinship to the view that the U.S. Constitution is a document essentially frozen in time as of the date of its ratification," Ginsburg added in remarks to the members of the 99 year-old American Society of International Law in Washington, D.C.

The Constitution of the United States has never been "frozen in time". But there is only ONE legitimate way to change that Constitution, and that's through the Amendment process found in Article V of that document. Changing either the wording, or the meaning, of our Constitution, or adjudicating any violation of the laws of the United States, demands that only those laws that have been passed by the representatives of the American people be used. How can one assess the violations of US law by depending on the laws of France or Australia? How can one determine the violation of rights under our Constitution by looking to Europe, or Asia, or Africa for "guidance"?

A "living Constitution" is just a worthless scrap of paper, and Ginsburg, Souter, Kennedy, O'Connor, and other "liberal" members of the Court understand that. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land. If it can be modified at the whim of a group of five justices, then we have no Constitution, and we are no longer a nation of laws, but of lawyers and judges. The other laws of the United States are those laws we, the people, have either accepted, or authorized our representatives at federal, state, and local levels to pass. WE haven't had any input into the laws of Germany or Italy, so why should their laws be used to govern us? The social, cultural, and political differences between Europe and the United States, or of Asia, Africa, or South America, do not necessarily match those of this nation.

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Ginsburg's pronouncements fly in the face of fellow Justice Antonin Scalia's recent dissent in a juvenile death penalty case where he said that "like-minded foreigners" should not be given a role in helping interpret the Constitution.

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"Judges in the United States are free to consult all manner of commentary," Ginsburg argued to her audience, citing examples when the logic of foreign courts had been applied to help untangle legal questions domestically, and of legislatures and courts abroad adopting U.S. law.

Consult, yes. To use to determine the outcome of a case, never. There is only one source of law in the United States, and that is the Constitution of the United States, and the government that holds power under it. No other power has jurisdiction over the rights and privileges of citizens of the United States, or their lawful activities. Giving another government such power is a grave insult to the sovereignty and freedom of the citizens of this nation.

But some House Republicans seem to be leaning to Scalia's purist notion, recently introducing resolutions declaring that the "meaning of the Constitution of the United States should not be based on judgments, laws or pronouncements of foreign institutions unless such foreign judgments, laws or pronouncements inform an understanding of the original meaning of the Constitution of the United States."

In her address, Justice Ginsberg noted, "Although I doubt the resolutions will pass this Congress, it is disquieting that they have attracted sizable support."

Ginsburg, a Democrat appointed by Bill Clinton, is not alone in her view that the Court should consider foreign laws in forming American court opinions.

In 2003, Republican Justice Sandra Day O'Connor openly stated that the court should look abroad for judicial guidance. Sandra Day O'Connor "The impressions we create in this world are important, and they can leave their mark," O'Connor said in a speech.

That is not the purpose of the judiciary. The purpose of the judiciary is to ensure the application of justice on behalf of the government and citizens of the United States. Foreign policy is the role of the President, exercised through the office of the Secretary of State. The judiciary has no business trying to make, or enforce, US foreign policy. Such behavior is a violation of the separation of powers, and should be enough on its own to exclude such justices from the bench.

She indicated that the U.S. is not respected abroad "when it comes to the impression created by the treatment of foreign and international law and the United States court, the jury is still out."

O'Connor indicated she and the High Court had been influenced in recent rulings. She cited foreign laws as having helped the Court rule that executing mentally retarded individuals as illegal. O'Connor also said the Court relied on European Court decisions when it struck down Texas's law outlawing sodomy or sex between adults of the same gender.

Justice Scalia, who dissented from OI'Connor's view, wrote: "The court's discussion of these foreign views (ignoring, of course, the many countries that have retained criminal prohibitions on sodomy) is ... meaningless dicta. Dangerous dicta, however, since this court ... should not impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans," he said, quoting the 2002 Foster v. Florida case.

The Judiciary has failed to save the life of Terri Schiavo, allowing a lower court to impose a death sentence when there was no need, and no jutification to do so. It failed both to review the case law involved, and the facts of the case itself. The judiciary has not covered itself with much glory, but has managed to bathe in mud more than a few times. If there's any hostility toward the judiciary, it's because it's been well-earned.

We have a judiciary with a growing tendency to make law, rather than interpreting it. We also seem to have a judicary, even at the highest levels, that fails to understand that Americans should only be held accountable to the laws of this nation, and that such laws are truly legal and binding, regardless of what "others" think. The use of foreign law to determine guilt or innocence of US citizens, or to determine the legality and applicability of US laws, is both unjust and unConstitutional. Such "judges" should not be allowed to continue to destroy this nation from within, but should be removed from the bench and prevented from every holding a position of authority in any US government.


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