Thursday, April 07, 2005

Literate Judges Only, Please

Duncan Currie's article in the Weekly Standard about the showdown in the Senate over the Federal bench is a must-read. While it correctly addresses the problem of "imperial judges" as he calls them, as it appropriately chides conservatives for buying into the mindset of the left.

I never again want to hear another conservative advocate for "conservative judges" on the bench. As emotionally satisfying as it would be to play turnabout with the left, it's a violation of our separation of powers and an invitation to tyranny. Let the conservatives, moderates and liberals all come, be clothed in robes and seated at a nicely varnished bench. I just want the ones who can read.

And by read, I mean the ones who actually read the statutes that are involved in the cases before them, and without philosophizing, apply such law to the cases before them by the plain terms of the statute, and write opinions that stay true to the statute, not true to what a judge believes the statute ought to say.

Because the "ought" does not exist in the law unless we put it there in so many words. That's why we have a legislature of so darned many people. Our founders did not want us living under laws formulated by a very few, but by many different minds who could debate, revise, pass or even derail proposals if appropriate. To permit judges a "veto" or even a hand in drafting law is to revive government by the Star Chamber.

All a judge needs to be able to do is read and think. But if they want their viewpoint to be found in the law, it might be better for them to run for office.

Conservatives would be wise to favor simple strict construction of laws. To do anything else is to lower ourselves to the level of the left who are seeking to have us ruled by robed overlords.


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