Saturday, October 16, 2010

Alito's Anti-Constitutional No Show Planned, and Wrong Headed Originalism.

In this short update on the Supreme Court, these two pieces stood out:

AP - When Supreme Court justices enter the House of Representatives in their black robes for the president's next State of the Union address, Samuel Alito does not plan to be among them. He reacted to Obama's unusual rebuke of the court for its decision in a campaign finance case by shaking his head and mouthing the words "not true." The better course, Alito said, is to follow the example of more experienced justices like Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and the recently retired John Paul Stevens. None has attended in several years.

At least one justice, Stephen Breyer, has said he was not bothered by Obama's criticism and believes justices should attend so that viewers can see the three branches of government represented in the same room.

Gee, all three branches of government in the same room, what a thought. Breyer’s perspective appears to respect the intended concept of the founding fathers. (I do love writing this stuff like a tea partier.)

Justice Steven’s has this amazing example of how wrong originalist interpretations are of the Eight Amendment…the whole Constitution for that matter:

In a recent speech in Washington, Stevens reached back to 1991 to take Scalia to task for his opinion in Harmelin v. Michigan, a case that upheld a life prison term for cocaine possession against a challenge that the sentence was cruel and unusual.

Scalia, Stevens said, concluded in his opinion that the Eighth Amendment prohibited specific kinds of punishments, including drawing and quartering and disembowelment, "but contained no requirement that the punishment fit the crime."

Even a life sentence for a parking ticket would not have violated the Constitution under that reasoning, Stevens said. The real issue, the 90-year-old retired justice said (and not for the first time), is Scalia's faulty reliance on originalism to interpret the Constitution.

In Scalia's view, judges should give a fair reading to the words of the Constitution as they were meant when they were written.

But Stevens said that "reliance on history, even when the interpretation of past events is completely accurate and undisputed, provides an insufficient guide to the meaning of our Constitution." Instead, he said, the Eighth Amendment "responds to evolving standards of decency in a maturing society."

If you have no standards of decency, than you’re a Republican. Enough said.
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