Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Judicial Bias

            The topic of discussion for this Constitution Monday concerns the need for judges to base their decisions on the Constitution of the United States rather than on their own political biases. The task given to judges, particularly the justices on the Supreme Court, is to decide whether or not a law or action is constitutional. Yet, numerous judges allow political bias to cloud decisions.

            The Senate hearings were wild as Senators sought to determine if Judge Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed as a justice on the Supreme Court. Democrats were determined to keep him off the highest court, and Republicans were unwavering in giving him a fair hearing. Kavanaugh defended himself against several claims of sexual abuse that were later proven to be untrue. While doing so, he described his idea of the job of judges as follows. 

My judicial philosophy is straightforward. A judge must be independent and must interpret the law, not make the law. A judge must interpret statues as written. A judge must interpret the Constitution as written, informed by history and tradition and precedent. In deciding cases, a judge must always keep in mind what Alexander Hamilton said in Federalist 83: “the rules of legal interpretation are rules of common sense.”

A good judge must be an umpire – a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy….

            This writer likes the way that Kavanaugh outlined his rules for being a good judge. Recent court decisions have shown the results of judges who did not follow similar guidelines and sought to use their positions for political purposes. President Donald Trump criticized a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and called it “a lawless disgrace.” As reported by Cal Thomas, Trump quickly pinned a label on the judge issuing the ruling as being an “Obama judge” and received a rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts. 

We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. The independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.

            Roberts apparently believes that the judges are non-political and “independent,” but decisions over the past few years say otherwise. Thomas gives the above quote from Roberts and then makes some interesting statements about how Trump and many Americans view the “independent” decisions of some judges.

The problem, as the president correctly sees it, is that the judiciary in too many cases appears to have become independent of the Constitution, making laws and reading liberal policies into the document that are not there.

If all judges thought the same, as Roberts seems to suggest, why are there so many 5-4 rulings by the high court?

Conservatives have long complained that liberal judges advance policies that would never get through Congress. Besides, if there are no Trump, Obama, Bush, or Clinton judges, then why the battle over every candidate nominated by a Republican president? Have we already forgotten the recent all-out war mounted by the left against Justice Brett Kavanaugh?

            The facts are that liberal presidents nominate liberal judges and conservative presidents nominate conservative judges. Liberal judges rule according to their “living” Constitution, and conservative judges make their decisions according to the actual Constitution of the United States. There truly are Obama judges and Trump judges, Clinton judges and Bush judges. However, no one knows for sure how a justice will rule until he actually sits on the high court. Case in point is Justice Anthony Kennedy. Conservative President Ronald Reagan nominated him to be a justice, and Kennedy became famous for his ability to swing the votes to the left.

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