Precinct 333

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Right result, faulty reasoning -- on the part of the editorialist

The concluding paragraph got it right when it praised Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia:
What is reassuring, though, is that in the term just completed, the justices were able to put principle ahead of politics as they charted a course through turbulent times.

Unfortunately, that was the only thing the editorialist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch got right in this editorial.

After all, the editorial takes a slap at the 7-2 decision in Bush v. Gore that held that the Florida recount ordered by the Supreme Court of Florida (SCOFLA) was too constitutionally flawed to continue. Apparently the editorialist prefers a recount in which the standard for counting a vote varies from county to county within the state and from table to table within the counting room.

And there is also the labeling of abortion as a "basic right" despite the fact that it took nearly two centuries for it to be discovered by the Supreme Court. Even then the justices who decided Roe v. Wade couldn't agree on why abortion was a fundamental right and where it was found in the constitution, much less how it could have been consistently overlooked from the time of the Founders until January 22, 1973. The decision in the case is generally conceded to be among the worst in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

What the editorialist does not understand is that the two justices praised are possibly the two most consistently principled SCOTUS justices today. While Scalia's "originalist" views and Thomas' "textualism" may put these justices outside the mainstream of the editorial committees of the left-wing media, they are both judicial philosophies which hold as their bright-shining principle that the Constitution means what it says. It is the more liberal wing of SCOTUS that flies far afield, unmoored to any fixed principle upon which it can rely.

But since the editorialist only likes Scalia and Thomas (and, one would presume, Chief Justice Rehnquist) when their decisions are in accord with the ACLU view of the world, I'm inclined to believe that the editorialist cared not a whit for principle.


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