On the basis of historical precedent, the odds that Bush will appoint a strict constructionist -- or someone who doesn't hallucinate when reading the Constitution -- are less than 50/50. Not because there is anything the matter with Bush, but because our judges go bad and theirs never do.
Presidents Reagan and Bush had five shots to appoint Supreme Court justices who did not have visions of an imaginary penumbras and emanations clause, and you can see how well that's worked out.
Last term, a majority of justices discovered a novel constitutional right to stick a fork in a baby's head. You can read the Constitution for yourself -- it's not very long -- and see that there is nothing about abortion, suction devices or brains.
The reason our judges go bad and theirs don't is that it apparently takes an obsessive devotion to the Constitution to actually read it before issuing opinions. Judges are essentially government bureaucrats, and the natural tendency of all government bureaucrats everywhere is to continually arrogate more and more power to themselves.
That's why the framers gave very little power to judges, sharply limiting the topics on which the judiciary is permitted to rule. That is also why judges are forever coming up with stratagems to ignore those limits.
Inventing preposterous constitutional rights is evidently more fun than doing what judges are supposed to do, which is deciding tedious Railroad Act cases.
There are, consequently, any number of ways the Supreme Court will wreck the country if Bush appoints another David Hackett Souter rather than another Clarence Thomas. Superb a justice as he is, it would be virtually impossible for another eight Clarence Thomases to wreck the country for liberals.
But it's definitely worth trying. Bush ought to find eight more just like Thomas. For one thing, it would be really cool to have an all-black Supreme Court. But mostly it would be nice to go back to living in a democracy again.
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