A long time ago (47 years to be exact) in another culture and when television was in glorious black and white, composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein inaugurated a TV series called "Young People's Concerts." The objective was to teach classical music to children in hopes that when they became adults they would appreciate and even love the genre.
Something like those teaching moments needs to be embraced by President Bush as he nominates candidates for the Supreme Court. Recent generations know less about the Constitution than they do about sex or the latest cultural trend. They know little that is immutable or infallible in this postmodern age in which everything is about feelings and promises seem to be written in disappearing ink.
The president and those who wish to see the Constitution restored to its "original intent" need to reteach it if they are to overcome the liberal orthodoxy expressed by the late Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes and echoed recently by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that "the Constitution is what the judges say it is."
Try that at the supermarket. Is a pound what the shopper says it is, or do scales, which rely on a standard, determine a pound's true weight? Would we get away with telling a police officer who pulls us over for speeding, "I decided that 70 miles per hour is 55 for me"?
Why, then, this constantly changing Constitution that is in the minds of liberals to be altered like a suit of clothes to fit the wearer, rather than a document to which all must conform if the general welfare is to be promoted?
It is because those revisionists know they can't use the legislative process to ram through any of their social engineering ideas - from restrictions on free exercise of religion, to abortion, to same-sex "marriage." They know the people (with the possible exception of a majority in Massachusetts) would vote them out of office and so they turn to unelected judges, appointed for life, to do their ideological dirty work for them.
If the Constitution is to again be seen as a finished document that has been refinished in recent years, the president must foreswear any talk of "moderation" and "conciliation" in his choice of court nominees. Truth cannot be moderated. As with ultimate theological issues, when constitutional heretics abound, one gets thin gruel instead of a nourishing robust soup.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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