David Limbaugh

The New York Times in yet another editorial rant against a Bush federal judge nominee shows why we cannot entrust the Constitution to liberals. They view it not as an institutional safeguard to our liberties, but as an instrument to advance their political agenda.

That is why it's annoying when they repeatedly lecture us about President Bush's efforts to stack the court with conservative ideologues and judicial activists. They did it again in their April 28 editorial, "Another Ideologue for the Courts," in which they railed against Jeffrey Sutton, President Bush's nominee to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Savor this passage from the editorial. "The Bush administration, however, has sought nominees whose main qualification is a commitment to far-right ideology. Mr. Sutton is the latest example. He is an activist for "federalism," a euphemism for a rigid states'-rights legal philosophy." Specifically, the Times complained that Sutton argued against expanding the federal Americans with Disabilities Act to cover state employees.

In their view, federalism is reduced to an irritating euphemism only honored by judicial activists. As usual the Times has it completely backward. Neither President Bush nor his nominees believe in nor seek to implement judicial activism. The Left's distortion of the concept of judicial activism, by the way, is a perfect example of its disrespect for fundamental constitutional principles necessary to ensuring and preserving our freedom.

The framers of the Constitution didn't establish our freedoms simply by decreeing them into existence. They didn't issue edicts within the four corners of that document guaranteeing that Americans would be entitled to a certain list of freedoms. That prose wouldn't have been worth the parchment it was written on.

They invested the federal government with sufficient powers to enable it to perform its essential functions and reserved the remainder to the states and the people. But they knew you couldn't achieve liberty through these affirmative grants (or reservations) of power alone. They also imposed limitations on governmental power because unchecked governmental power destroys liberty, which brings us to the doctrines of federalism, separation of power and judicial activism.

With federalism they divided power between the federal and state governments. With the separation of powers, they diffused the power of the federal government among three distinct, but interactive branches -- each checking the others against becoming too powerful. (The Bill of Rights and other constitutional amendments contain other limitations.)


David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of new book Crimes Against Liberty, the definitive chronicle of Barack Obama's devastating term in office so far.

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