Would someone please tell Sen. Barbara Boxer that John Roberts is not running for political office -- and get her a copy of the Constitution?
Sen. Boxer indignantly announced recently that she would vote against Roberts' nomination to the Supreme Court unless she can be convinced that he will support abortion rights. This conjures the silly mental picture of Judge Roberts sitting in the hot seat, being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee, wearing a button saying, "Abortion is safe with me. Vote Roberts for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice."
Since Boxer has, via the Peter Principle, managed to land herself in the United States Senate, wouldn't it be refreshing if she would demonstrate some comprehension of the Court's limited role under the Constitution?
But such outmoded ideas as "judicial restraint" apparently never occur to those of Boxer's mentality, including most Democrat senators. They see the courts as their best vehicle to achieve and preserve many of their policy goals.
In their cynical formulation, there is no such thing really as a judge who would interpret rather than make laws; a judge's fitness for the bench is primarily a function of what policies he supports, that is, his political philosophy rather than his judicial philosophy. To them, the phrases "strict constructionist," "originalist" and "judicial restraint" are just euphemisms for "conservative judicial activism."
According to them, on this issue, conservatives are transparent phonies who advocate a limited role for the courts to disguise their sinister intention of leading the nation back -- in the words of Boxer -- "to the days of back alley illegal abortions." Conservative judges would make policy all right, but it would be conservative policy.
To illustrate, an e-mailer -- obviously a graduate of the Boxer school on constitutional misinformation -- told me, "You really want an originalist judge that will overturn existing precedent in favor of earlier understandings. In other words, you want a conservative activist."
There you have it. A judge who "will overturn existing precedent in favor of earlier understandings" is a "conservative activist." Thus, through semantic sleight of hand, moral equivalence is established between those who would sacrifice constitutional principle at the altar of the liberal policy agenda and those who insist on preserving the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.