Thomas Sowell

 President Bush has said repeatedly that he has no litmus test on any issue but that he wants judges who will apply the law instead of imposing their own policy preferences. But people like Senator Arlen Specter want judges who support particular policies.

 That is what judicial activism means. The opposite judicial philosophy involves following what is called the "original intent" of the law.

 Senator Specter and other liberals muddy the waters by claiming that nobody knows what the original intent was among those who wrote the Constitution or even later legislation. This is a completely phony issue and a red herring.

 Leading legal scholars from William Blackstone in the 18th century to Oliver Wendell Holmes in the 19th century to Robert Bork in the 20th century have made it clear beyond any honest misunderstanding that they do not mean that those who interpret laws today should try to read the minds of those who wrote those laws.

 Even if it were possible to know what was in the inner thoughts of people in the past, it would be completely irrelevant because nobody voted on what was inside their minds. They voted on what the words themselves meant at the time they were written.

 Phrases like "due process" and "freedom of the press" had a long established meaning in British law even before they were put into the Constitution of the United States. If we want to change the Constitution, there is a process for amending it, without having unelected judges doing the amending for us.

 Anyone who doesn't understand this should not be chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a roadblock to restoring Constitutional law in America.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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