Thomas Sowell
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 There are trade-offs made by attorneys on the scene and more familiar with local juries than anybody in a marble building in Washington can possibly be. Supreme Court Justices themselves are bound to know that. But the liberals among them take every opportunity to put obstacles in the way of executions.

 They are in the mainstream.

 The very desperation in political fights over judicial nominees is a clue to what is wrong with our legal system. It should not matter very much which particular man or woman becomes a judge, if that person has the competence and the integrity to apply the laws and uphold the Constitution.

 The reason it matters enormously is that, over the past half century or so, many judges have gone beyond their judicial roles to impose their own policy preferences. Since these kinds of judges have almost invariably imposed policies favored by liberals, they have been cheered on -- not only by liberal politicians, but also by most of the media, the law schools and the intelligentsia.

 Any judge who might restore the Constitution by overturning some liberal precedents is now called an "extremist" or an "activist" -- even by liberals who had cheered on liberal judges when they overturned previous precedents. 

 Judges who take an oath to uphold the Constitution do not take an oath to uphold liberal precedents. If liberal members of the Senate Judiciary Committee try to impose such a commitment on judicial nominees, we can only hope that others will have the sense and the guts to expose and oppose such tactics.

 No policy litmus test -- "mainstream" or otherwise -- should be applied to any judicial nominee by either party, not if you want judges committed to the law, rather than to particular policy outcomes.

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Thomas Sowell

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

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