Ruth Bader Ginsberg
A couple of items in the news lately have brought the judiciary back into the consciousness of the American public; the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and the recent decision by federal judge Barbara Crabb in Wisconsin in which she ruled that the National Day of Prayer is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution. In the rulings of both justices we find an egregious disrespect for the plain meaning of the Constitution, and it is a failure of the American people to learn the Constitution that has allowed us to stray so far.
As a nation, we have reached a point where we bestow upon the courts an unjustified level of deference to their perceived wisdom. In fact, the Founding Fathers created the judiciary to be the weakest of the three branches, vested as they are with lifetime appointments.
Thomas Jefferson wrote (in a letter to William C. Jarvis, 1820) that “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so.” Yet today we have allowed the courts to be elevated to the level of an oligarchy, where we accept rulings that are clearly unaligned with the Constitution without so much as a whimper.
In an interview with a Middle Eastern television station, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, perhaps the most reliable Leftist vote on the Supreme Court, said that the United States Constitution should not serve as a basis of law in Egypt:
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has caused a storm of controversy by saying in a television interview that the people of Egypt should not look to the United States Constitution when drafting their own governing document because it’s too old and there are newer examples from which to draw inspiration.
“I would not look to the U.S. Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012,” Ginsburg said in the interview, which aired on Jan. 30 on Al-Hayat TV.
Her comments have stunned writers across the conservative blogosphere, though many major media outlets have not given much attention to it.
In the interview, she argued that the United States has the “oldest written constitution still in force in the world,” so instead “you should certainly be aided by all the constitution-writing that has gone one since the end of World War II.”
“I might look at the constitution of South Africa,” Ginsburg said. “That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, had an independent judiciary.”
Ginsberg’s comments are reprehensible for a couple of different reasons. While our Constitution is imperfect, the Founding Fathers did include a mechanism for changing it via the amendment process in Article V. This process wasn’t supposed to be easy, but the process has served us well. Ginsburg failed to note this, at least in the comments that I’ve read.