Monday, May 04, 2009

The end of the rule of law

As a candidate for President, Obama explained how he will choose a nominee for supreme court justice:
"I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a case book, it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives, whether they can make a living, and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes, and welcome in their own nation. I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with peoples hopes and struggles as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes."
He repeated similar ideas Friday in response to Justice Souter's retirement.

His concept turns our democratic system on its head.  It is the job of elected representatives to write laws that reflect "daily realities" etc.  This is because they are accountable to the people through elections.  Judges and justices should use their understanding of legal theory and casebooks merely to interpret the laws as written.  By selecting judges who are willing, on personal whim, to re-write laws as they see fit, we citizens lose our only protection against arbitrary and politicized court rulings.

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