Fred Thompson — Strict Constructionist?by Brad Warbiany
Fred Thompson is flogging the dead horse of judicial appointments, pointing out that Democrats will pull out any trick in their arsenal to block conservative appointees. I know he’s been out of the Senate for a while, but the fact that he seems shocked by this makes me wonder if he’s been paying attention at all over the last few years.
But it brings up an interesting question regarding his beliefs on the role of the Supreme Court. Most Republicans would agree that the Court shouldn’t “legislate from the bench”, and such things as when the Court puts mandates out that basically force legislatures to comply, it’s probably not right. But what about striking down legislation from the bench? Here, sadly, he seems to want to give Congress free reign:
From the beginning of his Administration, President Bush was committed to appointing judges who understand the appropriate limits on their role and seek to interpret the law as written by Congress — rather than revising it to achieve their own preferred goals. Too many Democrats, though, prefer judges who, under the guise of interpreting the Constitution, will impose their policy preferences on the citizenry.
These are two very different notions of the appropriate role of judges. On this issue, I stand with the President, along with the kinds of judges he appoints, like Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.
He doesn’t suggest that the role of the court is to determine whether legislation passed by Congress is Constitutional. As my post last week suggests, he pays lip service to things like federalism while calmly explaining exactly how it should be trimmed and curtailed and toned down. I wonder whether he thinks it is the role of the Court to intervene in the legislative process when the Congress oversteps their Constitutional bounds.
Those on the Right want you to believe that judicial activism only occurs on the Left. But modern Republicans don’t want to go back to the days where the Constitution means what it says, they want to get their own conservative judicial activists on the bench. It’s not a respect for small government that they’re after, it’s to get their own team in power.
Think about it. If Thompson were elected, can you seriously see him nominating someone who takes the Constitution seriously— like Janice Rogers Brown— to the high court?