Thursday, August 11, 2005

We're always right... except for the times we're wrong

During a panel discussion of the American Bar Association this week, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer admitted that his critics are getting to him and that sometimes... the Supreme Court makes the wrong decision:

"There is a natural tension between the branches [of government] – the separation of powers, the fact that we do pass on congressional legislation, the fact that we are meant to be insulated from public opinion, and the fact that not all our decisions are right, to tell you the truth. We don't have some great special insight. We do our best, but not surprisingly a lot of those decisions create a lot of strong feeling in the country."

Is this a Supreme Court Justice talking or a baseball umpire? I'm glad to hear that you do your best, Justice Breyer, but the fact is the Constitution is actually a fairly straight-forward document. It does not contain any nuances that would require any "special insight".

During the conference, Breyer also defended the increasing practice of the U.S. Supreme Court examining laws and rulings in foreign nations to help come to conclusions here, admitting, "It has hit a political nerve."

"We're not bound by any foreign law," Breyer said, "but this is a world in which more and more countries have come to have democratic systems of government with documents like our Constitution that protect things like free expression. And there are judges, and the judges have a job somewhat similar to mine, and so why not sometimes, on unusual occasions probably, look and see what they said if it's relevant. Maybe we can learn something. I mean they're human beings, too."

This is not only outrageous, it is borderline treason. Justice Breyer, your job description is simple -- interpret the words in the Constitution and defend it against all enemies, both foreign and domestic. Don't try to see things in the empty spaces on the parchment that aren't there. Don't appeal to a decision made by a court in Zimbabwe if the matter before you is not clearly addressed in our Constitution.

If these remarks prove nothing else, they show us that we have at least one pure liberal sitting behind the bench. Peek under that black robe of his and you are guaranteed to find tie-dye (you're also guaranteed to get arrested so try to contain your curiosity).

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