Bench Memos

Confusion on the Left

E.J. Dionne’s op-ed column in today’s Washington Post provides a hilarious example of how the Left uses crude political labels to obscure the underlying power issues that are really at stake in the battle over the Supreme Court. Dionne asks:

Should a temporary majority of 50.7 percent have control over the entire United States government? Should 49.3 percent of Americans have no influence over the nation’s trajectory for the next generation?

The basic question Dionne ought to be asking, of course, is of a very different nature: Should five justices be free to invent “rights” that have no legitimate basis in the text or structure of the Constitution and to deprive 300 million Americans of their constitutional power to set policy on those invented rights?

The Left seeks to entrench its agenda in the guise of the “living Constitution.” It wants justices to make up rights that aren’t in the real Constitution and to ignore rights that are. So-called “conservative extremists,” by contrast, recognize that the Constitution leaves the vast bulk of important issues to be decided by American citizens through their representatives. And, although the Left often asserts that “conservative” justices are as “activist” as “liberals,” it cannot even allege instances of judicial imposition of substantively conservative results that are remotely comparable to the Court’s broad-ranging–and patently illegitimate–imposition of the Left’s agenda over the last several decades.

In short, anyone concerned (as Dionne claims to be) about the ability of Americans to have “influence over the nation’s trajectory for the next generation” ought to be an ardent advocate of Supreme Court nominees like Scalia and Thomas who respect the proper realm of the democratic processes.

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