2016-03-17 – Did you ever wonder why conservatives are so often disappointed by their own nominees to the Supreme Court and liberals are not? It’s because liberal bias is in the Constitution, not the judge. A justice of the Supreme Court who remains true to the Constitution over a course of years will come to be seen as a liberal justice, regardless of whether that person was seen as liberal or conservative at the time they were appointed.
I don’t mean to say that the Constitution is one-hundred percent liberal. It is a political document. It was forged in compromises between founders who span a broad range of opinion. Remember, it allowed slavery. And that’s not all. But the animating spirit has been liberal and liberating. And over more than 200 years, changes made to the Constitution moved it more and more in the direction of liberalism.
The Bill of Rights was adopted. Slavery was abolished. The people were granted equal rights. Voting rights were expanded to all races. Women were given the right to vote. And so on.
I don’t mean to say that conservative justices never held sway. They most certainly did. And they rendered decisions that made conservative philosophy the law, rather than the Constitution. The extension of rights ratified in the fourteenth amendment after the Civil War became a dead letter for nearly a hundred years when conservative justices used it to grant rights to businesses rather than to African Americans as originally intended.
But in the long run, the hypocrisy of these justices is seen to be contrary to the word and the spirit of the Constitution.
It is against this backdrop that President Obama has now appointed Merrick Garland, a centrist judge from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Liberals may be disappointed. Conservatives aren’t talking. The only way they win is to oppose the constitutional order.