Thursday, November 25, 2004

A New Chief Justice

A column by Kevin Ring today discusses the qualifications of Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia as a potential nominee to succeed Chief Justice William Rehnquist. The Chief's chair will probably be vacant soon, through illness or retirement, and it's obviously critical that the President nominates a high-quality, viable candidate.

We need Supreme Court justices, and especially a Chief Justice as leader, who respect the literal Constitution and deviate from it's direct meaning only reluctantly. This means justices who won't promote their personal political beliefs through the twisted, strained logic needed to find new rights and destroy old rights in pursuit of social engineering. Scalia has proven to be this kind of justice.

President Bush obviously isn't going to nominate a person for the Court who secretly wears red pajamas, takes tea with pinky in the air among far northeastern liberals, and knows the words of the Internationale by heart. He's also smart enough to avoid nominees who sport pajamas featuring a hood with eyeholes, drink rotgut with survivalists, and sing Dixie in the shower. The President is smart enough to know that his Court nominees have to be men and women of intellectual substance who will protect the Constitution but who can also withstand the determined attacks of liberals during Senate confirmation. Justice Scalia is just such a man.

Some promote the idea of nominating Associate Justice Clarence Thomas as Chief Justice. I disagree. I think he is valuable as a conservative on the Court, but his views are often a bit too far to the right. Also, the wounds of his bitter confirmation fight are still there. And frankly, I think the wounds were at least partly deserved. Stories like that of the Coke can and the pubic hair rang true enough for me. Let's don't go there again.


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