Sunday, October 09, 2005

Of lawyers, judges and Justices

The nomination of Harriet Miers, to the position of Justice of the SCOUS, is raising quite a stir within the Republican party and among Conservatives in general.

We have charges of cronyism and betrayal on one side and counter charges of elitism and sexism on the other. Meanwhile the the "loyal" opposition seems rather self satisfied, in hope of a "meltdown", while their point-men and self-aggrandizing agents spout their seeming support for the nomination of, Ms Miers, with all the believability and sincerity of a used car salesman.

There is just one point I would like to address.

In this instance, are we not all guilty of elitism?

Why do we put so much faith in the legal profession, why should a Justice of the Supreme Court be required judicial experience, why should a law degree be of paramount importance for this position? I could understand if the SOCUS performed only its Constitutional duties, but it has usurped the roll of arbiter of the Constitutional and performs little of its original roll.

Originally, the Supreme Court was solely the court of final appeal and you cannot find anything in the Constitution that gives it the power to interpret the Constitution outside of its roll as final court of recourse.

Section. 2.

Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State;--between Citizens of different States, --between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

Clause 2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

Clause 3: The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

If you read, "Clause 2" (above), you will see that it is subject to the exceptions and regulations of Congress. I can only assume the Supreme court has usurped its present "authority" with the tacit approval of Congress. In effect we have a new branch of government as it seems to hear cases of Constitutional "importance".

I find this troublesome. We have, in effect, a branch of government, created by lawyers. A group that makes its living seeking to "bend" the law and rules for monetary consideration and notoriety.

If the SOCUS is the final "interpretor" of the Constitution, then may only lawyers be capable of understanding it?

Somehow, I don't believe that to be the case. I know that was not the intent of the founders. They meant for the Constitution to be understandable to any moderately intelligent person. A wealth of information about the thought that went into the Constitution can be read in the Anti-Federalist and Federalist papers.

Some important points to ponder:

The Constitution, by its nature, is a conservative document. It is not meant to be easily changed.

The meaning of the Constitution can be derived by historical context and examination, that context is available and readily understandable.