Conservatives believe in a strict interperetation and following of the constitution as the country’s founding document. This isn’t just a matter of judges and how they rule – as in, being a strict constructionist. But, it’s also a matter of having a document that exists outside the purview of whatever predicament or situation we find ourselves in, that can give guidance to our actions. It’s not some sort of infallible rules handed down from on high or anything. But, it’s goals and it’s aims we know full well. We have read why the founding fathers wrote it the way they did. And that makes it easy to interpret and understand.
At it’s core, the U.S. Constitution is an attempt to create a political union of states, in such a way that the uttermost individual liberty is preserved, yet without weakening it down to the point of majority rule. Pure democracy is a ticking time-bomb of failure. It just never works. We instinctively know that a 51% majority should not be able to control a 49% minority. That isn’t justice or fairness. But, how do you get a system that doesn’t boil down to that, yet still puts the power in the hands of the people. That’s what makes the constitution such an amazing document.
But, yet again, we find ourselves having to defend our ground from thirty second soundbite attacks. Just look at what Whoopi Goldberg said to John McCain during the campaign:
GOLDBERG: Can you just, and I don’t want to misinterpret what you’re saying. Did you say you wanted strict Constitutionalists? Because that, that-
McCAIN: No, I want people who interpret the Constitution of the United States the way our founding fathers envision-
GOLDBERG: Does that-
McCAIN: -for them to do.
GOLDBERG: Should I be worried about being a slave, about being returned to slavery because certain things happened in the Constitution that you had to change.
What was the question here? The question was about whether John McCain wanted judges who would interpret the constitution as it was literally written and intended(strict constitutionalist). What Whoopi should want is exactly what she thinks she doesn’t want. She should want strict constructionist judges. How else is she going to ensure that the 13th amendment (the one that explicitely bans slavery) gets interpreted literally and consistently. This is a point often forgotten by the left. An activist judge might not always lean left. They very easily could lean right as well. The only thing that provides consistency is strict interpretation.
The founders wisely put in a process to allow changes to the consitution, yet intentionally made it very hard to do. No matter how an amendment is proposed, it has to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. That’s very difficult to pull off. Especially if the amendment is controversial. That’s why so many liberals want to get activist judges in power. It’s a lot easier to just appoint a judge that will ignore the constitution than it is to ratify a change to it. As I said before though. In our history, we’ve had leftist radical judges and rightist radical judges. The best bet is to appoint neither and let the constitution speak for itself.
As a final note, the founders knew that a simple piece of paper would never be enough to keep a central government in check. We’ll go over the other checks they put in place when we talk about state’s rights.