Friday, July 22, 2005

WSJ doesn't adequately respond to Ann Coulter re John Roberts

Opinion Journal online has an article today from Manuel Miranda, a special reporter hired to follow Robert's confirmation process. The point of the article is ostensibly to respond to the criticisms from both the left (Ralph Neas of People for the American Way) and right (Ann Coulter). He fails miserably with respect to Ann.

Here is the text of an email I sent Mr. Miranda in response to his column (slightly revised to make sense):

You write: "No, there is no clear read on how he will rule on this or that issue (most especially abortion). But that is what makes conservatives the good guys. We want judges who will be judges, not judges who are a sure thing. That's the way they do things in other countries, where the rule of law is whatever the political class says it is."

Wrong! Boy are you conflating two issues that have nothing to do with each other. Yes, conservatives want judges whose rulings we can predict with a good measure of certainty. That is because a judge who is prediciable is a judge who follows the law as written. I can read the Constitution and know what it says. With a modest amount of historical research, I can easily discern what those words meant to the people who ratified the Constitution. Only an unpredictable judge can invent a right of privacy in the Constitution where none is found. If you think Roberts is unpredictable on abortion, then you concede he does not follow the law as written, and you concede that he may very well disregard the original meaning of the Constitution whenever he sees fit.

Being a predictable judge has NOTHING to do with taking orders from the political branches on how to rule, except in so far as that is the exact job of judges when applying and interpreting legislation. A predictable judge, with a clearly announced intention to follow the original meaning of the Constition, is far less of a threat to take orders from politicos, or to rule based on political considerations, than an unpredictable judge. In stark contrast to your analogy, judges controlled by politicos in other countries are far from predictable, but instead their rulings will abandon the clearly written law whenever an (unpredictable) political consideration arises.


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