Judiciary

Alito Nomination Battle Must Focus on ‘The Great Debate’

Conservatives are thrilled with President Bush’s nomination of Sam Alito to the Supreme Court. The importance of having justices like Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito deciding Constitutional issues cannot be underestimated. This nomination will be one of the top components that will ultimately define President Bush’s legacy.

The Democrats will pull out all stops in an attempt to defeat this nomination. Ultimately, they will lose the battle. Conservatives who are now happy that President Bush did not squander his opportunity regarding this nomination, must now be careful not to squander their opportunity of having the “mother of all” debates.

The essence of the debate we are about to have is:

  • Do we want the Federal Government to be bound by, and pay attention to, the Constitution?
  • Or, do we want our Federal Government to be able to disregard the Constitution when the expedience of the moment provides them with cover?

Liberals, most Democrats and far too many career Republicans do not want the debate framed so that it focuses on the Constitution. They want the debate to be about the man and whether he should have a seat on the Supreme Court. At the end of the day, the most likely scenario will be that conservatives win the seat, but miss the opportunity to move the nation back towards the original intent of the Constitution.

It is undeniable that, as a nation, we have not paid much attention to the Constitution. Voters have not bothered to familiarize themselves with the principles of the document that ostensibly controls our government. Thus, the 536 people we elect to the Federal Government routinely usurp the power granted to them by the Constitution.

There will be a move in the right direction if awareness, attention and understanding can be brought to three woefully ignored passages of the Constitution:

  • Article IV, Section 4: The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government…
  • Amendment IX (part of the Bill of Rights): The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
  • Amendment X (part of the Bill of Rights): The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The beautiful goal and intent of the Constitution is to restrict the scope and authority of the Federal Government. The idea was to have more power at the State level of Government and less power at the Federal level. The framers wanted to keep the power as close to the people as possible.

As the debate moves forward, Democrats and Liberals will pejoratively refer to Scalia, Thomas and Alito as “originalists”. Having originalists on the Supreme Court is good, not bad. Originalists think the citations above are fundamentally important tenants of the Constitution.

When someone complains that Alito should not be confirmed to the Supreme Court because he is an originalist, they should be asked: What’s wrong with the original intent of the Constitution? Where exactly do you want the Federal Government to deviate from original intent?

The question is whether the Constitution should be more powerful than the Federal Government, or whether the Federal Government should be more powerful than the Constitution. Is it better to have our government listen to “We the People” through the Constitution, or should it listen to “We the People” through the media and public opinion polls?

If liberals win the big debate, we could amend the Constitution and get rid of the expense and redundancy of State Government. If conservatives win the big debate, the size, scope and expense of the Federal Government would shrink dramatically. Either result would be a major improvement over our current system. Right now, we are suffering under the effects of having the worst of both worlds.


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