Any day now, the President will send a name to the Senate for Advice and Consent (don’t hear that archaic yet proper language used much anymore) to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice. In preparation, the GOP is practicing their harmonic ‘No!’
Two weeks ago, the NY Times carried an op-ed by Linda Greenhouse on retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. In it she quotes Stevens from a 2005 forum at Fordham Law. Stevens said “Learning on the job is essential to the process of judging.” To his detractors that’s probably proof positive of constitutional crimes or something. To the rest of us, who live in a real world, those words are evidence of a wise and adult human.
She notes “John Paul Stevens never lost his willingness to test his instincts against his observations.” More common sense from Stevens. To the right however, who seem to think Justices can and should freeze their legal thinking in 1787 ignoring the intervening centuries, that’s more to say ‘No!’ about.
There is no such thing as constitutional originalism. The Founders would have had a good belly laugh at the idea that the broad language of the Constitution they constructed was being viewed in such a rigid fashion. They were an educated lot – like Stevens. And, like Stevens, they allowed for reality.