It isn’t often that I pay attention to Eva Young. I’ll make an exception this time because (a) she linked to one of my posts and (b)it’s a perfect teaching opportunity. Her post is one of the most paranoid posts I’ve ever read. Here’s what I originally posted:

Tuesday afternoon, John McCain took Barack Obama to task on the subject of judges. Libby Quaid’s AP article showed how biased they are. Here’s where her bias really showed:

McCain, the eventual GOP nominee, promised to appoint judges in the mold of Roberts and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, saying they would interpret the law strictly to curb the scope of their rulings. While McCain didn’t mention abortion, the far right understands that such nominees would be likely to limit or perhaps overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

It’s interesting that Ms. Quaid immediately assumed that conservatives, aka “the far right”, only want strict constructionist justices like Alito and Roberts so we can finally get rid of Roe v. Wade. I’d love hearing Ms. Quaid explain why someone with a pro choice record like Rudy Giuliani wants strict constructionist judges, too.

the title of the post was “AP’s Bias Showing”. Eva twisted the post badly that she came up with this headline:

Gary Gross Upset that AP Exposed the “Strict Constructionist” Code Words

Why Ms. Young thinks that I’m “upset that the AP exposed” some “strict constructionist code words” is beyond me. My believe in strict constructionist judges is based on my belief that the Constitution means what it says, that there’s a reason why the Founding Fathers outlined the specific duties of each branch of government.

Strict constructionism simply means that elected officials are responsible for enacting and signing legislation that becomes law. The Founding Fathers’ wisdom in establishing that is that they wanted elections to hold people accountable for their actions in the House, Senate or White House.

The last thing they wanted was unelected people making laws, which is what activist judges do. Let’s remember that they just separated themselves from the British because they didn’t believe in accountability.

Here’s how Ms. Young twisted my post into her own diatribe:

Giulianni was pandering to the theocrats when he said that. The so-called “strict constructionists” such as Scalia really are interested in having a theocracy. Scalia has said that Government derives its legitimacy from God. That’s not what the constitution says and it’s interesting how these characters have claimed to be “strict constructionists.”

Christians are now considered theocrats? That’s a helluva leap.

While it’s true that the Constitution doesn’t say that government “derives its legitimacy from God”, the Declaration of Independance does:

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Declaration is clear that the Founding Fathers believed that the government only had the powers that the governed consented to.

I’d further argue that Ms. Young’s statement that “strict constructionists like Scalia” are mostly “interested in having a theocracy”, especially in light of Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion in Lawrence v. Texas. This portion of his dissenting opinion is particularly enlightening:

Let me be clear that I have nothing against homosexuals, or any other group, promoting their agenda through normal democratic means. Social perceptions of sexual and other morality change over time, and every group has the right to persuade its fellow citizens that its view of such matters is the best. That homosexuals have achieved some success in that enterprise is attested to by the fact that Texas is one of the few remaining States that criminalize private, consensual homosexual acts. But persuading one’s fellow citizens is one thing, and imposing one’s views in absence of democratic majority will is something else. I would no more require a State to criminalize homosexual acts–or, for that matter, display any moral disapprobation of them–than I would forbid it to do so. What Texas has chosen to do is well within the range of traditional democratic action, and its hand should not be stayed through the invention of a brand-new “constitutional right” by a Court that is impatient of democratic change.

Scalia’s intent couldn’t be clearer. His intent is to have democracies debate the various issues of the day. He doesn’t want special interests to ‘achieve’ through the courts whhat it isn’t able to achieve through legislation.

Here’s the paranoid finish to Ms. Young’s post:

Why is Gary so concerned about having a national debate over overturning Roe V Wade? The effect of this would mean there would be a hodge-podge of state abortion laws. Why is it “media bias” to expose code words used by theocrats? In my opinion, the media doesn’t do enough of this.

Is this because Gary wants to be able to use this issue to mobilize the anti-abortion activists (those who want abortion to be criminal), but not to let the mainstream onto this?

Let’s first establish the fact that Ms. Young is using several false premises in her ‘argument’.

She’s assumed that I don’t want a “national debate over overturning Roe V Wade”, which I’m not. Unlike timid non-thinkers, I’m more than willing to make my case to the people. That’s because I prefer using the legislative process to enact laws. It’s obvious that Ms. Young prefers using the judicial system over the legislative system to enact laws.

That’s the quintessential difference between strict constructionism and activism.

Eva asks this question:

Why is it “media bias” to expose code words used by theocrats?

That’s assuming that strict constructionists are theocrats and that they use code words, whiich isn’t true. It’s media bias because the writer characterized pro life voters as “far right”. Such thinking isn’t supportable because there are lots of pro life Democrats. Does Libby Quaid think that pro life Democrats who want Roe v. Wade overturned are part of the “far right”?

When partial birth abortion was debated and voted on in Congress, people like Dick Gebhardt, Patrick Kennedy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan voted to ban the procedure. Ted Kennedy took to the Senate floor to rail against the “Far Right” for pandering to their base. It’s been awhile back so I’m not 100 percent certain but I think it was Orrin Hatch that rose to challenge Teddy’s diatribe. Hatch asked Teddy if Dick Gebhardt, David Boniors, Patrick Kennedy were members of the “Far Right.” Ted’s swift response was “Of course not” to which Hatch replied “They voted for the House bill.”

When the AP uses a negative and provocative phrase like “Far Right”, I’ll jump all over it like Craig Monroe jumps all over do-nothing knuckleballs. My criticizing the AP or other Agenda Media outlets has nothing to do with being a strict constructionist or a theocrat. It has everything to do with demanding reporters report things.

I know that’s a radical concept for some. That’s why I took the time to use this teachable moment.

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2 Responses to “Making the Most of a Teachable Moment”

  • Walter hanson says:

    Hey Garry there’s a way you can expand on this nice teaching moment. Obama in an interview (I believe this week) was asked who he will think is a good justice. Mind you the guy who voted against Roberts thinks a good justice is somebody like Souter, Beyer, and Ginsburg. Furthermore he specifically said something about feelings and caring about people.

    Aren’t those code words?

    Walter Hanson
    Minneapolis, MN

  • Phidippides says:

    Some clarifications – I took a law school class with Scalia once and he stressed how he was not a “strict constructionist”, but rather an “originalist”. The difference, in a nutshell, is that a strict constructionist would take words such as “abridging the freedom of speech” and apply it *only* to speech (e.g. talking). The originalist takes those words and applies it in the way it was originally understood – so both oral speech and, say, letter writing is included in those words.

    The reasoning behind this is because the Constitution is a “dead document” whose meaning should not change. Some people erroneously claim the opposite – that it’s a “living document”. But a document that “evolves” over time really doesn’t offer much protection as a legal text since rights are then subject to the tides of change, to politics, to erosion. It’s only if the Constitution is “dead” – whose precepts that were described 200+ years ago are the same today – that it will have continuing force and be the law of the land for our great nation.

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