Scalia On Court Politics

by on March 16th, 2005

How many lawyers does it take to govern a nation? It seems that recently policy decisions in this country are ultimately made by a mere handful of them. Having abandoned the notion of ruling on the law The Supreme Court has taken to setting policy. Political policy decisions on matters such as crime and punishment are handed down by five unelected and unaccountable justices.

In a speech on Monday Justice Scalia was highly critical of the Court’s recent capital punishment ruling.

In a 35-minute speech Monday, Scalia said unelected judges have no place deciding issues such as abortion and the death penalty. The court’s 5-4 ruling March 1 to outlaw the juvenile death penalty based on “evolving notions of decency” was simply a mask for the personal policy preferences of the five-member majority, he said.

“If you think aficionados of a living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again,” Scalia told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. “You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it. You want a right to abortion? Persuade your fellow citizens and enact it. That’s flexibility.”

“Why in the world would you have it interpreted by nine lawyers?” he said.

We as a people elect representatives and an executive to make policy decisions. Judges are appointed to rule based on the law. Within the hierarchy of the courts and the law, the last word is the Constitution of the United States. Judicial decisions should be made based on the law. Not the personal political preference of five lawyers.

(Also posted at Hold The Mayo)

Stephen Macklin