Tuesday, January 03, 2006


False Judge

Phyllis Schlafly, the President and Founder of the Eagle Forum, writes in a Townhall.com column that Judge John E. Jones III, the federal judge who presided over the Dover intelligent design trial, is a "false judge" who makes a mockery of the case for intelligent design. Jones, says Schlafly,
could still be chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board if millions of evangelical Christians had not pulled the lever for George W. Bush in 2000. Yet this federal judge, who owes his position entirely to those voters and the president who appointed him, stuck the knife in the backs of those who brought him to the dance in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.
We've heard a good deal over the years from those on the right about activist judges who overturn our nation's laws and articulate new legal principles without sufficient precedent in order to reshape government policy. These activist judges, we are told, make rulings based, not on a strict interpretation of the nation's laws, but based purely on their personal political convictions, instead.

Activist judges aren't content to let the congress do its job of writing the laws. And, worse, they utterly ignore legislative intent -- the plain meaning of the law as intended by the framers and set forth in the text of the Constitution -- in order to write their liberal biases into the laws of the land.

Surprisingly, in the passage cited above, Schlafly dispenses with the old right-wing orthodoxy on the proper role of the judiciary -- all that nonsense of originalism and strict constructionism -- in order to articulate an entirely new theory of jurisprudence. A judge's job, according to Schlafly, is not to evaluate the evidence or interpret the law. It is simply to render a decision favorable to the evangelical Christians who pulled the lever for George W. Bush.

Schlafly may not be much of a legal scholar, but, before we dismiss her novel theory out of hand, we might consider that it may be more than just a reflection of wingnut anger over the Dover decision. Perhaps we should think of it as a way of streamlining the judicial bureaucracy. A way of bringing the efficiencies of the corporate world to the law. After all, if Schlafly's out-of-the-box thinking is adopted, Judges won't need all that costly and time-consuming legal training.

Perhaps we could hire judges the way WalMart hires greeters -- and at the same hourly wage.


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