Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Depoliticize the Courts? What Do You Think We’ve Been Trying To Do All This Time?

 

“Packing the Court” used to mean adding extra people to the Supreme Court who would vote your way. Then the Democrat-media complex redefined the phrase to mean something along the lines of adding people to the Supreme Court until it has as many Democrat appointees as Republic appointees. Or maybe it meant adding people to the Court until it has as many people who vote one way as vote the other. Or whatever… it’s not like clarity was ever the point.

In any case, I noticed this shift in terminology about a year and a half ago. But now we’re dealing with a different shift: “packing the Court” is the new name for putting your own guys on the Court through the usual process, and actually packing the Court is now called “depoliticizing the Court.”

But about that.

Word still have meaning, and you can still find them in the dictionary, at least for the moment.

To depoliticize the Supreme Court is to do the very thing conservatives have been trying to do for decades.

Do you think conservatives are expecting Barrett, Kavanaugh, Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch uniformly to enact from the federal Courts the policies conservatives like? Newsflash: We’re not.

What we actually expect is that, with an originalist Supreme Court, judges might actually, more often than not, act as judges who interpret law instead of as legislators who write it.

Originalism, which I introduce here, means that a written law still means what it meant when it became law. That is largely the point of having the law written down–so its meaning is both accessible to citizens who can read and also unchanging until such time as the words change with it.

In the American context, the written Constitution is the supreme law. An originalist judge will herself submit, and insist that other laws submit, to its original meaning. She will not rule according to her own political preferences.

An originalist judge is by definition a depoliticized judge.

Except, that is, where one side of our political divide has the express goal of replacing the Constitutional order with another order by non-Constitutional means. In that case I grant that an originalist Supreme Court is a political Court in the sense that it is a Court opposed to one side of the political divide.

As it should be.

In every other respect, an originalist Supreme Court is a depoliticized Court. Let’s not let the Left tell us otherwise.

And as for those who want to replace the order of the current Constitution let them do so, if they can, in the way which is both Constitutional and truly democratic: Let them persuade us to vote for a Constitution with different words.

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  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Saint Augustine:

    Except, that is, where one side of our political divide has the express goal of replacing the Constitutional order with another order by non-Constitutional means. In that case I grant that an originalist Supreme Court is a political Court in the sense that it is a Court opposed to one side of the political divide.

    As it should be.

    In every other respect, an originalist Supreme Court is a depoliticized Court. Let’s not let the Left tell us otherwise.

    And as for those who want to replace the order of the current Constitution–let them do so, if they can, in the way which is both Constitutional and truly democratic: Let them persuade us to vote for a Constitution with different words.

    The left lies because it is useful to do so.

    • #1
    • October 25, 2020, at 5:48 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Arahant Member

    Amen, Brother Augie. Preach it!

    • #2
    • October 25, 2020, at 6:00 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    When the Constitution was written in the 18th Century, they used different words than we do today. Is there a reference book or document which discusses the language of the Framers, and what all the archaic words that they used into meanings in today’s language?

    • #3
    • October 25, 2020, at 6:06 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    When the Constitution was written in the 18th Century, they used different words than we do today. Is there a reference book or document which discusses the language of the Framers, and what all the archaic words that they used into meanings in today’s language?

    Probably. My only point on the subject is that we can do that for Shakespeare, so why not for the Constitution?

    I figure reading the things read and written in that era is the best thing–King James Bible, Shakespeare, Locke, Federalist Papers, Jefferson, Madison, etc.

    But the reference book probably does exist. It might be Michael Paulsen’s book on the Constitution.

    • #4
    • October 25, 2020, at 6:09 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    I figure reading the things read and written in that era is the best thing–King James Bible, Shakespeare, Locke, Federalist Papers, Jefferson, Madison, etc.

    Uh, that’s a span of about two hundred years. Shakespeare is about as far from Jefferson and Madison as we are.

    • #5
    • October 25, 2020, at 6:13 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph StankoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    When the Constitution was written in the 18th Century, they used different words than we do today. Is there a reference book or document which discusses the language of the Framers, and what all the archaic words that they used into meanings in today’s language?

    I don’t think there’s many archaic words in the Constitution. It’s pretty easy to read and comprehend.

    • #6
    • October 25, 2020, at 6:34 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  7. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    I figure reading the things read and written in that era is the best thing–King James Bible, Shakespeare, Locke, Federalist Papers, Jefferson, Madison, etc.

    Uh, that’s a span of about two hundred years. Shakespeare is about as far from Jefferson and Madison as we are.

    The things READ AND written in that era. What texts were the Founders reading? What texts shaped their language?

    • #7
    • October 25, 2020, at 7:06 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    The reversal of clear meanings is insane.

    The different ways progressives and conservatives view the law explains why Democrats are never disappointed by their appointees and we will never be fully satisfied by any of ours. The approach of the Living Constitution converts the justices to just another legislative branch voting its policy preferences. If your focus is instead, on neutral processes and interpretations, these will never completely align with conservative policy preferences. It’s why a court evenly split between D and R appointees will always lean in the direction of the D’s or even, as we’ve seen, a court 5 to 4 R v D.

    • #8
    • October 25, 2020, at 7:07 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  9. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    I figure reading the things read and written in that era is the best thing–King James Bible, Shakespeare, Locke, Federalist Papers, Jefferson, Madison, etc.

    Uh, that’s a span of about two hundred years. Shakespeare is about as far from Jefferson and Madison as we are.

    The things READ AND written in that era. What texts were the Founders reading? What texts shaped their language?

    Classics, mainly. Locke. Hobbes. Bacon. Descartes. Many of them were literate in Latin, or Greek, or both. A few knew Hebrew. 

    • #9
    • October 25, 2020, at 7:25 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Joseph Stanko (View Comment):

    I don’t think there’s many archaic words in the Constitution. It’s pretty easy to read and comprehend.

    Indeed. If you want to know the meaning of the Constitution, you can make some serious progress just by reading it.

    • #10
    • October 25, 2020, at 7:29 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  11. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine

    Percival (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    I figure reading the things read and written in that era is the best thing–King James Bible, Shakespeare, Locke, Federalist Papers, Jefferson, Madison, etc.

    Uh, that’s a span of about two hundred years. Shakespeare is about as far from Jefferson and Madison as we are.

    The things READ AND written in that era. What texts were the Founders reading? What texts shaped their language?

    Classics, mainly. Locke. Hobbes. Bacon. Descartes. Many of them were literate in Latin, or Greek, or both. A few knew Hebrew.

    Indeed. If you want to understand the Constitution really well, read things like Federalist Papers. And don’t stop there.

    Also read Enlightenment philosophers, read some serious Cicero and Plutarch, read the Bible, read some of it in the KJV (the most-read book at the time, I believe), read some Shakespeare, learn some Latin or Greek or Hebrew, learn some French and Italian, etc.

    Not that anyone has that kind of time. But we can all make a little bit of progress where time and ability allow us to read and learn some of that stuff.

    • #11
    • October 25, 2020, at 7:33 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  12. The Reticulator Member

    It is important to understand that to the left, to depoliticize means to eliminate dissent.

    When they complain about covid-19 having become a political issue, they are complaining that dissent and disagreement are allowed. They may not be entirely aware that that’s what they mean, but that’s what they mean.

    • #12
    • October 25, 2020, at 8:18 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  13. James Gawron Thatcher
    James GawronJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Aug,

    You have been altogether too kind. There is no confusion whatsoever as to what the term “packing the court” meant or means now. This is Orwellian doublespeak. The Democratic Party has lost connection to both reality and the truth. They have become corrupt and perverse. This is all the more reason to realize that there is no compromise with these people. Any attempt at compromise only will end in appeasing a psychotic whose irrational demands will only increase.

    They must be defeated.

    Regards,

    Jim

     

    • #13
    • October 26, 2020, at 12:00 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  14. J Climacus Member

    I’ve been thinking that as much as the left hates the electoral college, the way they treat the Supreme Court essentially turns Congress into a College of Electors. We vote for representatives, who then go to Congress to select Supreme Court Justices, who then are the ones who actually write the laws. The Congress critters like it because once they’re done selecting the justices, they can sit back and enjoy their elite lifestyle for a few years essentially doing nothing.

    • #14
    • October 26, 2020, at 12:18 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  15. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    I’ve been thinking that as much as the left hates the electoral college, the way they treat the Supreme Court essentially turns Congress into a College of Electors. We vote for representatives, who then go to Congress to select Supreme Court Justices, who then are the ones who actually write the laws. The Congress critters like it because once they’re done selecting the justices, they can sit back and enjoy their elite lifestyle for a few years essentially doing nothing.

    If you eliminate the Electoral College, then the next problem becomes the Senate. Why should itty-bitty states get the same representation as large ones? So, all they’ll need to do to deliver an Amendment abolishing the Senate is to get 2/3rds of the Senators to go along.

    • #15
    • October 26, 2020, at 12:39 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Stina Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    It is important to understand that to the left, to depoliticize means to eliminate dissent.

    When they complain about covid-19 having become a political issue, they are complaining that dissent and disagreement are allowed. They may not be entirely aware that that’s what they mean, but that’s what they mean.

    Yes. I’ve been seeing this in a high level way, not really getting to the concrete details, but in an abstract, intuitive sense.

    It’s that totalitarianism. Hate is disagreement, fascism is disagreement, politicization is disagreement- and ALL must be eliminated.

    • #16
    • October 26, 2020, at 1:39 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  17. Fritz Coolidge

    So-called “constitutional law” traveled so far afield from the actual Constitution, that noted “constitutional law professor” Laurence Tribe even published a constitutional law textbook that lacked among its hundreds of pages a copy of the actual Constitution.

    Let that sink in.

    • #17
    • October 26, 2020, at 2:02 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Joseph Stanko Coolidge
    Joseph StankoJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Fritz (View Comment):

    So-called “constitutional law” traveled so far afield from the actual Constitution, that noted “constitutional law professor” Laurence Tribe even published a constitutional law textbook that lacked among its hundreds of pages a copy of the actual Constitution.

    Let that sink in.

    Did it at least contain a copy of the Living Constitution?

    • #18
    • October 26, 2020, at 2:20 PM PDT
    • 3 likes