James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Top court seems closely divided on suicide law

I don't believe in judicial review, because it gives us a false sense that our freedom is protected by the courts. I also think that the representatives of the people and states are to judge the meaning of the Constitution. But if we are to have judicial review, I prefer conservative justices who would enforce what the Constitution says, not what they or the "spirit of the times" want it to mean. They're called "strict constructionist" - or "SC" for brevity here.

I'm not an expert on the Constitution, but here is my impression of how the "conservative" justices behave. When I say "erring," I mean deviating away from the hard line SC position:

Kennedy: not really conservative; not SC; deference to precedent and winds of social change; deference to national supremacy
O'Conner: somewhat conservative; not SC; deference to precedent; deference to individual rights
Scalia: conservative; SC; erring on the side of national supremacy and law and order
(former Chief Justice) Rehnquist:conservative; SC; erring on the side of precedent and federalism
Thomas: conservative; SC; erring on the side of individual rights

In today's climate, I'd prefer another Thomas, who in many ways differs from Scalia. So much so that it is hard to see the Bush Administration, who has advocated centralized police power throughout its term, to want another Thomas.

With new Chief Justice John Roberts, it looks like we may get another Scalia, allowing the federal police state to creep in. Unless he was just playing the devil's advocate on yesterday's arguments on Oregon's assisted suicide law.

In any case, federalists and libertarians should not be optimistic about how the Court rules here. Whether or not I agree with Oregon's assisted suicide law, I'm not a resident of that state and therefore it no more concerns me than does the laws of the Netherlands, or the Congo, or Mars.

Put another way for pro-lifers to understand: the same federal powers that would prevent Oregon from having an assisted suicide law, are the same one's that could at some future date impose a federal assisted suicide law on you and your state.

That's why federalism, or more specifically, decentralism, is essential in preserving liberty.


  1. This court is not going to be friendly to liberty or to decentralization. Scalia thinks that the only rights are the enumerated ones, and any notion of states' rights is limited to occasions when states are doing what the court approves of.

  2. We have no Constitution, all we have are dictators who give lip service to the Constitution while doing anything they please. Either that, or the Ninth and Tenth amendments don't mean what they say in plain English.