The importance of firmness in retaining the original meaning of the Constitution for judiciary, legislative and administrative separation merits repeated emphasis. The duty of unelected judges is to settle disputes based upon the Constitution and Precedents consistent with the Constitution. Responding to the question, “Is there a role for politics in our judicial system?” The late Atonin Scalia, who served for thirty years on the Supreme Court, said: “The absolute worst violation of a judge’s oath is to decide a case based on a partisan principle or philosophical basis, rather than what the law [states].”*
Prior to the Everson v. Board of Education decision in 1947, the First Amendment protected religious liberty. Liberals going to court to get the Ten Commandments removed from public property would have been wasting their time. A disruptive student who objects to the statement “Jesus is the reason for the season” on t-shirts in the public school would not have threatened a lawsuit. The force of government was on the side of the people’s civic right to use their institutions, including public education, to proclaim belief in the nonsectarian God of creation.
The First Amendment upholds the unalienable right of the people to share their religious beliefs and make comparisons. With this knowledge they can then choose what appears to be best. This competition between the religions strengthens the Higher Authority “government of laws, and not of men” consensus among voters.
“On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed” (June 12, 1823, Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography Notes on the State of Virginia, Public and Private Papers, Addresses and Letters, New York: The Library of American, 1984).
*V.P. Price “Are There Too Many Lawyers?” Parade, September 14, 2008, 9.
~ David Norris