Thursday, May 7, 2009

WANTED: Supreme Court Justice

Thank you for applying to become a member of the Supreme Court of the United States. If you've made it this far in the selection process, you have a record of personal integrity and professional competence. However, since this is a crucial leadership position and we expect you to be holding it for the rest of your life, we'd like to know more about your convictions and your philosophy. If we like what we hear, we'll call you to Washington for an interview.

1. What rights, privileges, or freedoms do American citizens have that you would want to protect in your Supreme Court rulings? The rights listed in the Bill of Rights? Those in Franklin D. Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech? Those in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights? Please elaborate by citing your rulings on such matters as free speech / censorship, property rights / eminent domain, abortion, and the Second and Ninth Amendments.

2. Are these rights, privileges, and/or freedoms immutable?  Tell us where you think they come from and what would make it acceptable for Congress or the Supreme Court to override them.

3. What is your belief about the nature of the Constitution? Is it an ever-evolving document whose interpretation should be based on the will of the people? Is it to be interpreted strictly according to the perceived intention of the Founding Fathers? Is it based on timeless principles that ought to be understood and applied to the present, or is it a historic document whose outmoded ideas need to be revamped as time goes by?

Bonus question: Oliver Wendell Holmes was one of America's most influential Supreme Court justices. Tell us what you think of the opinions he wrote for the Court.

Suggested readings by Objectivist scholars

Tara Smith, "The Need for an Active Supreme Court Justice." Op-ed.

Tara Smith, "How 'Activist' Should Judges Be?" (CD of a lecture), available at the Ayn Rand Bookstore

Thomas Bowden, "Supreme Disappointments." Op-ed.

Thomas Bowden, "Supreme Court Should Uphold Rights, Not Majority Sentiment in Ten Commandments Case." Op-ed.

Thomas Bowden, "Oliver Wendell Holmes" (CD of a lecture), available at the Ayn Rand Bookstore.

1 comment:

  1. hi! Dianne:
    Congratulations on your new blog. I saw the announcement on TOS (subscriber).

    In light of a Rep. senator wanting a pragmatist and Obama's current socialist agenda I doubt it that we will get anybody who believes in Bill of rights, does not believe in overriding of rights, privileges,freedoms and goes by founding fathers perceived intentions.

    I wonder if the 9th amendment in hindsight was enough to address the fears of Hamilton that protecting specific rights might imply that any unmentioned rights would not be protected. Also were the concerns of some that the strong national government proposed by the Federalists was a threat to individual rights and that the President would become a king were justified in light of "King Obama's" coronation and despotic behavior?