In a Wall Street Journal essay last fall, in advance of President Bush’s nomination of Samuel Alito to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the retirement of Sandra Day O’Connor, Robert George wrote this: “Here is my proposal: To fill the seat….Bush should nominate an intellectually distinguished and articulate judge willing to set forth and defend a sound understanding of the constitutional limits of judicial power in the confirmation hearings. Give up the stealth strategy………Let the nominee make the case for true constitutional government to the American people. Let us have a national debate…”
Well, President Bush complied with the first part of this proposal; now, he and Judge Alito’s handlers should let the nominee get on with the second part, a long overdue confrontation with the proponents of the “living constitution”. Let’s have the “teaching moment” the country deserved and was so frustratingly deprived with the Harriet Miers mistake, the debate that will take to the people the real issues underlying the corruption this process has endured since the Bork fiasco in 1987, which was probably the low point of reasoned debate in the proud history of this country. Properly understood, this is a process that is so essential to self-governance, when we get to hear the competing philosophies of constitutional jurisprudence discussed openly and when nomination and confirmation is about not only who is appointed, but why their judicial philosophy was preferred and was decisive.
In such a scenario, how many Democrats will want to stake out the ground of the hard left that could care less about the rule of constitutional law or which judicial philosophy prevails as long as they get their desired results? My guess is, not many, at least explicitly, but many will do so duplicitly, which is the height of intellectual dishonesty, and should be exposed as such to the American people. Let the debate begin.