(RepublicanWire.org) – On Saturday a preview of her interview on the NBC show “Meet The Press” was shared and it included Kamala Harris’ swipe at what she said was an “activist court.”
“How much confidence do you have in the Supreme Court?” host Chuck Todd said to the vice president.
“I think this is an activist court,” she said.
“What does that mean?” the host said.
“It means that we had an established right for almost half a century, which is the right of women to make decisions about their own body as an extension of what we have decided to be, the privacy rights to which all people are entitled. And this court took that constitutional right away, and we are suffering as a nation because of it,” she said.
“That causes me great concern about the integrity of the court overall. Especially as someone who my life was inspired by people like Thurgood Marshall, and by the work on that court of Earl Warren to bring an unanimous court to pass Brown v. Board of Education,” the vice president said.
“This is the court that on once sat Earl Warren, Thurgood Marshall and Sandra Day O’Connor. It’s a very different court,” she said.
Turley, a George Washington University Law School professor, tore into Harris on his own blog.
“The fact that the Court overturned a long-standing precedent does not mean that it is an ‘activist court.’ As I have previously noted, justices take an oath to uphold the Constitution and to ‘faithfully and impartially’ interpret the law,” the professor said.
“It is bizarre to argue that they should vote for some interpretation of the Constitution that they believe is wrong and unfounded just to preserve precedent. If that view had prevailed in the past, Brown v. Board of Education would have upheld the racist precepts of ‘separate but equal’ in Plessy v. Ferguson. When it comes to fundamental rights, justices should faithfully interpret the Constitution.
“There may be a greater hold of precedent in statutory interpretations (since Congress can address erroneous or conflicting interpretations).
“However, in the interpretation of the Constitution, justices are fulfilling an oath to ‘support and defend the Constitution of the United States,’” he said.
“Stare decisis may protect the Court as an institution from public criticism, but that should not override the duty to correctly and faithfully interpret the Constitution.
“As I noted in my exchange with Professor Sepper, the liberal justices have shown the same willingness to overturn precedent when they have a majority or to create new doctrines with sweeping social and political implications.
“The left did not denounce the Warren Court when it was handing down such sweeping new rulings. It did not denounce Justice Breyer when he wrote routinely voted in dissent on death penalty cases despite decades of precedent supporting the right of states to impose capital punishment,” the legal scholar argued.
“There is little doubt that the liberals on the Court would overturn Heller and the Second Amendment cases if they had a majority. Indeed, while denouncing the ‘activist’ conservative justices for overturning cases, Democratic senators demanded that cases like Heller and Citizen’s United be overturned.
“During the confirmation hearing for Justice Kavanaugh, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) demanded that Kavanaugh promise to respect stare decisis on cases like Roe, but then called for overturning cases like Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,” he said.
“Democratic groups often decry the conservative majority as ‘partisan’ while demanding the packing of the court to guarantee an immediate liberal majority.
“Justice Sonia Sotomayor has assured liberals in public speeches that ‘mistakes’ in such high-profile opinions can be ‘corrected’ by the Court in later decisions.
“In other words, when a majority forms with an opposing jurisprudential view. Does that make her an activist justice according to Vice President Harris?” he posited.
“Dean Erwin Chemerinsky celebrated that ‘Justice Sotomayor wrote a dissent, in which she said, ‘Trinity Lutheran v. Comer was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.” While that is a paraphrasing of the justice, does that mean that she has discarded the hold of precedent for politics? Of course not.
“She is interpreting the Constitution consistently and faithfully according to her own jurisprudential viewpoint.
“In the recent Carson opinion, Sotomayor makes clear that ‘this Court should not have started down this path’ in Trinity Lutheran and clearly rejects its hold on the Court. Not surprisingly, Chemerinsky approves of that position,” the law professor said.
“Yet, Chemerinsky denounced the conservative justices as ‘partisan hacks.’
“Hillary Clinton declared that she would only nominate justices who would overturn Citizen’s United. Would those justices then be ‘partisan hacks’?
“None of this means that Harris should not disagree with the Court or reject its reasoning. As Chief Justice Roberts said this weekend, that is fair game. Rather it is the attack on the integrity of the justices that is beyond the pale in my view,” he said.
U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has responded following increased criticism of the nation’s highest court, largely from Democrats.
“People can say what they want, but simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court.
“If the court doesn’t retain its legitimate function of interpreting the Constitution, I’m not sure who would take up that mantle. You don’t want the political branches telling you what the law is, and you don’t want public opinion to be the guide about what the appropriate decision is,” Roberts told the audience.
Justice Roberts makes an important point, the political branches, Democrats and Republicans, should not have the power to tell us what laws mean.