The controversy over President Barack Obama’s birth certificate reveals that more is wrong with the United States than the presence of demagogues, bigots, and cranks.
Out of Range by Mark V. Tushnet (Oxford University Press, 156 pp., $19.95) In 1991, Warren E.
WITNESSING THEIR FAITH: RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE ON SUPREME COURT JUSTICES AND THEIR OPINIONS By Jay Alan Sekulow(Rowman & Littlefield, 349 pp., $27.95) I. THE CONFIRMATION OF JUSTICE Samuel Alito brings to five the number of Catholics on the Supreme Court of the United States. All Americans can be proud of this fact, or more precisely, proud of the fact that Alito’s religious affiliation never became an issue during his confirmation process.
Since the Progressive era, this magazine has argued for judicial restraint as part of a broader argument for liberal nationalism. Judges should defer to the prerogatives of Congress and the president, the argument goes, so that popular sovereignty can serve as the engine of national unity.
A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law by Antonin Scalia (Princeton University Press, 159 pp., $19.95) Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution by Jack N. Rakove (Knopf, 420 pp., $35) We are all originalists now. That is to say, most judges and legal scholars who want to remain within the boundaries of respectable constitutional discourse agree that the original meaning of the Constitution and its amendments has some degree of pertinence to the question of what the Constitution means today.
The Founding Fathers, who met in the summer of 1787 to draw up a Constitution for the United States, gave relatively little attention to the judiciary. Clearly they had only a hazy notion of the vital role the judiciary was to play in umpiring the federal system or in limiting the powers of government. Article III of the Constitution says nothing whatever about the qualifications of judges, or about the mechanics of choice. Indeed it says practically nothing about the mechanics of the judicial system itself.