Last week, former Congressman and presidential candidate Bob Barr sent out a simple admonishment to his Twitter list: “Let’s have a real debate on Judge Sotomayor, not hysterics. . . .”
Unlikely. Appellate Judge Sonia Sotomayor is precisely the kind of jurist to divide us. She’s said things that seem racist and sexist and absurd. But, then, if I criticize her for those things, her supporters will call what I say racist or sexist or absurd.
And none of us want racism, or sexism, much less absurdity.
Let’s try sympathy, instead. It’s not easy to promote a constitutional philosophy consistent and widely acceptable at a time when much of what the federal government does belies — abridges — repudiates! — the Constitution itself.
Take the First Amendment. It begins, “Congress shall make no law . . .” No ambiguity. And yet Congress makes all sorts of law regarding speech, including regulating speech about politics, negating the whole point of the First Amendment.
What part of “no law” don’t today’s jurists understand? In many cases it’s the part where the states have power to fashion their own solutions to problems. It’s called the Tenth Amendment. And it’ usually ignored by all mainstream legal experts, along with the Ninth.
I’d like to have a quiet debate on this. Sotto voce, you might say. The opposite of hysterically loud.
That would be more important, even, than a debate about Judge Sotomayor.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.