May 18th, 2005 · Categories: Uncategorized · 2 Comments

Politics: The Constitution according to Dirty Harry

The Constitution requires super-majorities for several legislative functions. Consenting to judicial appointments is not one of them.

“Dirty Harry” Reid* is a political thug. He is a man who seems to be driven primarily by venomous hatred of President Bush and the values the President embraces. He is a man who lacks the integrity to distinguish between coy innuendo and political discourse. His lust for power is of the most covetous sort. He cannot bear to see any in the hands of those with whom he disagrees; he and those of like mind must have it all. He is, in short, a contemporary Democrat.

And like many of his party, he is outraged that the evil, Bible-thumping Senate Republicans might like to do business in accordance with the rules set down by the Constitution. The filibuster is an artifact of the Senate rules. It requires a super-majority (60 votes) to shut off debate and get on with business. The Republicans, who have the quaint idea that the President should be allowed to exercise the powers granted him by the Constitution, want to amend the rules to eliminate the filibuster for debates on judicial nominees.

Dirty Harry and his cohorts have used the threat of a filibuster to block ten judicial nominees whom they believe hold to values that are not politically correct – things like decency, fair play, Constitutional limits on the power they so desperately crave, and such. He laments that “The goal of the Republican leadership and their allies in the White House is to pave the way for a Supreme Court nominee who would only need 50 votes for confirmation rather than 60.” Dirty Harry seems to think there is something wrong with this.

But that is precisely the situation the Framers envisioned when they declined to specify a super-majority for approval of judicial appointees. In a single sentence (Article II, Section 2, Clause 2), the Constitution grants the President the power “with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur” and grants the power to “nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, … appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court ….” There is no mention of a super-majority for Senate consent to judicial appointments.

We should understand what kind of judiciary Dirty Harry and his pals envision. It was best described by Justice Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit Court. It is a judiciary that “use[s] some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us.” Dirty Harry just can’t bear the idea of a federal judge who might agree with the Constitution’s own provision that it, along with laws made pursuant to it, is “the supreme Law of the Land”.

No, Dirty Harry thinks federal judges who think like him should be the supreme Law of the Land.

* Thomas Sowell

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 18th, 2005 at 10:00 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Politics: The Constitution according to Dirty Harry”

  1. Featured post | The Curmudgeon's Progress Says:

    July 17th, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    […] Featured post from the past: Politics: The Constitution according to Dirty Harry […]

  2. Grumpy Says:

    July 17th, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    In the years since this post was written, we have learned much more about Dirty Harry’s contempt for the Constitution….

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>