Home / General / Say What You Will About Believing That the Constitution Enacts the 2008 Republican Platform, At Least It’s An Ethos

Say What You Will About Believing That the Constitution Enacts the 2008 Republican Platform, At Least It’s An Ethos

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Highly sophisticated constitutional theorist Sam Alito huffs that “ordinary people” understand deep truths about the Constitution that he pointy-headed elites don’t. His actual feelings about the ordinary people he strongly tends to disfavor in his actual jurisprudence can perhaps be discerned by the fact that the beliefs he attributes to the abstract ordinary people are…completely useless banalities:

Justice Alito tried a populist approach, too. “The Constitution doesn’t always mean what we would like it to mean. The statutes that Congress enacts do not always mean what we would like them to mean. That is exactly what we mean by the rule of law,” Justice Alito said. Editorial writers “may not appreciate the difference between what the Constitution means, and what one might like it to mean,” he said, “[but] ordinary people still do get this critical distinction. The assault on the traditional idea of the role of judges began more than 100 years ago but ordinary people stubbornly hold on to some old-fashioned beliefs and one of these is the idea that the Constitution means something, statutes mean something, and the role of the judge is to interpret and apply the law as written.”

Yes, the difference between Alito and his more liberal colleagues is that he just applies “the law” and they do not. So when Alito consistently finds that ambiguities in civil rights statutes were intended not to protect civil rights, that’s just what the law says. When anybody reads the phrase “due process of law” in the Constitution, they can instantly see that this means that “corporations that injure people cannot be liable for more damages than can be arbitrarily determined by counting the fingers on Anthony Kennedy’s hand.” If, on the other hand, you believe that “due process” entitles you to a trail before a judge who hasn’t been given massive amounts of money by your adversary, you’re crazy! And any ordinary person, upon reading the 4th Amendments prohibition on “unreasonable search and seizures,” would certainly understand that this doesn’t apply to strip-searching 10 year-old girls without a valid warrant. It’s clearly stated in the secret appendixes to the Constitution that are only distributed at Federalist Society meetings.

In conclusion, either you agree with Sam Alito or you’re a nihilist. Only a partisan would disagree.

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  • thusgone

    “Shut the fuck up, Donny.”

  • Glenn

    You see, ordinary folks know that if you have a clash between a statute and the Constitution, you just have to get them both in the same room and say “Cut the shit!”

  • partisan

    I suppose this could wait until the next bout of anti-Islamic demagoguery, but since for once I’m actually rather pleased with my country I think I’ll say it today. As you are aware, Mark Steyn is a Canadian. As you may also be aware the core of Canada’s minority Conservative government is Alberta. To be specific, Calgary, Alberta, without question the most Conservative city in the entire country. Well last night, Calgary elected as mayor a Harvard educated business professor who was electorally nowhere a month ago and who also, as it happens, is the first Muslim to become a major Canadian city mayor. To be sure this doesn’t mean anything on a national level, or anything in America, but it’s nice to know that there’s only so little Steyn get away with in Canada.

    • Stag Party Palin

      Interesting. when I lived, briefly, in Calgary in 1955, the population was seriously infected by Texans and Okies up there to build refineries and work in the oil bidnis. All I can say it that their children were obnoxious little brats, and by now they have reached “get off my lawn” age and that would explain Calgary’s overall political ethos.

      Of course it does NOT explain electing the mayor. Perhaps I ought to drop down to the Petroleum Club and ask around.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Oooh, I guess I’m going to have to post in praise of the old hometown…

  • Holden Pattern

    I think the link under

    “corporations that injure people cannot be liable for more damages than can be arbitrarily determined by counting the fingers on Anthony Kennedy’s hand.”

    is wrong. It goes to the same place as the next link.

    • Hogan

      Try this.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Fixed!

  • howard

    wait a second: did he just say that judges “interpret” the law?

    surely not principled sam alito: how could there be anything to “interpret” once the law is written. ordinary people can’t understand what he’s talking about.

    (nor can ordinary people understand how such a conspicuously unintelligent person made his way into princeton, but i’m sure the elites had their reasons….)

  • wengler

    Stupid people tend to think there is only one way to do anything.

  • Joe

    The Kennedy hand bit is a bit unfair since Stevens rode the bus pretty far there.

    I also read Alito noted that he probably won’t go to any more state of the unions, since they are so political. Interesting how he decided NOW. Took a few years to figure that out, maybe?

    • redrob

      Not much gets past that razor-sharp mind of his.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Yeah, but it was a Kennedy opinion in which he determined the maximum punitive damage ratio by considering the digits on his hand. (Not that this excuses Stevens from signing it.)

  • “If, on the other hand, you believe that ‘due process’ entitles you to a trail before a judge who hasn’t been given massive amounts of money by your adversary, you’re crazy!”

    “Trial,” not “trail,” I think.

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