Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Xenophobia, Thy Name Is Goodlatte
Congressman Bob Goodlatte, who represents our little district here in the western part of Virginia, has introduced a bill in the House that would prohibit our federal court justices from thinking--if their brains wander outside the boundaries of the United States. His "Reaffirmation of American Independence Resolution" is intended to prohibit people like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from contemplating the unthinkable: "I will take enlightenment wherever I can get it. I don't want to stop at a national boundary."
His idea of the judicial thought police has its genesis in a press release that landed in my in-box today: "Recently there has been a deeply disturbing trend in American jurisprudence. The Supreme Court ... has begun to look abroad, to international law, instead of our own Constitution as the basis for its decisions." I wonder where Bob thinks the Constitution came from. Maybe whole cloth. That'd be good.
He continues: "This is an affront to both our national sovereignty and the broader democratic underpinnings of our system of government. The introduction of this legislation comes at a critical time, for when judges and justices [mostly appointed by Republicans] begin to operate outside the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution, Congress must respond." As Congress tends to do; which makes Congress look more often the fool than not.
Goodlatte, a lawyer by trade, is aghast that Justice Stephen Breyer recently found a decision from the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe useful, because Zimbabwe is ruled badly and is, therefore, automatically ineligible for any intelligent thought (much as the U.S. was under George W. Bush, whom Bob just loved).
Goodlatte is worried that "a majority of unelected justices can alter the original intent of the U.S. Constitution by relying on foreign laws, constitutions, cultures, fads, or social mores." No, that should remain the domain of elected blockheads. No argument there.