This column presents facts regarding the United States Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Wisconsin State Constitution, and various other documents in reference to modern topics. Mark hopes to encourage interest in those works so that others can consider whether our government is practicing within its constitutional limits. In the last category, he may indicate his opinion. Mark is a resident of New Berlin. Readers are encouraged to visit the following sites for more information on the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson's views on politics and government.
Excerpts from a transcript of MEET THE PRESS on May 16, 2010
MR. GREGORY: Let me turn to the nomination of Elena Kagan to be the next Supreme Court justice. Here she is back in 1993 in the committee room. She worked, of course, for Senator Biden, who was chairman at the time. There she is. And she had--she saw it up close, and she had some pretty direct things to say about it. This was an article she penned for the University of Chicago Law Review , during which she said, in recent hearings--"If recent hearings lacked acrimony, they also lacked seriousness and substance. ... When the Senate ceases to engage nominees in meaningful discussion of legal issues, the confirmation process takes on an air of vacuity and farce, and the Senate becomes incapable of either properly evaluating nominees or appropriately educating the public." You've met with her. With that in mind, do you think she is prepared to reveal more than she might otherwise about her legal views and philosophy?
SEN. SCHUMER: Yeah. I think that's the right thing to do. I said that when there were Republican nominees from George Bush, and I believe it with Democratic nominees. These hearings should not be a farce and should not be, "What's your favorite movie or restaurant?" They should talk about judicial ideology and philosophy. Obviously, you can't pin--try to pin someone down on what might be an upcoming case. But knowing how they think, how they reason, what's their view of settled law, these are all very legitimate questions, and the hearings would be much less if they weren't asked.
MR. GREGORY: Just remind people, this was about political contributions.
SEN. SCHUMER: This is the case that said unlimited corporate money could flow into our politics undisclosed in any way, and it's really--I mean, the First Amendment's important, but so is the sanctity of our political process, so that the average person has a say. And I was shocked at this. Maybe a Kagan on the court could have persuaded a Justice Kennedy that the practical--you know, the abstract notion of First Amendment triumphs everything has a balance, and the balance is the practical effects of that. And my hope would be she would do it, and that's what I'm looking for.
Free speech vs. Congressional Authority
US Constitution: first amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
We the People:
Senator Schumer suggests compromising the first amendment. Who would determine where that “balance” of free speech should be? Would it be the party in power or Elena Kagan? No branch of the federal government has this authority, and we must never allow them to achieve it.