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Supreme Court Hearings: Law vs. Rights Minimum Wage Hits $9.50 in Santa Fe

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Strictly Ballroom At Senate Dance Hall

by Christopher Chantrill
January 15, 2006 at 10:40 am


ONE MORNING in the latter part of the 1980s, Senator Ted Kennedy rampaged onto the floor of the United States Senate. On that morning Kennedy said:

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would have to sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police... midnight raids, schoolchildren... evolution, writers and artists... censored... and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens.

What Senator Kennedy inaugurated with this monstrous canard was twenty years of thuggery, during which liberal bullies roughed up mainstream conservative judicial nominees with impunity.

But the Bork era is over. Last week conservatives beat the street thuggery of the liberal bullies. How did they do it? The surprising answer is “strictly ballroom.” The exquisite legal dancers Jacqui Roberts and Sammi Alito showed how to lead the Senate street thugs out onto the floor and dance through constitutional law and complicated precedents for hour after hour without error. But it was terribly frustrating for liberal Professor Erwin Chemerinsky. Said he to Hugh Hewitt:

Alito on the Supreme Court is likely to vote to eliminate the Lemon test, which is the separation of Church and state, to allow far more presence of religion in government, and government-aided religion. Alito on the Supreme Court is likely to vote to overrule Grutter v. Bollinger, to eliminate affirmative action on college universities. Alito on the Court is going to be a vote to allow much more government regulation of abortion. And if you like those results, then that’s why you want Samuel Alito on the Court.

Well now. A liberal finally found a government regulation to oppose.

But Prof. Chemerinsky is wrong. Conservatives are sick to death of “results.” The conservative critique of liberal jurisprudence is based not on a lust for results but a faith in process. And it is based on an almost erotic love for the mystery of law and the miracle of the Founders and their constitution of 1787.

Liberals act as though the law is all about them: their rights as political activists, their right as liberal women not to have children, their right as artists and writers to challenge society without mercy or decency. But if you look at the history of law you will find that, for the most part, it is not about liberals. Since its Babylonian origins it has focused much more on trying to sort things out when they go wrong, particularly when things go wrong in complicated commercial and trading ventures.

Take the case of the ship laden with grain that docked over two thousand years ago in the Piraeus, the port of ancient Athens, after an eventful voyage from Syracuse, Sicily. The problem was that two parties claimed ownership of the cargo, relates John Maxcy Zane in The Story of Law. There was another complication. On the voyage from Syracuse, one of the claimants had smashed a hole in the ship and then jumped off the stern to take off in the ship’s boat. Only he missed, fell in the water and was drowned. So who owned the cargo, counselor?

The heroic liberal era in jurisprudence began with the expansion of the commerce clause in the 1930s. It reached its apogee with the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision that sliced through the tangle of racism and forced Americans to confront their nation’s original sin of slavery and its shameful aftermath. But then the Supreme Court, egged on by the chattering classes, proceeded to coddle criminals, chase religion out of the public square, and free well-born women from the inconvenience of children. The result was a mess.

When there is a mess, when things are out of joint, then people start to think it is time for a change. They begin to feel that it is time to change from Senator Kennedy’s corrupt liberal America to Judge Alito’s decent conservative America.

And who knows? Maybe they are right. Then they start to write manifestos.

Our America, Senator Kennedy and Professor Chemerinsky, is a land where women, especially professional women in blue states, will have the right to an abortion but will know it is shameful, blacks will finally be freed from the liberal plantation, children will no longer be warehoused in monopoly government schools, writers and artists will no longer be censored by government university speech codes, and the federal courts will no longer be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens while liberals conduct seances on penumbras and emanations inside.

America will be a land purged of the gross accumulation of liberal injustice, the precipitate of liberal power wielded too proudly for too long. And liberals will be better for it.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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