Announcer: As we’re all aware, a president’s appointment of a Supreme Court judge is subject to the approval of the Senate. If the Republicans gain control of the Senate in November, and, if, as a result, Justice Ginsburg decides to retire, that would give President Obama one last chance to appoint a Supreme Court judge and have the appointment approved by the “Lame Duck” Democrats. To give us some perspective on this issue, Dick and Janey’s guest today on “Yucky World” will be noted political commentator “Scoop” Pooper.
Janey: Welcome, Mr. Pooper!
Dick: Hi, Scoopedoo!
Scoop: Sometimes I wonder why I appear on this show.
Dick: Where else could you talk about lame ducks!
Scoop: I’m more worried about lame brains.
Dick: Man, I really feel sorry for those poor ducks.
Scoop: Not half as sorry as I feel for your audience.
Janey: Scoop, let’s get right to the issue. What’s the key quality President Obama is looking for in a Supreme Court nominee?
Scoop: An inability to read what the Constitution says.
Dick: Huh? Why would Obama want to appoint a judge with reading problems?
Scoop: Why not? We’ve had lots of ‘em already!
Janey: I can’t believe that. How could they get through law school?
Dick: Maybe they had Obama for their professor.
Janey: How about giving us an example.
Scoop: No problem. We’ve seen a lot of rulings involving the right to privacy. Now, when you read the Constitution, you can’t find that right anywhere.
Janey: Not specifically, but it’s based on the Fourth Amendment’s illegal search and seizure clause.
Scoop: Yes, but it was somehow used as the basis for the right to an abortion which is no where in the Constitution. In fact, up until 1973, it was a power of the states.
Scoop: So, the Tenth Amendment says, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” The regulation of abortion should be a reserved power of the states.
Dick: But doesn’t their ruling on assisted suicide actually contradict their abortion ruling?
Scoop: Exactly! Like abortion, there’s not one word in the Constitution about assisted suicide. And it certainly qualifies as a privacy issue of a personal choice to be made between the patient and doctor.
Janey: But their ruling said that it was up to the states: Michigan has outlawed assisted suicide while it’s legal in Oregon.
Scoop: Correct! They contradicted themselves.
Janey: Then aren’t you really arguing for a strict interpretation of the Constitution?
Scoop: No! I’m arguing for a proper reading of the Constitution.
Dick: Yeah, but I thought the Supreme Court’s job was to interpret the Constitution, to tell us what it means.
Scoop: That’s the problem. You won’t find the word “interpret” in the Constitution. In reading class, understanding what you’ve read is called comprehension, not interpretation. You can interpret a poem; give it your own meaning, but not a constitution. It has to be comprehended, then explained—not interpreted.
Janey: But how does this apply to the fight over Supreme Court nominees?
Scoop: Obama wants a judge who will spend most of his or her time reading between the lines instead of reading what the Constitution actually says.
Janey: What’s between the lines?
Scoop: The right to an abortion.
Dick: So President Obama needs to nominate a judge who has reading problems?
Scoop: Exactly! He wants a judge who can find a “right” like abortion in the Constitution—even if it’s not there.
Janey: Well, why don’t they just do it the proper way and add a constitutional amendment for the right to an abortion?
Scoop: This way’s easier—especially when you’ve never had the votes to get an amendment adopted.
Dick: But where could Obama find a judge with reading problems?
Scoop: Specifically, the Kansas State Supreme Court. They just let the Democratic candidate for the Senate withdraw even though state law says you can only withdraw for two reasons: if you’re dead (he’s not) or if you’re incapable of fulfilling the duties of the office (but the ex-Democratic candidate is still fulfilling the duties of district attorney).
Janey: Why did they do that?
Scoop: So the independent senate candidate would have a better chance of beating the Republican and, if he wins, then he would caucus with the Democrats.
Dick: Somebody should tell Toto.
Janey: I’m not sure he’s in Kansas anymore.
Dick: Too bad! You know, I think I’ll go home and reread the Constitution.
Janey: Wow! Reread!! Thinking about becoming a Supreme Court judge?
Dick: Naw! According to the President’s reading standards, I’m probably overqualified.