Mark R. Levin begins his best-selling book "Men in Black" with a chapter titled, "Men, Not Gods." It puts into perspective the power we have entrusted in the hands of nine individuals who increasingly have influence in every aspect of our lives.
The Constitution never mentions abortion, homosexuality, pornography, privacy or workplace rights. But activist judges have found ways to promote various social and economic causes by devising novel new ways to interpret simple language in the Constitution to suit their radical agenda.
Hereís how Levin describes the 109 justices (107 men and two women) who have served on the Supreme Court in the past 200 years: "The biggest myth about judges is that theyíre somehow imbued with greater insight, wisdom, and vision than the rest of us; that for some reason God Almighty has endowed them with superior judgment about justice and fairness. But the truth is that judges are men and women with human imperfections and frailties. Some have been brilliant, principled, and moral. Others have been mentally impaired, venal and even racist."
Supreme Court justices themselves go to great lengths to maintain this aura of elitism. They wonít allow the sessions to be televised. Information on which cases are selected or how decisions are made are closely guarded secrets.
And if youíve read "The Brethren," a best-selling inside look at the Warren Burger court, you get the sense that some of the justices fancy themselves as some kind of ancient Roman rulers with servants (clerks) to attend to their every need. Iím sure the court has changed somewhat since the death of the egotistical Burger. Chief Justice William Rehnquist does not appear to be the patrician that Burger was, but the Supreme Court still seems about 50 years behind the times.
Which brings me to John G. Roberts Jr., President Bushís nominee to replace Sandra Day OíConnor. Except for hysterical liberals (who would oppose Mother Teresa for the high court), everybody likes this guy. Even some left-leaning law school professors concede Roberts is as brilliant a legal mind as you will find in the United States today. Regardless of which way you lean politically, wouldnít you want somebody sharp to sit on the court?
"Men in Black" is probably the most entertaining book ever written about the Supreme Court. Levin bursts the bubble of the court a bit by going through a roguesí gallery of justices with more than a few skeletons in their closet.
Financial scandals, troubles with the law, mental illness, anti-Semitism, racism, ties to known Communists and senility are just a few of the less-than-desirable attributes that justices brought to the court. Thatís the risk you take by appointing somebody to a job for life.
Itís also noteworthy that thereís never been a case where a liberal appointee moved to the right once appointed to the court. But there have been many cases where so-called conservatives have moved to the center and so-called moderates have shifted to the left. The most recent defection to the dark side has been David H. Souter, appointed by George H.W. Bush in 1990, but Souter has voted consistently with the liberal block on the court ever since.
And nobody can figure out where Anthony Kennedy stands. Appointed to the court in 1988 by President Reagan, Kennedyís opinions have been all over the map. Assuming Roberts is confirmed (and he will), there will be four liberals and four conservatives on the court, with Kennedy being the swing vote deciding many cases.
The current set of Supreme Court justices appears to be a fairly sedate group, although you do have a left-wing extremist in Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the former chief lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU connection alone should have disqualified Ginsburg from the court using the argument that the loony left (Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Barbara Boxer) has been pushing to denigrate President Bushís nominees to the federal courts.
If Bill Clinton could stack the court with lightweight liberals like Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer (never to be confused for a Rhoads Scholar), itís time to allow President Bush to bring some balance to the court. Improving the courtís IQ a few points doesnít hurt either.
Tony Phyrillas is a leading conservative political columnist and blogger based in Pennsylvania. He is a veteran journalist with 25 years experience as a reporter, editor and columnist for several newspapers. Phyrillas received recognition for column writing in 2010 from the Associated Press Managing Editors, in 2007 from Suburban Newspapers of America and in 2006 from the Society of Professional Journalists, Keystone Chapter. A graduate of Penn State University, Phyrillas is the city editor and political columnist for The Mercury, a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning daily newspaper in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to The Mercury website (www.pottsmerc.com), his columns are featured on more than a dozen political websites and blogs. Phyrillas is a frequent guest (and occasional host) on talk radio and has been a panelist on the "Journalists Roundtable" public affairs TV program on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN). Phyrillas was named one of the '10 Leading Greek-American Bloggers in the World' in 2007 by Odyssey: The World of Greece magazine. BlogNetNews.com ranked Phyrillas the Most Influential Political Blogger in Pennsylvania for three consecutive years (2007-2010). You can follow Phyrillas on Twitter @TonyPhyrillas