Living and Breathing - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Living and Breathing

Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.’s Condoms Over London:

If Geldof & Co. really wanted to improve matters in Africa, they should use their haul from Live 8 to hire a first class hit man to whack Mugabe and his cronies.

Life in Zimbabwe would improve immediately.
William L. Roughton, Jr.
Fairfax Station, Virginia

Mr. Tyrrell’s recent piece regarding the savages of Live 8 reminded me of televised news footage I witnessed. The unwashed mobs marching in support of the event, I noticed, also carried banners proclaiming “9-11 — An Inside Job.” I’m too familiar with anti-U.S. hate mongering by assorted sanctimonious Eurotrash to wonder how that related to Third World poverty. I wonder who today in central London would still carry that banner.
Mark K. Zunk
Indianapolis, Indiana

Your article on Live 8 — I LOVED it!

You got it right on! These people in Live 8 are all hypocrites to the max! I couldn’t even watch, and from their ratings I wasn’t the only one. Keep up the good work!
Joni Ramm
Los Angeles, California

Excellent piece on the “Live 8 rabble,” and really enjoyed your writing on this bunch of nitwits. Keep up the good work. I’m an avid reader of The American Spectator and always look forward to your writings.
K. Kramer
Hammond, Louisiana

I sincerely hope the terrorist attack spared you further proof of your traveling misfortunes.
Marty Barnett
New York City

Re: George Neumayr’s The Ongoing Constitutional Convention:


If our Constitution is “living,” is always evolving to reflect the ideas of the current generation, what gives the Court the confidence that the Constitution hasn’t evolved beyond the need for it? Maybe we needed a Supreme Court in 1787, but now we have evolved beyond the need of those dead people. After all, that was over 200 years ago. We have evolved a lot since then.

Now that we know eminent domain can be used to raise the tax base, what about turning the current building into a restaurant and health spa. Great location on Capitol Hill; I bet the tax revenues would be fantastic.
Greg Richards

George Neumayr is the first to speak the obvious, that if the justices do not obey the law, neither need anyone else. If these philosophes wish to be Jacobins, then give them a ride in state, in the tumbrels. “Aux lanternes!” But though this particular solution is as justified as it is long overdue, it would legitimize anarchy, and should be held in check until a solution is tried which would both remove the miscreants and re-enshrine constitutionalism.

It seems strange that constitutionalists have not paid more attention to Article III where a solution appears in front of our noses. Article III states that “(t)he judges, both of the Supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior….” (emphasis added). While it is established by custom that “good behavior” has come to be interpreted as “life tenure”, there is no reason to believe this was the original intent. Had the founding fathers meant life tenure, they would have said so. “During good behavior” plainly means that appointed justices shall not be subjected to the periodic tests of recurring re-elections, as are the legislators and executive. And it also plainly means that when “good behavior” ceases or is notably interrupted, that the justice’s tenure also ceases. And the founders would have been outraged by the suggestion that unassisted peristalsis and respiration were the defining criteria of good behavior. Most certainly activism which denies and ignores the clear statement of the Constitution counts as “not good behavior”. For half a century, arguably longer, the Justices of the Supreme and the inferior courts have promulgated opinions clearly anti-constitutional by unconstitutional arguments, giving full justification for removal. Since there is no explicit statement that a supermajority is needed to remove a Justice, it is possible to remove a miscreant by a simple voting majority. We merely need to try.

The abridgement of free speech by the court’s upholding McCain-Feingold would be a justifiable reason, but impractical since both the legislature and executive have already voted for that measure. However, several cases in which the justices have blatantly overstepped the bounds in siding against the rights to free practice of religion, attempts to extend legal protections to enemy combatants, abridgement of property rights in Kelo and the public declaration by a justice that he rendered his decision based not on American but foreign law are all cases which demand removal. The latter two instances might even be construed as “giving aid and comfort to enemies” and “making war on the United States”. Placing foreign law above U.S. law is clearly an aggressive act, tending to betray America to foreign control.

As another measure, we might note that there is no constitutional requirement that the Supreme Court number nine justices. They might be eleven, seven, or five… or even eight in number. With an even number of justices, appellate decisions would stand in the event of a tie.

The “wet diapers conservatives” are already whimpering that such an act will cause discord and lead to disharmonious confrontations. As if that were not already happening. Yes, a few messy fights, but it would re-establish the principles that courts are not above the law, and that they too may be checked and removed, and that the Constitution means what it says.
George Mellinger

As conservatives bellowed and decried judicial activism over the last 40-some-odd (very odd) years the liberals, always with a wry smirk, patted us on the back and educated us lesser beings in the fineries of Constitutional law with lectures about “living, breathing documents.”

Now its seems that Constitutional sanity just might be catching its breath and the liberals are about to learn what all other civilizations have known for the last 10,000 years: He who lives by moral relativism dies by moral relativism. If they can massage “equal protection under the law” to mean “right to privacy” to mean “kill your babies” maybe we can massage “right to privacy” to extend to unborn children enjoying an uninterrupted stay in the uteruses they happen to be occupying through no particular fault of their own. The fact of the matter is, any morality can mean everything and anything really means nothing. Certainly no religion can survive such vagaries.

And liberalism is a religion. Abortion and sodomy are its sacraments. Excrement-covered iconography (of other religions) is its taxpayer funded and extremely expensive paraphernalia and it brooks no heresy. The liberal religion holds a quasi-Marxist eschatology that declares thesis and antithesis would somehow yield synthesis from their dialectical tensions. No part of that trinity has ever been observed in all of human history so when Marx wrote of it he was acting purely in the role of a prophet, declaring something that no naturalistic observation could confirm. His followers read it, they believed it and continue in that belief as an article of faith. They believed that once the harbingers of the universal coming of egalitarianism were written into law nothing could stem the tide of the prophecy’s final fulfillment.

Ah, but the electorate giveth and the electorate taketh away. The kismet of Mechanistic Progressive theory falls flat when the freewill of consensual government enters into the picture. Now after forty years the American people are starting to think that separating church from state–at least their church from our state–isn’t such a bad idea after all. The American people have created for themselves a presidency and a senate that can cast down these self-deifying moralizers. It may take the ordinarily timid Republicans gathering the courage of Prometheus but the eagle will pick their livers only if they fail, not if they succeed. Judging from the pre-announcement furor coming from conservative circles I think they just might. Now all that remains is to see how the liberals deal with the final slaying of their sacred cows.

May I suggest we hide the Kool-Aid.
R. Killeen
Sunrise, Florida

The circus like atmosphere is emanating not from the courts but from the legislative. The Democrats and their camp followers, having politically wandered the desert for 20 years have launched into a desperate gamble that the Courts are the sole remaining source of their power. Like a man holding onto the edge of a cliff, the Dims are scratching to hold onto power in the judicial branch before they go like a wink in the night.

And the people do have the power to reshape the courts. A 28th Amendment could be fostered to overturn Kelo and sharply define what is public use. The people could elect representatives that will have the fortitude to defund the 9th Circus Court of Appeals, forcing the Supreme Court to take over the docket. Laws could be enforced to prevent law firms from being the primary source of funding for elected judicial positions.
John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Mr. Neumayr has got it right again. We are becoming a country of weak-kneed wimps, afraid to fight for our Constitution, which I might add most other countries in the world wish they had. FREEDOM IS NOT FREE; it must be fought for everyday.
Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

Read your piece today on the “ongoing constitutional convention.” I’m in full agreement (I’ve actually used that metaphor before, but now can’t remember where).

The odd thing is that the states have solved this problem. All but one have ditched lifetime tenure in favor of some form of accountability process: most have elections, some have review committees, and so on.

Yesterday, I traded emails with Ann Althouse (a law blogger), Matthew Franck (a law prof who had an article at NRO) and columnist Bruce Bartlett. The latter two were kind enough to at least take a look at Vote for Judges, where I’ve been pushing federal-judge retention elections for the last six months. Their responses:

Althouse: “I think retention elections would undermine the court.” (To which I replied, “Well, that’s the whole point!” She was not amused.)

Franck: “I think we disagree about electing judges, but I do support the elimination of life tenure.”

Bartlett: “I don’t think I like that. But I might be willing to support something like a supermajority vote in Congress to overturn a Supreme Court decision in certain circumstances.”

I’ve come to think there are too few people in this wilderness to make a difference, and will probably put Vote for Judges to sleep soon. I think that’s a shame. Retention elections are an elegant solution to rogue judges: the threat of public intervention helps keep judges honest; when they go off the reservation, they can be gotten rid of (as in 1986 in California, with the chief justice and two associate justices deposed over the death penalty; one justice deposed in Tennessee in 1996 for the same reason); and the referendum nature of the elections will keep them fairly civil most of the time.

But I’ve found no support for it. I’m not sure what it’ll take to trigger your pitchfork scenario.
Karl Maher
Vote for Judges

I’m among a growing group of people who are angry with the Supreme Court. My proposed solution is a constitutional amendment I’ve written and posted at Judicial Review Amendment, it gives the people a voice. I’m sick of the hysteria created by a minority in their effort to protect a privilege that many people find disgusting. I think this amendment will bring balance back to the system.
Jeffrey Ring
Lorton, Virginia

Re: David Hogberg’s Surviving the Georgetown Circuit:

I’m sorry, did you say that Senator Boxer has written a novel? Her noxious talk is bad enough in politics, does it really have to mar the realm of literature?

Further evidence of the following truism’s veracity: “It doesn’t matter if you can read, but what you read.”
M.C. Tritle

Hey, I picked “C.” for every question. Put me on the court. I could not do any worse than the recent opinions.
Elaine Kyle
Cut & Shoot, Texas

Re: JP’s letter (under “Legal Ouija”) in Reader Mail’s Among the Bubbleheads:

Like JP’s article that said the president may be misdirecting on Gonzales, I wondered if it was either this or that Gonzales has been cast in the “wrong” mold and will actually move to the right if elected and sworn in to the Supreme Court. Like I say, I have thought about it, but I do not think this is a ploy. I think the Supreme Court nominee will likely be a moderate, pro-abortionist.

One thing about Bush that I have never liked is how easily kisses his enemies and ignores his friends such as when he tells his “conservative friends” to “tone down the rhetoric” on Gonzales’s positions.

Bush says he reads the Bible a lot. Well, Jesus called the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs.” He rebuked them often and never once spoke “nice, nice” to them. “Father forgive them…” was said for the soldiers at the foot of the cross, not the Pharisees. Conservatives / Republicans are losing the cultural war despite being in “the majority” because of this unbalanced “nice, nice” stuff. So, tell the Democrats to “tone it down” for a change Mr. President.
Steve Cade
Woodburn, Oregon

Re: Ben Stein:

I hope I find you here. I am a fan but now you have made me love you.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for ending your appearances on Neil Cavuto’s “Cavuto on Business” with a reminder to viewers to remember the men and women in uniform fighting the war on terror
in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Like many Americans, I try to do my part and could probably do much more. Unlike yourself, I have a small voice, not a megaphone. Bless you for saying these very important words in a very important medium at a very important time in our history.

I suspect you finish every public appearance in the same manner as you do on “Cavuto on Business.”

My front door is adorned with a yellow ribbon and an American flag. I put them up when Pfc. Matt Maupin went missing in Iraq. It has been many months. Today, I sent a note to his parents in Batavia, Ohio (I hope delivery is attempted) and told them that their son has not been forgotten and that my husband and I honor his service and believe in his mission. I wrote them that we hold our military and their families close to our hearts.

Thank you for the inspiration. Please keep it up.
Carolyn Bradshaw
Prescott, Arizona

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