Sunday, June 25, 2006

Texas Republicans don't seem to be originalists -- or conservatives

The Texas Republican platform, cited in the previous post, contains a number of items that are surprising to those of us who assumed that conservatives tend to take narrow positions regarding interpretation of the US Constitution. So it was to my great surprise that I see the following:

“We believe that parental rights and responsibilities are inherent and protected by the United States Constitution.”

They don’t, however, indicate exactly where they find this. Perhaps the attorneys who comment here can enlighten us – and as to how this can be consistent with an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. If it is found in one of the first ten amendments, such protection would be meaningless if the Texas Republicans have their way, as in another section of the platform they say:

" Congress should be urged to exercise its authority under Article III, Sections 1 and 2 of the United States Constitution, and should withhold appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in such cases involving abortion, religious freedom, and all rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights."

I think the last effective stripping of authority from the Supreme Court was during the post-Civil War reconstruction period. Stripping the authority of the Court in constitutional cases could create chaos as each local court would differ. And it ignores 200 years of precedent which is that the Court is the final arbiter at least for Constitutional cases. This is anything but a conservative approach. Ironically, with the new conservative majority on the Court, stripping it of jurisdiction would mean that precedents dating back to the Warren court would remain binding, forever.

5 Comments:

Blogger Nephtuli said...

I agree about the alleged family rights but the second point is less legitimate. I think they mean that only under the Constitution Congress can strip the Supreme Court of jurisdiction and so Congress should exercise that power. But Congress should also strip the lower courts of jurisdiction as well, but that doesn't need a specific constitutional power because the lower courts were made by Congress anyway. Practically they want to take abortion away from the courts.

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