Given the very significant role of constitutional law in the American political system and the fact that Supreme Court Justices are appointed through a political process, it is understandable that the appropriate judicial approach to resolving constitutional issues often is the subject of political commentary. Unfortunately, discourse by politicians concerning this issue seldom rises to the deserved level of wisdom. One of President George W. Bush's public mantras is illustrative of political commentary respecting federal judicial appointments: "I'm going to put strict constructionists on the bench." On its face, and as understood by politically naive audiences, the statement appears to mean that the appointed Supreme Court Justice will interpret the Constitution so as to enforce what is stated in the charter's text; that is, the Justice will resolve all constitutional issues by applying a "plain meaning" rule. This doubtless sounds reasonable to those who are unfamiliar with constitutional decision-making. Any serious student of that process should recognize, however, that this is a ludicrous promise.

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Notes/Citation Information

Kentucky Law Journal, Vol. 92, No. 3 (2003-2004), pp. 703-766


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