Thursday, September 22, 2005
Judge or legislator?: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the type of judge that Democrats like. She's a former counsel for the ACLU and further left wing than the president who nominated her to the high court. So, it comes as little surprise that Ginsburg confessedly isn't interested in judging cases, but would rather make the law.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience Wednesday that she doesn't like the idea of being the only female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
But in choosing to fill one of the two open positions on the court, "any woman will not do," she said.
There are "some women who might be appointed who would not advance human rights or women's rights," Ginsburg told those gathered at the New York City Bar Association. [emphasis added]
It's not a judge's job to "advance" women's rights -- because the very process of "advancing" rights is a political one, not a judicial one. A judge can protect rights, but certainly shouldn't be in the business of "advancing" them.
Ginsburg also shows that once you're on the court, you can opine on judges that will certainly come before the court, but not before.
She emphasized the importance of different groups' work in promoting human rights and said the United States has lost credibility on the subject, partly because of its detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and its "ambiguity" on the use of torture.
Sounds like Ginsburg has tipped her hand on how she will rule when the Hamdan case arrives -- if where they're being held is a human rights issue (something that judges should be advancing), then isn't it likely that she's going to find that military commissions are unconstitutional.
Ginsburg also defended her practice -- and that of several of her colleagues -- of looking to foreign law to help decide U.S. constitutional issues.
During the session, which was attended by hundreds of people, Ginsburg defended some of the justices' references to laws in other countries when making decisions, a practice strongly opposed by some U.S. legislators. The justice said using foreign sources does not mean giving them superior status in deciding cases.
"I will take enlightenment wherever I can get it," she said. "I don't want to stop at a national boundary."
I've often found enlightenment staring at graffiti on the wall of a bathroom stall, maybe she should spend some time in public restrooms -- she might find "enlightenment" there too.