For the Record…
October 12, 2004
I keep getting e-mails that I missed a major point in my column because Kerry committed some Freudian blunder when he said, “I will appoint judges who interpret the constitution according to the law”.
Everyone is pointing out that he said it in reverse. In fact, the law is supposed to be interpreted according to the Constitution. Here’s a sample e-mail making the point:
Perhaps you missed it – when Bush said he would appoint “constitutionalist” judges in Debate 2, Kerry put his foot in his mouth:
He said “I will appoint judges who interpret the constitution according to the law”.
I believe that the roles are reversed – judges are supposed to interpret laws according to the constitution.
I don’t want to appear stubborn or like one of those people who never admits mistakes. I make plenty and admit it — with specificity — when I believe I should. But I didn’t miss Kerry’s quote. I read it and decided not to comment on it for two reasons. The first is that I think he misspoke. The second is that I was already over my word limit and I thought this was an extraneous point, given that I think he misspoke. Let me explain.
Of course the proper formulation is that judges are supposed to interpret laws according to the Constitution. But the context of Kerry’s statement indicated to me that he just got tripped up verbally because he was clearly trying to say that he believed in the Potter Stewart model, i.e., that judges should not be liberal or conservative, but interpreters of the law, blah blah.
If you all think he meant to say what he said then it would be a really stupid statement on his part. It would not only be inconsistent but it would undermine the fraud Kerry was trying to perpetrate, which is that he doesn’t appoint liberal activist pro-abortion judges with a shameful litmus test. He was trying to defraud the viewing public and he wouldn’t have deliberately reversed the order of the words and thereby have undermined his point.
Plus there’s one other thing. Reread the quote. Again, Kerry said, “I will appoint judges who interpret the constitution according to the law.” That’s not what liberal activist judges do. They don’t interpret the Constitution according to law. THEY MAKE STUFF UP THAT HAS NO BASIS IN LAW OR THE CONSTITUTION AND GRAFT IT INTO THE CONSTITUTION. SO IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE THAT KERRY WOULD HAVE BEEN TRYING TO BE CUTE AND “REVERSE” THE STATEMENT IN THE WAY HE DID.
Again, activist judges don’t interpret the Constitution according to the law. They interpret it according to their ideology, their whim, their delusional notions of self-importance and sanctimoniousness, their guiding philosophy, their ego… ANYTHING, BUT THE LAW. I rest my case!