The conservative rag American Spectator is calling for Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to resign. They say “If she can no longer support and defend the Constitution, as she is sworn to do, she should leave — and take the New York Times with her.”
What brought this on? It turns out that during a recent visit to Egypt, Ginsburg told the Egyptian people (who are drafting a new constitution) that they should look at newer constitutions like the ones used by South Africa and Canada, or at the European Convention on Human Rights, rather than at the US Constitution.
The US Constitution is the oldest constitution still in force. By analogy, it is the Windows 3.1 of constitutions. One of its problems is how difficult it is to amend, so it has trouble keeping up. Even Thomas Jefferson said that constitutions naturally expire every 19 years, because “the earth belongs always to the living generation.”
I remember an experiment a few years ago where some constitutional organization rewrote the Bill of Rights to put it in more modern (but equivalent) language and tried to get a number of Congressmen and other politicians to sign it, and they all refused. So our own politicians don’t seem to be in favor of at least a major part of our constitution.
But what makes this whole story hypocritical is that the American Spectator took Ginsburg’s comments totally out of context. They ignored her stirring praise for the First Amendment, her references to the “genius” of our Constitution, and her statement of how powerful it is that our Constitution places power in “We the People”.
Wasn’t it just a few months ago that Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the US Constitution is vastly inferior to that of the now defunct Soviet Union? He said:
The bill of rights of the former evil empire, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was much better than ours. I mean it literally. It was much better. We guarantee freedom of speech and of the press, big deal! The guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press of street demonstrations and anyone who is caught trying to suppress criticism of the government will be called to account.
Are they calling for Scalia to resign?