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(conservative) quote of the day

"But many activists on the Right, fervently hoping for new justices who will reverse some of the Court's work of the last 30 years, expressed concern about the carefully crafted tenor of [Judge Robert's]responses. As one of my colleagues at Yale Law School recently observed, conservatives who wanted a revolutionary have seen their President appoint a moderate instead. Certainly nobody will ever confuse the leanings of John Roberts with those of, say, Chief Justice Earl Warren. But anyone expecting a precedent-hunter modeled after, say, Justice Antonin Scalia will wind up sorely disappointed. Roberts does not appear to be a man on a mission. He appears to be a judge.

Christian activists, whatever their politics, should put aside dreams of creating a Supreme Court that will order the American public sphere to their liking. (Secularists should put aside the same dreams, but that is a subject for another day.) In a democracy, it is not the proper role of the courts to serve as the vanguard of any political or social movement, imposing on a dissenting nation a host of rules that the people are bound to resist. The late Alexander Bickel, one of the greatest legal scholars of the past century, warned repeatedly that judges must avoid hubris, exercise their authority with prudence, and attend, always, to the possibility that they might err. That is why, in his book The Morality of Consent, Bickel described the interplay between court and public as "a conversation not a monologue...

...If the justices lead the revolution, it will justifiably fail. If it is wrong for the Supreme Court to insist on revolutionary change according to the passions of its members, it does not become right simply because of a change in personnel."

-- Stephen Carter in this month's Christianity Today editorial
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