The Instigator
oboeman
Pro (for)
Losing
15 Points
The Contender
DucoNihilum
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

Strict constructionist judges should not be appointed to the United States Supreme Court

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/8/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,388 times Debate No: 4626
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (11)
Votes (9)

 

oboeman

Pro

Greetings,

In this debate, I will be arguing that strict constructionist judges should not be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

Definition:
Strict constructionism – legal philosophy of judicial interpretation that requires a judge to apply the text as it is written and no further, once the meaning of the text has been ascertained.

In this debate, here are my main arguments:

By appointing strict constructionist judges to the United States Supreme Court, only the original text of a law would be imposed. This is wrong.

First of all, this judicial philosophy seems to assume that previous laws are already at perfection. It ignores the fact that better ideas may not have been incorporated into previous laws. While it is indeed possible that some previous laws are already at perfection, the point is, it is ALSO possible that many are not. Thus, in order to seek higher levels of perfection in government, strict constructionist judges should not be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.

For the people being affected by the Untied States Supreme Court's decisions, it is therefore possible that they may be wrongly affected, due to a flawed decision on part of the Supreme Court. The strict interpretation used by strict constructionist judges is flawed. Judges should be open to change, rather than adhering to laws that, although may have been needed hundreds of years ago, no longer apply.

Simply because particular policy choices are currently embodies in the law does not necessarily make them right. It is indeed possible that lawmakers came to an incorrect conclusion, and therefore the Supreme Court would be imposing a flawed decision. However, if the United States appoints more open-minded judges (i.e. judges that would be open to review various cases independently, more logically analytical, willing to debate vigilantly, and who can acknowledge the fact that all laws are not infallible), a greater chance for more beneficial decisions can be obtained.
DucoNihilum

Con

DucoNihilum forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 1
oboeman

Pro

All of my arguments from my Round 1 in this debate are currently intact and still standing.

I would hope my opponent is available for rebuttal for the remainder of this debate.

Strict constructionist judges should not be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
DucoNihilum

Con

DucoNihilum forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
oboeman

Pro

With only 1.5 rounds remaining in this debate, I may offer this challenge to my opponent again once DucoNihilum's computer is repaired.

Hopefully, all goes well with repairing the technological malfunctions.

Strict constructionist judges should not be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
DucoNihilum

Con

I would like to wish my opponent luck in his next few rounds, while also apologizing for missing a few rounds. As I said in the comments section, I've been working on computer issues for a while now.

You seem to have forgotten a few very important aspects of the American legal system. Our system is meant to be one with checks and balances, so that no one branch of the government supersedes any other. The roles of each branches are set by our constitution.

The role of the Legislative branch is to write the laws, the role of the judicial branch is to interpret the laws, and the rule of the executive branch is to enforce the laws.

Knowing this, let us examine your position. You believe that simply because a small amount of our country (none of which has any real representation, by the way), a few judges, should be able to literally change our constitution and twist it the way they see fit. This can lead only to tyranny. Even if you might disagree with the constitution as it was written, it was indeed written and agreed upon by citizens. If citizens were to happen to become unhappy with the constitution they have another way of changing it outside of the judicial branch, they may use the proper branch- the legislative one.

The judicial policy of constitutionalism, does not assume that laws are perfect as they are written, rather it knows that they are not the ones that might choose what is 'perfect' or 'right' based on their own political opinions. When something is obviously against what was originally intended, then their 'interpreting' it so that it has a different interpretation than it was originally is essentially rewriting the constitution, jumping over the all important stage of the legislative branch.

The legislative branch, as to our current rules should be open to change- but only if it is done fairly. If the people through the legislative branch no longer like the first amendment, then they should vote to abolish it- however, if five judges want to interpret the first amendment as the right to sit down and shut up, they should be denied this privilege. The courts duty is not to create new laws, or modify laws so that they no longer mirror already written and constitutional law, but to follow the law, and follow the constitution- be sure that all laws follow the constitution as it was intended, not as they intend it to be.
Debate Round No. 3
oboeman

Pro

I welcome my opponent, and I am glad my opponent's technological problems have been fixed. I look forward to the debate. If my opponent would like, due to the missing rounds, I can challenge my opponent to an additional debate from where we leave off in this debate.

"You seem to have forgotten a few very important aspects of the American legal system. Our system is meant to be one with checks and balances, so that no one branch of the government supersedes any other. The roles of each branches are set by our constitution."

To the contrary, I have not forgotten. The roles of each branch, indeed, are set by the constitution. I will make my argument as I proceed.

"The role of the Legislative branch is to write the laws, the role of the judicial branch is to interpret the laws, and the rule of the executive branch is to enforce the laws."

As dictated by the constitution, the role of the legislative branch is to write the laws, judicial branch to interpret them, and executive branch to enforce. Indeed, that is how it is currently set up. Proceed.

"You believe that simply because a small amount of our country (none of which has any real representation, by the way), a few judges, should be able to literally change our constitution and twist it the way they see fit. This can lead only to tyranny. Even if you might disagree with the constitution as it was written, it was indeed written and agreed upon by citizens. If citizens were to happen to become unhappy with the constitution they have another way of changing it outside of the judicial branch, they may use the proper branch- the legislative one."

First of all, you have proved one of my points with that response:
According to you, a small amount of our country (while referring to the judges) has no real representation. I think that everyone in society should have, ideally, the same amount of input in lawmaking, as everyone is involved in the laws affecting them.
Secondly, the judges worthy of being appointed to the United States Supreme Court are arguably (perhaps ideally) the finest in the nation. However, you also misinterpreted my argument. My argument resolves around why we should not appoint strict constructionist judges. It does not say we should appoint judges that will legislate everything from the bench according to their own viewpoints. I think that, ultimately, major discrepancies in decisions at the U.S. Supreme Court should be assisted by the legislative branch. Therefore, if a law is unjust, a practical application of such a law would influence its amelioration and repair. Understandably, nowhere in the constitution does it state the authority to do this. However, the truth is, constitutional boundaries should not set viable parameters for ideal decision-making or current procedures. Simply because something seemed to be correct some 200 years ago does not mean it is still correct. Such is a logical fallacy (i.e. argumentum ad antiquitatem), the appeal to antiquity or tradition. Such an appeal does not justify continuing a particular policy or procedure.
I also think that the legislative branch should follow more of a direct democracy approach. By this, I mean that, via their representative lawmakers, ordinary citizens should be able to supply their views and reasoning as to why particular bills are good or bad.
I see no reason as to why any of this would lead to tyranny.
Currently in this country, if there is a case that goes to the national Supreme Court, they are already at the judicial branch. This is the only place for them to state why a particular law is unjust. If illogical reasoning was used to create a law, and there is someone at the national Supreme Court level regarding such a law, there are two options: (a) interpret the law as it is written, or (b) correct the law to make it just and logically correct.
The truth is, the legislative branch has not been flawless over history. It has the potential, at any given time, to create erroneous laws, that are unjust, or even to create laws seemingly right at the time, but unjust in the future. There is, invariably, this potential.
Therefore, a strict interpretation to apply the text as it is written, and no further, is logically incorrect.

"The judicial policy of constitutionalism, does not assume that laws are perfect as they are written, rather it knows that they are not the ones that might choose what is 'perfect' or 'right' based on their own political opinions. When something is obviously against what was originally intended, then their 'interpreting' it so that it has a different interpretation than it was originally is essentially rewriting the constitution, jumping over the all important stage of the legislative branch."

Indeed, as I wrote above, the judges on the national Supreme Court should not have exclusive input as to what is ideal, right, or logically valid. Like I said, discrepancies should be relayed to the legislative branch so that congress can better the laws to be ideal, right, and logically valid. I concur, that a mere nine people should not govern an entire nation. My plan does not entail that, however.
The interpretations of original intent has the potential to be either (a) based on flawed reasoning, (b) no longer valid due to the passing of time, or (c) still just.
Obviously, Potential C is possible. However, Potential A and Potential B can also occur. Therefore, decisions to be made at the judicial level need sometimes be made, via the amelioration of laws, at the legislative level.

"The legislative branch, as to our current rules should be open to change- but only if it is done fairly. If the people through the legislative branch no longer like the first amendment, then they should vote to abolish it- however, if five judges want to interpret the first amendment as the right to sit down and shut up, they should be denied this privilege. The courts duty is not to create new laws, or modify laws so that they no longer mirror already written and constitutional law, but to follow the law, and follow the constitution- be sure that all laws follow the constitution as it was intended, not as they intend it to be."

If the people dislike something, then, indeed, measures should be taken fairly. I am not saying, just to note, that a popular vote is a good way to solve such complications, though. If the United States Supreme Court were to interpret the first amendment as such, it would be quite illogical. The American people and society should agree upon such reasoning in order to make it correct. Most likely, the American people would not agree about such an interpretation of the first amendment.
The duty of the court should be to establish and make sure there is justice. By this, I mean that, though they should not be allowed to exclusively govern the nation and make laws, they should be able to determine whether or not a particular law is just or not. The constitution as it was intended was seemingly beneficial. Just because what it dictated earlier in history seemed to be good does not mean that it or all laws are currently infallible. Such authority should be questioned.

I have affirmed the resolution thus far:
Strict constructionist judges should not be appointed to the United States Supreme Court.
I look forward to my opponent's next response,
Oboeman
DucoNihilum

Con

DucoNihilum forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Wylted 2 months ago
Wylted
If you don't like the constitution or the law you vote to change it, not have a small group of powerful men create new law from the bench
Posted by oboeman 9 years ago
oboeman
I am not saying that because something is in the constitution it is wrong. Instead, I am saying that parts of the constitution might indeed be wrong, not applying ideally in the current.
The same goes for things vital for the country, but not explicitly in the constitution, such as church and state separation. Simply because something is not in the constitution does not make it wrong.

Hmmm, I just might need to challenge a debate about the like....
Posted by impactyourworld89 9 years ago
impactyourworld89
So, you don't believe that we still need the right ot free speech and the right to bear arms anymore?
Posted by oboeman 9 years ago
oboeman
impactyourworld89,
The constitution is not infallible. I propose a fundamental idea that things, intended for benevolence, may change over time. What may have been right 200 years ago may not necessarily still be right at the present. As well, one can deduce that the government ought to do what is right for the country/society. Thus, not every governmental decision ought to explicitly follow the literal wording of the constitution, as long as the decision-to-be-made is still right.
Posted by impactyourworld89 9 years ago
impactyourworld89
The judges that are appointed are appointed to protect the constitution. Therefore, shouldn't they take it literally?
Posted by Xera 9 years ago
Xera
"Democracy is tyranny of the majority"

everything else is tyranny of the few.
Posted by DucoNihilum 9 years ago
DucoNihilum
Speaking of fallacies, my favorite widely used one is argumentum ad populum.
Posted by oboeman 9 years ago
oboeman
s0m31john, not all ordinary citizens are as you describe them. To the contrary, many of them can reason just as well, if not better, than current congressmen. By the way, popular votes are an irrelevant factor to prove reasoning.

Seemingly, you are using a logical fallacy (dicto simpliciter), known as a sweeping generalization.
Posted by s0m31john 9 years ago
s0m31john
"ordinary citizens should be able to supply their views and reasoning as to why particular bills are good or bad.
I see no reason as to why any of this would lead to tyranny."

Because ordinary citizens are mindless sheep that will hand over their freedom for security, or take freedoms away from a minority they do not like. Democracy is tyranny of the majority.
Posted by oboeman 9 years ago
oboeman
Sure, no problem, Duco. I can distance my responses so that they are comfortably close to the completion of the third day to respond.

And by the way, if you do happen to miss additional rounds due to delayed repairs, it is alright with me for you to post your argument in the comments section, as long as it is done within like 1/1.5 days of the miss.

Good luck with the repairs, and I look forward to the debate.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 months ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Fvck pro
Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
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