Ginsburg is missing a fundamental point

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey/Flickr

By Mark Wohlschlegel — In a previous article, I reflected on some of Madam Justice Ruth Bader’s Ginsburg’s comments regarding the U.S. Constitution when interviewed with Al Hayat TV in Egypt.  In particular, I highlighted how her fascination with foreign law and dismissive comments about the U.S. Constitution is an outright violation of oath she took to defend and protect our Constitution.

Furthermore, her actions both here and in the past pose a real danger to all Americans, as it opens us up to no longer be judged by our peers, but rather we are now susceptible to the whim of foreign jurists who may not hold to the same values we do — and all this because Madam Justice finds that these foreigners hold similar “superior” views to her own.   Because her ancient document doesn’t confirm or conform to her views, she is forced to look elsewhere.

Now, based off the same interview, I want to draw your attention to the fact that Madam Justice Ginsburg either is ignorant or chooses to willfully overlook the very fundamental purpose the U.S. Constitution was created for — it is not a document designed to empower the government to protect its people, but rather one that was designed to protects its people from their government.  That bears repeating — the Constitution was designed to protect the American people from their government.

Consider the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution:

“The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage other rights retained by the people.”—9th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”—10th Amendment

This is a distinctly different view than the modern documents cited by Madam Justice Ginsburg.  For example, take her quote on the praise of South Africa’s constitution:

“I might look at the constitution of South Africa.  That was a deliberate attempt to have a fundamental instrument of government that embraced basic human rights, [and] had an independent judiciary.  It really is, I think, a great piece of work that was done much more recently than the U.S. Constitution… So yes, why not take advantage of what there is elsewhere in the world?”

What attracts Madam Justice to this modern document is the emphasis on “human rights” — and the role government plays in the interpretation and enforcement of such right.  While the U.S. Constitution’s  Bill of Rights is found in the first Ten Amendments, after the body of our document, the South African’s Constitution places its Bill of Rights in place of preeminence — in Chapter 2 of the Constitution, second only to the Preamble and Founding Provisions (Ch. 1).  It then proceeds to stretch over 32 sections, naming rights that go beyond both those political and civil, and include economic, social and cultural rights.  The list is rather exhaustive and would seem to lend itself to subjective interpretation in its application.

However, aside from this, a key fundamental difference between the South African Constitution and ours is that it explicitly states that it does not only apply to all branches of its government, but also extends to private parties:

(2) A provision of the Bill of Rights binds a natural or a juristic person if, and to the extent that, it is applicable, taking into account the nature of the right and the nature of any duty imposed by the right. – Bill of Rights: Application (Ch.2, Sec. 8)    

This provision, combined with the subjective nature the South African Bill of Rights in effect, creates a powerful government that is now authorized to be involved in every detail of its citizen’s lives.  This is the type of power that Madam Justice Ginsburg craves.  It is the reason she puts down her own Constitution, which, as it was designed, limits what she can and would like to do.

“…I am operating under a rather old constitution.  …[W]e have the oldest written constitution still enforced in the world.”

Our constitution is outdated?  While it is certainly not a perfect document, it has served this country almost 225 years!  And what of this modern document Madam Justice so highly recommends?  The current constitution of South Africa is actually its fifth — the second constitution founded under President Nelson Mandela.   It took effect only 15 years ago, on February 4, 1997.  It has been amended sixteen times in its brief existence!

That is not a track record one can put their faith in.

Finally, by the claiming that our Constitution is “old” and “outdated”, isn’t Madam Justice Ginsburg implicitly admitting that we do not have a “living Constitution”?

A curious admission from someone who’s whole career in jurisprudence is rooted in the “living Constitution” dodge.

Mark Wohlschlegel is a Staff Attorney for Americans for Limited Government (ALG).

This article has 15 comments
  • Dean 29.02.2012 3:28 PM

    I think Justice Ginsburg has become senile.  She needs to be told to resign.  However, then Obama gets to nominate another marxist to the Supreme Court.  We need to stonewall any new nomination until after we get a different person in the Oval Office,

  • FlaJim 29.02.2012 5:22 PM

    It’s curious that this stupid Jewish woman chose Egypt, now run by the moslem brotherhood, the parent organization of al Qaeda, to spew her nonsense.  She’s clearly clueless and should be removed from the bench.

  • noelle 29.02.2012 5:52 PM

    GINBURG IS A BITCH ANS NEEDS TO RESIGN NOW!
    SHE IS A TRAITOR TO THE US CONSTITUTION AND US AMERICANS! ITS TIME TO DEMAND HER RETIREMENT!

  • charles17121 29.02.2012 6:06 PM

    This Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg is the very reason that justices should not be appointed  for life . The word senility comes to mine when she makes statements like the ones she has . Like Newt Gingrich says if they ( the Justices ) can’t fellow or honor the US Constitution then they should be removed from the bench .

  • Robert Osborn 29.02.2012 7:02 PM

    Mark Wohlschlegl, you are absolutely correct, today the only thing we have to protect the people from the over-reaching intrusionistic and tyrannical attitude of the Federal Government is the 50 Individual State Governments and their officers taking a stand against the Federal Government.
    If we can’t count on the States to protect the people from the Federal Government then that only leaves one choice and that is for the people to defend themselves from either the State Governments that are in collusion with the Federal Government, or the Federal Government itself.
     The People must learn to stand together and fight against Federal Government agents or the people will fall prey to the intrusions done by many different agencies within the Federal or State Government . Yes this means the Federal Government has declared war on the people, and the individual people must band together and protect each other if the State Governments Officers won’t.
    This is the sworn Duty of the State elected officers to protect the citizens of their respective States. If the Elected Officers won’t do their sworn Duty, then they must be taken out of office one way or another and replaced with offiers that will.

  • Robert Osborn 29.02.2012 7:05 PM

    Retirement hell, I would think the word Imprisonment for Treason would be more in line with her statements about or Constitution. Retirement would be way too good for her.

  • PaulCindy 29.02.2012 8:50 PM

    She was sworn to faithfully uphold the Constitution and she doesn’t even believe it is good.  If she thinks it’s outdated, ask her what other Rights & Freedoms is she willing to remove?  She should have to resign with the views she has.

  • PaulCindy 29.02.2012 8:54 PM

    I agree, Supreme Court Justices should be appointed for say 12 or 16 years, that way different Presidents will appoint and justices will leave at random, limiting the idelogy and just serving our country by interpreting our Constitution, that’s it!

  • markinidaho 29.02.2012 10:23 PM

    Madam Ginsburg is the living embodiment of the judicial action that has condemned the United States. She is responsible for the murder of 55 million children in the United States. She is a worse criminal than Hitler, Himmler, Hess, Stalin, and Pol Pot combined. It will be better in hell for Sodom and Gomorrah than for her.

    There is no rest for the wicked, and there will be no rest for her.

  • WilliamSpires 01.03.2012 1:18 AM

    If there were anyone still sane in  American government Ruth Buzzi Ginsburg would be impeached for here failure to uphold her oath. By the way thats an excellent likeness of her in the article.

  • Stephen Anderson 01.03.2012 11:40 AM

    Ginsburg was senile when she was appointed, she’s always had (selective) dementia and alzheimer’s. Her Memory of the constitution is deliberately vague.  
    She is an activist judge, responsible for the errosion of the rule of law, as are the majority
    of democratic candidates appointed to the supreme court!
     
     It was,is and always will be, a big mistake to give ANYONE a job for life, in any branch of
    of government. No one is deserving of that much power and influence!
    I believe that a term for a justice should be limited to ten years, and should not be
    allowed to interpret the law.

     A judge must  be forced to “administer” the law and nothing else.
    The constitution needs no interpretation.

  • Lee Metford 01.03.2012 4:04 PM

    Justices on the SCOTUS were never suppose to have much power and influence. John Marshal usurped power to turn a supreme patronage post into a megalomaniacs dream. Nowhere in the US Constitution is the SCOTUS or any other court given the power of judicial review. Congress never gave the courts that power. The people that ratified the Constitution and the subsequent amendments knew what the Constitution and amendments meant and most of us know what they mean today. We do not need power grabbers changing the meaning of our laws to serve their own needs, desires or beliefs.

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