Four years ago, Candidate Barack Obama promised “change.” Candidate Mitt Romney (or at least his fund-raisers) are claiming now that their goal is nothing short of “saving America.”
In Alabama, Candidate Roy Moore is telling voters that his election as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court will determine the “course of our future.”
Given that nothing short of divine intervention could keep Moore from losing in November — his Democratic opposition is considered less than impressive — it seems appropriate to consider what that future would be.
In a recent speech at the South Alabama Republican Men’s Breakfast on the Causeway, Moore gave a hint of what is to come — if he has his way.
“We’ve got to go back to the Constitution of the United States,” he told the audience.
Well, going back to the Constitution may be easy for Candidate Moore, but it has been a real problem for judges and constitutional scholars. Since the document was hammered together by a series of compromises on things great and small, going back and figuring out the motives of our Founding Fathers is not as easy as it sounds. An additional problem for the “original intent” advocates is that those who compromised did not leave a clear account of what they were hoping to accomplish.
Moore seems untroubled by this.
Then, Moore added, “We’ve got to go back as Republicans to principle.”
Is that the “course of our future” he will set as chief justice?
Will he use the power and authority he will have as chief justice to advance the GOP agenda?
Judicial activism is frequently decried by both conservatives and liberals who believe the role of the court is to interpret the law, not legislate from the bench. To interpret the law, justices rely on centuries of legal precedent to guide them. Candidate Moore seems to be suggesting that if he becomes chief justice, those legal precedents will be thrown out and in their place he will install interpretations based on partisan politics.
To many, that is judicial activism of the highest order.
If that is the “course of our future” as Roy Moore sees it, Alabama’s future will be determined by the federal courts because that’s where this course of action will likely land us.