Saturday, July 31, 2004

Venusian Supremes - Why can't we all just get along?

The culture wars are no negligible concern. We have learned from recent history that even nations that appear to be powerful, stable, and civilized can quickly collapse into paralyzing strife and even destructive anarchy. The prospect is unsettling. So while we may rightly doubt the propriety of the Supreme Court’s conception of itself as national conciliator, we may nonetheless admire the motives of Justices who want to reduce conflict and hold the nation together.

Unfortunately, in our current legal and moral climate, the effort by Justices to act as mediators pushes them to adopt tactics that are likely to aggravate the very problem they seek to address. If the nation’s divisions are to be healed, the healing will not come about by life-tenured officials issuing indictments that accuse millions of their fellow-citizens of animus, prejudice, hostility, or hatred.

"Conciliating Hatred"
Steven D. Smith
Warren Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of San Diego
First Things
June/July 2004

Thus read the last two paragraphs of Mr. Smith's very interesting article. Worth viewing the unexpurgated version if you're interested in what motivates the Supremes to be so creative in their prestidigitation that brings forth new legal principles out of thin air. Law based on how we might be rather than how we are. Hmmm. Wonder where I've heard something like that before?


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