Men in Black – Part I
A couple years ago, I used to blog on the Curiouser and Curiouser site run by Michael Turner. I stopped after I got burnt out on politics. However, I wanted to repost this series of posts I made of the Rush Limbaugh interview of Mark Levin on his book “Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America”.
Rush Limbaugh had lawyer F. Lee Levin, Mark Levin, on his show today to discuss his new book, “Men in Black: How the Supreme Court is Destroying America”. Mr. Levin was the chief of staff to Attorney General Ed Meese during the Reagan administration. His main focus is on the law and the Constitution of the United States of America. Rush asked him why he has written his new book focusing on the Supreme Court:
LEVIN: Well, you know, the book is written for the public, not for you know, Main Street, not for Harvard square. It’s for regular Americans so they can understand what’s happening to their government, how the Supreme Court is disenfranchising them and what they can do about it. There’s really not a year that goes by, Rush — and you talk about it all the time — when there’s some case that comes down, some decision that is really shocking to the American people, whether it’s conferring rights on terrorists or conferring benefits on illegal immigrants and on and on and on. So I thought it was time to really dissect this, really get into this — especially since we’re about to have a major battle over the Supreme Court when the president nominates one, two or three justices in the future. So I’m really trying to arm people who are interested in this subject with information so they can take it to their representatives and participate in this fight. Yeah. I mean, you know, the public stands there. We watch these left-wing groups savage one outstanding judicial candidate after another. We stand there and we watch the Supreme Court issue one outrageous policy decision after another. We live in the greatest representative republic on the face of the earth. It’s time that we emphasized the “representative” part. We don’t have to leave these decisions to a small cabal of left-wing senators or small cabal of left-wing special-interest groups, or a handful of lawyers who happen to be Supreme Court justices. The Framers didn’t view it that way and we ought not to either.
Rush spent an entire hour of his show interviewing Mr. Levin and the discussion was enlightening, to say the least. I learned so much just listening to them this afternoon that I feel this information needs to get out to everyone. So I’m going to make a series of posts to share their discussion, and encourage you to read more by buying the book “Men in Black”. [I also encourage you all to subscribe to RushLimbaugh.com to have access to brilliant information and opinions such as this on a daily basis.]
RUSH: No. No. Because not only does it deserve to be, but this is a book, there are very few of these kind of books that come along that people actually need to read. This is historically informative. This is an educational yet entertaining book to read, and I want to start. You’ve perfectly cast what the court is doing now, what the left-wing groups are doing now, how a small cabal of Democrat senators can stop it. Where did this all start? What was the original intent? I know this is something we are all interested in here when we discuss the Constitution. What was the original intent of the Founders of the Supreme Court and how has it varied from that over the years?
LEVIN: Well, the Framers created basically a silhouette in the Constitution when it comes to the judiciary. It created a Supreme Court that had some specific powers not relevant to our discussion, and it left it to Congress —
RUSH: Did it name the number? Did it name the number of justices?
LEVIN: No, it did not. It was a blank slate pretty much, and it left it to Congress to decide.
RUSH: So Congress decided on nine justices.
LEVIN: Well, first there were seven. There have been a variety of numbers over the years. FDR wanted to make them 14, but it’s pretty settled now that there are nine justices. The number of justices to me doesn’t really matter. It’s what they do. The Constitution doesn’t speak of what the lower court’s going to look like. That’s left to Congress, too. So you have a situation in the Constitution where the elected branches are pretty specific about what they’re going to look like. The judiciary they’re not specific. As I say it’s a silhouette, and it’s left to Congress to paint the picture, and Congress from time to time ought to paint that picture. Early in our history it did. I mean there were judiciary acts and they changed the makeup of the court. They changed what the lower courts look like. But where everything really changed, at least the impetus, was in the election of 1800 when John Adams and the Federalists got their political clocks cleaned by Thomas Jefferson and the Republicans. Adams lost the presidency. The Federalists lost both houses of Congress, but there was a big period of time back then between the time the new president came in and the old one left. It was March. And so during that time, Adams decided that he’s going to try and make sure at least the Federalists have some say. So he tried to ram through some judges, which he did through the lame duck Federalist Senate, 16 of them, one of them being Marbury. He named his secretary of state, who was John Marshall, chief justice, and got him confirmed about five or six weeks before he left office, and so one of those judges challenged Jefferson, who said, “You know, I don’t have to put up with this. I’m not going to appoint these judges,” and he ordered his secretary of state, Madison, to sit on them and not appoint them. So you have this lawsuit, and it comes before the Supreme Court, and who’s the chief justice? John Marshall. John Marshall was also a political confidante of Adams’ over the years and a footnote, he was a distant cousin of Jefferson’s and they were frequently political adversaries in Virginia. So the bottom line is this case comes before the court — and let me cut to the chase. Marshall uses the occasion of the case to basically announce — and, of course, I paraphrase — he says, “You know what? When it comes to constitutional issues, we’ll basically have the final say here, folks. I just want to make that clear, that somebody has to do it, and we’ll do it,” and Jefferson went nuts. And for the rest of his life he was the biggest critic of what he considered a seizure of power by the Supreme Court. He called it “the despotism of an oligarchy” way back in 1820, and since then it’s gotten worse! I mean, we put this court up as if it’s an Olympian council, and I don’t know why. Let’s look at some quick facts. In 1856, the Supreme Court ruled in Dred Scott that slavery is the law of the land compelled by the Constitution. It is not compelled by the Constitution. Even in the free territories, slavery is the law of the land. In 1896 the Supreme Court decided in Plessy vs. Ferguson that separate but equal is equal. That’s not what the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment says! And in 1944, the Supreme Court — by the way, I don’t give FDR and Earl Warren a pass on this. The Supreme Court upheld in a very short opinion the internment of American citizens mostly Japanese-Americans, the removal from their homes on the Pacific Coast, moving them to the interior and they upheld that. So we have slavery, segregation, the internment of American citizens. The Supreme Court was on the wrong side of all those.
RUSH: Claiming all three of those are constitutional to boot.
LEVIN: That’s correct.
RUSH: Claiming they’re constitutional when the Constitution says nothing about it. That’s one of the things here. You ask… You don’t know why they did it. I have to ask you about this. It seems to me that — whatever you want to call, Democrat, liberal, leftist, whatever label you want to attach to it — this kind of extraconstitutional power and desire for it has been around for years and years and years and years, and what you have just said is not taught anymore in the public schools. What you’ve just said, I have no doubt, is big news to a whole lot of people listening to this program, that the Supreme Court itself determined it is the final arbiter of what’s constitutional or not, that it just took that on itself. Now, that’s a brazen power ploy as you just said. It has evolved now to the point that liberals, that’s the only way they can get the vast majority of what they believe woven into the fabric our society.
RUSH: Because that stuff would never pass legislatively, and so for years — for a century, over a century — this stuff, it’s just become accepted. Now the American people have been slowly lulled into a comfortability with the notion that the Supreme Court is the final word on controversial political subjects.
LEVIN: Yeah, you know, let me be real clear about this. What are we talking about? We’re talking about today nine lawyers who are on the Supreme Court. Most people don’t know who five or six of those lawyers are, know very little about them. In our history we’ve had only about 120 justices. Some of them have been brilliant; some of them have been extremely competent; some of them have been racists; some of them have been senile, and some of them have been crooks. I mean they’re imperfect human beings, and it is time — as you wrote recently in an op-ed — to strip the veneer from the court and these justices. We shouldn’t hold them up higher than the elected branches. They’re no better and no worse than the people who serve in the elected branches. But where he we do draw the line is when they start setting policy based on their personal views or even more so-so views that are not expressed in the Constitution. In the dissent in Dred Scott in 1856 there was this Justice Curtis, and he couldn’t have put it better. If Justice Curtis were nominated by President Bush today, people like Chuck Schumer would say he’s an extremist and he’s unqualified. Justice Curtis said, speaking up against the decision of the court upholding slavery, “When a strict interpretation of the Constitution, according to the fixed rules which govern the interpretation of laws is abandoned, and the theoretical opinions of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we no longer have a Constitution. We are under the government of individual men who for the time being have power to declare what the Constitution is according their own views of what it ought to mean.” This man could not be confirmed today to the United States Supreme Court!
RUSH: Mark Levin is with us. He’s discussing the history of the Supreme Court, what to do about where we are now in his new book Men in Black.
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