Constitution was written as a document for the ages
A recent letter castigates President Obama for not attending the funeral of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. I agree that courtesy and political protocol would call for such attendance. Unfortunately, the writer descends into a ranting diatribe regarding the president and makes unsubstantiated statements regarding the Constitution.
Scalia claimed to be an “originalist,” a judicial philosophy I believe to be erroneous. Had the framers wanted a static document, they would not have included Article V or the preamble words “promote the general welfare.” I shudder to think how Scalia would have voted had he been on the court for such cases as Strader (1851) and Scott (1857), upholding slavery. Would he have voted to uphold the ban on mixed racial marriage in Loving (1967)? How would he have viewed Plessey (1896), Shelley (1948) or Brown (1954)?
Scalia’s judicial thinking would condemn us to a country in which a propertied elite wields unlimited power, in which the average citizen could not vote, and African-Americans are held in perpetual slavery. The Constitution was written as a document for the ages, to maintain and enhance the freedoms and liberties of all Americans as our society evolves to one in which we all share in the richness of our heritage and resources.
Obama remains president until noon on Jan. 20, 2017. He has the constitutional right and obligation to nominate a successor to the late justice. The Senate has the same obligation to consider such a nomination, not to continue to obfuscate. I hope that the successor to Scalia will be a person far more attuned to the positive values of the United States in the 21st century than mired in many of the negative societal values of the 18th.