- The Washington Times - Friday, May 15, 2009



Given the upcoming vacancy on the Supreme Court, the judicial philosophy of prospective justices is now a subject under public discussion. In his latest column (” ‘Empathy’ revisited,” Opinion, Sunday), Thomas Sowell points out that the role of the justices is to make decisions regarding the meaning and applicability of our laws - the laws that our elected representatives have crafted and seen fit to impose on the citizenry. Mr. Sowell points out how Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes repeatedly declined to rewrite legislation that he obviously did not like, deferring to Congress in its constitutionally designated legislative role. We commonly refer to this approach to justice as the rule of law. Our system lets us replace lawmakers who create and impose unjust laws. We cannot, however, replace justices who rewrite the laws and thereby create unjust rules.

President Obama reportedly learned his approach to community activism from Saul Alinsky’s philosophy. Indeed, the Alinsky approach to revolutionary change is apparent in Mr. Obama’s actions almost every day. By my reading of Mr. Alinsky’s book “Rules for Radicals,” the rule of law is not viewed with favor. Mr. Alinsky divides the population into classes - the Haves, Have-Nots and Have-a-Littles - and the terms justice, morality, and law and order are described as “mere words” used by the Haves “to justify and secure the status quo.”

Mr. Alinsky argued in the book that the Have-Nots are justified in using any tools, any actions, any tactics to overcome such impediments to revolutionary change. In the book’s chapter “Of Means and Ends,” he gives 11 “rules of ethics” that basically say any means are justified to attain the desired end; moral rationalization is indispensable to justify the selection of means; and an organizer must choose the means and then “clothe it with moral garments.”

This is how Mr. Alinsky defines the term “pragmatist” - one who sees the world as it is and will do whatever is required to attain the desired change, always cloaking it with morality. He mentions President Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus - throwing out the Constitution - as an example of how a pragmatist will use any means to attain the desired end.

So I worry when Mr. Obama says he will nominate a pragmatist to be the next Supreme Court justice. If a pragmatist may throw out the Constitution in one circumstance to attain a desired outcome, what would prevent a successor from doing so again for a different political issue? Knowing how Mr. Alinsky and Mr. Obama view pragmatism, I can only say that it is the philosophical antithesis of the application of equal justice to all under the rule of law.

All good men who believe in our written Constitution, in equality under the law and in equal opportunity for all had best be on guard against allowing such a pragmatist onto the High Court - especially one philosophically sympathetic toward the revolutionary means and ends of Mr. Obama and Mr. Alinsky.



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