RWR at RWN  

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I got involved in a comment thread today over at RightWingNews, in which the discussion of the Left's current loony-on-a-pedestal, Cindy Sheehan was being discussed.

Of course, at some point, I correctly made the assertion that Cindy Sheehan's problems with the President predate the death of her son, and she is merely using his death in an attempt to further her own agenda. I used her own letter to the President as evidence, in which she railed about an "illegal war" and "careless domestic policy", rather then present a proper eulogy for her fallen son. I further presented one supporter of Mrs. Sheehan (MrTom) the following:

I wonder what you would have to say about her calling the minority vote against President Bush in the last election a "mandate" for her, or the assertion that it was President Bush who killed soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq instead of the terrorists who are really responsible, or her assertion that the
President's domestic policies are "careless".

Particularly on that last point, I have found that most people who are on your side of the war issue are, like Mrs. Sheehan apparently is, also against the dismantling of the large number of illegal socialist programs we have in
this country, and the installation of judges who will read and apply the Constitution as intended by the Founding Fathers.

MrTom did not attempt to refute my assertion that socialist programs in America are illegal, but did try to assert that constitutionalist judges such as Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, and Thomas have engaged in "interpreting the Constitution according to their own views". Since no one is perfect, including the nearly-perfect me, and especially people who serve in government, I asked for a link - some case law in which these judges engaged in political activism from the bench. He had to be asked a total of four times, with him first ignoring my challenge, then dancing around the issue. When he did present me an actual Supreme Court case in which he felt Scalia, et. al. were "making a law". All he came up with was a case where they had voted and written dissenting arguments against a majority that had ruled with regard to limits on punitive damages. The case in question was State Farm v. Campbell.

Reading the court documents, the majority position was that excessive damages had been awarded by a court and had violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. I pesonally see this as more of an Eighth Amendment issue, but Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, cited and defended constitutional references in his decision.

Likewise, both Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas referred to the Constitution in their dissent. While I believe that someone should have looked to the Eighth Amendment, I cannot see reason to argue that any judge in this matter acted in a spirit of judicial activism, since every statement the Justices made with regard to the case specifically referenced the constitutionality of the ruling in question. The real question with regard to this case is this: What laws were in place in Utah to govern this sort of thing, and did the Utah court rule in the absence of law? It seems this case was a ruling on the degree of the award, in which case, it would be the court's reasoning that would come into question.

Again, I'm wondering why the Eighth Amendment issues weren't brought to the fore by the Supreme Court, as they are considerably more applicable and substantive with regard to this case. An award is, after all, nothing more than a fine that is paid to the victim rather than to the government.