1. Election of judges by the people for a definite term of office is the best way to select judges.
2. The U.S. Constitution is a living document and should be interpreted according to the circumstances of each generation.
3. Foreign laws should be used in American courts even where those laws conflict with constitutional rights.
4. Free enterprise and the right to private property turn mankind's natural self interest into the fairest and most productive economic system there is, and are the key to national prosperity.
5. Which current Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court best reflects your judicial philosophy?
Justice Antonin Scalia
6. Which U.S. president elected to that office in 1960 or thereafter best reflects your political philosophy?
7. Which U.S. Supreme Court decision do you think has most impacted society? Please explain your answer.
McCulloch v. Maryland. Not to downplay the difficulty of the issue facing the country in the case, but this case effectively set the country on the path to the large federal bureaucracy it has become. The Supreme Court first recognized federal Congress's "implied powers" and then noted that the States may not impede valid constitutional exercises of power by the federal government. Recognizing "implied powers" gave Congress license and incentive to enact increasingly invasive laws to test the limits of their powers. Moreover, the Court shifted the balance of power away from the States to the federal government by holding federal law could trump state law. This was contrary to the way the Constitution was drafted with limited federal governmental powers and all other non-enumerated powers being left to the states. From this new view of the Constitution, it was a small step from a malleable Constitution to a living one.
8. Based on the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, please arrange the following entities, starting with the highest source of authority, and continue the list in descending order of authority, skipping any that do not apply: Academia, Congress, Constitution, God, Industry, Media, Professional Sports, Supreme Court, Voters.
God, Voters, Constitution, Congress, Supreme Court. These are persuasive on the public, but certainly not authority: Industry, Academia, Media, Professional Sports.
9. What in the nature of mankind caused America’s Founders to carefully define, separate, and limit powers within the Constitution?
Our inherent fallibility. I believe our Founders recognized that we are all born into sin and therefore imperfect. Only God could make a perfect system to govern men and women. So, to account for that inherent imperfection, our Founders created a system of checks and balances that sought to use our own self-interest to drive government while at the same time placing obstacles that should thwart our own worst impulses.
10. Please give an example of a judicial decision where strict constructionist policy was violated. Explain.
One of the best (and most obvious) examples of a decision where the United States Supreme Court violated a strict constructionist policy was Griswold v. Connecticut. In this case, the Court recognized a "right to marital privacy" in the First Amendment in order to strike down a law prohibiting the use of contraceptives. This new right was not found in the text of the First Amendment, but in the "penumbras" and "emanations" of other constitutional protections. Similar to the Court in McCulloch v. Maryland, the Court read language into the text of the Constitution in order to reach its decision instead of reading the Constitution itself.
11. What is the proper use of legislative history in interpreting statutory law?
Legislative history can be used as persuasive authority when a particular statute is ambiguous or would lead to absurd results. Where the statute is clear, there is no need to resort to legislative history, and using it to undermine the actual text encourages sloppy legislation.
12. What specific text in the Declaration of Independence provides the critical basis for individual rights and the form of government guaranteed in the United States Constitution?
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." These two sentences show that individual rights come from God and that people create government to secure those rights. The only legitimate government is one that gets its strength from the consent of the governed.
13. Briefly describe your spiritual beliefs and values.
Jesus Christ is real. He calls me to be in a personal relationship with him so that I might better live according to his will. He knows I am sinful and imperfect, but loves me unconditionally. He calls me to love others without judgment so that I might help them know Him better. At the darkest times in my life, He has called my name so that I would know He is always present. He is a merciful and loving God, and I will never be worthy of his sacrifice. It is only through his grace that I am saved.