To the editors:
In just two brief sentences, Michael Miner [Hot Type, September 11] encapsulates the discussion revolving around the confirmation of Judge Bork to the Supreme Court. He refers to those of us who believe in the “amplitude” of our Constitution and to Bork’s writings which view it as a “niggardly” document.
We’re confident Miner would agree with former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg who wrote, “The Constitution is a state document of inspiration . . . our legend and hope, the union of our minds and spirit . . . our lodestar in the quest for liberty and equality. The grand design is frustrated by reading it literally as a code or statute.”
And we look to the Reader for an article with “amplitude” as befits this discussion, not just a “niggardly” few paragraphs, so your readers may feel enjoined to enter the fray.
The most fundamental beauty of the Constitution is that it states our shared basic values and provides a framework assuring us that we would be governed by a living document that could simultaneously remind us of our basic values and allow us modern interpretations. Chief Justice John Marshall spoke of “a Constitution intended to endure for ages to come, and consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs.” Marshall’s constitutional philosophy is the evolutionary concept that has been accepted, with few exceptions, by the federal judiciary, present and past scholars, legal and lay.
Thus, we should celebrate the values we share–and celebrate a Constitution that through the interpretive process will protect us into the future. Judge Bork’s constitutional jurisprudential theory definitely points to an erosion of that great tradition.