10.01.2008 0

Step Down, Mr. Justice Now!

  • On: 10/14/2008 16:20:53
  • In: 2nd Amendment
  • By Carter Clews
    Executive Editor

    Justice John Paul Stevens, rapidly failing physically and mentally, needs to do the honorable thing and step down from the Supreme Court. Simply put, he has become an embarrassment to himself and a danger to the country.

    And, to quote, Cromwell, “It is not fit that he should sit there any longer. He should now give way to better men” (women, children, or sharp-eyed canines, as the case may be).

    Lest anyone wonder whether such a decisive call for so definitive an action is justifiable, consider the following excerpt from Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in Heller v. D.C. It concerns Justice Stevens’ convoluted—and clearly confused—scribblings in his dissenting opinion, and it is as revealing as it is reviling:

    “Giving ‘bear Arms’ its idiomatic meaning would cause the protected right to consist of the right to be a soldier or to wage war—an absurdity that no commentator has ever endorsed. See L. Levy, Origins of the Bill of Rights 135 (1999). Worse still, the phrase ‘keep and bear Arms’ would be incoherent. The word ‘Arms’ would have two different meanings at once: ‘weapons’ (as the object of ‘keep’) and (as the object of ‘bear’) one-half of an idiom. It would be rather like saying ‘He filled and kicked the bucket’ to mean ‘He filled the bucket and died.’ Grotesque.”

    Now, normally, Supreme Court justices treat each other with kid gloves—so much so that one often wonders if the nine of them spend their off hours reciting the Serenity Prayer and popping valium. But, in this case, Mr. Scalia was clearly so off put by the octogenarian Stevens’ senile ramblings that he could not spare the rod—even if it meant spoiling Mr. Stevens’ second childhood.

    And so, we saw the one-word sentence—“Grotesque”—applied very likely for the first time ever by one august justice to the reasoning and writings of another. Which is why this “runner who renown outran” should now give way to better men.

    Now, please understand: this call for Mr. Stevens’ balding scalp has little or nothing to do with his wrongful decision in Heller. It has everything to do with his frightful decision-making capacity. It is not so much that he reasoned wrongly; it is that he wrongly reasoned—if at all.

    Those of us who have disagreed almost uniformly with Mr. Stevens for decades always had a distinct feeling that, quite likely, he couldn’t read (at least not the Constitution). But, now that we know that neither can he write … well, that’s a problem. The fact is, he’s senile. And that’s not one to be taken lightly.

    After all, if you can no longer trust a man with the keys to the car, should you really continue trusting him with the keys to the kingdom?

    Unkind, you say? Perhaps, but certainly not unfair.

    Consider, if you will, the prevalence rate of dementia among the elderly:

                75-79 — 5.6%
                80-84 — 11.1%
                85+ — 23.6%

    Mr. Stevens is 88 years old. His latest meanderings have been described by his own learned colleague as “Grotesque.” And we are to refrain from asking this befogged and befuddled elderly icon of the Hard Left to give us all a break and grab himself a cab just because liberals like the old coot? Hardly.

    Let me put this in terms that the crotchety old gentleman himself—whose first auto ride was in a rumble seat—might well understand: “Sorry, ya old Palooka, but you’re just no longer the bees knees. In fact, you’re scribing like you’re spifflicated. So, it’s time to pack up the flivvers and flappers in your old kit bag and 23-skiddoo.”

    Lest anyone think I’m being too cruel, allow me to share a personal anecdote with you …

    When Dad died, after 53 wonderful years in the Methodist ministry, I was privileged to be given the well-worn Bibles he had carried into the pulpit over the decades. I remembered them well, and as I was glancing through the last two, I saw that on the flyleaf of each, he had written a brief, single-line observation.

    On the first was written in his own hand: “70 is old.”

    And on the second was written: “80 is really old!”

    Yes, 80 is really old. Justice John Paul Stevens should realize that now and step aside in an honorable and dignified manner. To do otherwise would, indeed, continue to be “grotesque.”

    And if Mr. Stevens won’t leave of his own accord?

    In that case, the Congress of the United States should re-introduce the aged jurist to Article II, Section 4 of a document with which he now shows only the vaguest familiarity. It’s called the U.S Constitution. And as the High Court showed in the Heller decision, ours is still as strong as Mr. Stevens’ is weak.


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