Judge Richard A. Posner, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 and serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, has published an op-ed at Slate declaring that the U.S. Constitution is a waste of time.
And on another note about academia and practical law, I see absolutely no value to a judge of spending decades, years, months, weeks, day, hours, minutes, or seconds studying the Constitution, the history of its enactment, its amendments, and its implementation (across the centuries—well, just a little more than two centuries, and of course less for many of the amendments). Eighteenth-century guys, however smart, could not foresee the culture, technology, etc., of the 21st century. Which means that the original Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the post–Civil War amendments (including the 14th), do not speak to today. David Strauss is right: The Supreme Court treats the Constitution like it is authorizing the court to create a common law of constitutional law, based on current concerns, not what those 18th-century guys were worrying about.
In short, let’s not let the dead bury the living.
Presumably, when Posner took office, he had to take an oath to defend the Constitution:
I … do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as … under the Constitution and laws of the United States. So help me God.
Liberal jurists are known for their view that the Constitution is a “living document,” i.e. subject to re-interpretation by judges as time and circumstance dictate (and uniformly in a socially liberal, statist direction).
It took a Republican judge to declare it “dead.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, will be published by Regnery on July 25 and is available for pre-order through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.