I typically agree with much of what David Brooks has to say. However, I'm afraid that he was way off the mark with his article "How Covenants Make Us." Demographic diversity in the United States is a good thing. The problem has to do with the lack of integration and assimilation of demographically diverse communities.
The Constitution gives the Senate the power to advise and consent. That body is empowered to say no as well as yes. And the most important qualification for office is philosophical. Put simply: Does the nominee believe the Constitution means anything apart from the jurists' personal preferences? If not, then the Senate should reject the nomination.
For any one of these aspects of the life of Louis Brandeis -- lawyer, scholar, justice -- we would remember him today as a figure of insight, brilliance, creativity, and moral courage. The combination renders him an extraordinary figure in the practice of law, legal scholarship, judicial craftsmanship and jurisprudence, and civic activism on both a national and international scale.
We are at a crisis in our country whenever a trained adult with authorization to use deadly force deploys it on a 12 year old with impunity. Wherever the fault lies, the only way any hope in the police force or the governing process can be restored is for wholesale condemnation of the officer's actions.
As we look towards the very real possibility that the next President of the United States will have an opportunity to nominate several Supreme Court justices, it is critically important to focus attention on a judicial virtue that has been neglected of late: Grit, that is, firmness of mind in the face of adversity.
After five years of stall tactics and changing the rules to whatever suits him, Senator Ron Johnson long ago forfeited whatever deference he feels he is owed. The president has a list of names and he should act, selecting the nominee who will best protect the rights of everyday people in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
To say that the judiciary is duty-bound to say "what the law is" and should not simply rubber-stamp the actions of the other branches is not to say that the other branches have a duty to obey its decisions. But holding the contrary position would make the judiciary an inferior branch and risk creating an uncertain and dangerous state of affairs.