Monday, December 04, 2006

Turnabout not fair play, rules Justice

Steven Breyer on Fox News Sunday says 'nevermind' to Chris Wallace. The interview opens with:

WALLACE: Let's start with the title of your book, "Active Liberty." I'm sure that there are some conservatives out there who break out in hives when they hear a judge talking about activism. They get the idea you think it's OK to read all sorts of things into the Constitution so you get the results you want.

BREYER: I think the best description in one sentence of that title, "Active Liberty," is that the point of the book is we don't need activist judges; we do need activist citizens. And it's about not how judges should be activists. To the contrary, it's about how every citizen should participate in government.

But shortly later Breyer decides that not every citizen should participate in every decision:

WALLACE: You talk a lot in the book about the fact that the Constitution promotes active liberty and, as you put it in the answer to my first question, encouraging democratic participation, encouraging democratic conversation.

From that point of view, isn't one of the reasons that abortion has remained such a hot-button issue in this country because the Supreme Court took it out of the political process, took it away from the legislatures when it was being decided as part of that democratic conversation in 1973?

BREYER: Well, I purposely chose my examples in this book to illustrate a theme. And I didn't choose abortion as one of them. Because more important to me in writing a book -- I mean, I'll decide abortion cases when they come up, but I know perfectly well that anything I say on that subject is enormously volatile. And so, I don't want to talk about that subject, particularly in a public forum that isn't the court.

WALLACE: Even the question as to whether or not...

BREYER: No, not any question to do with abortion.

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