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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 7, 2009 14 Iyar 5769

‘Empathy’ versus law, Part IV

By Thomas Sowell


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | While President Barack Obama has, in one sense, tipped his hand by saying that he wants judges with "empathy" for certain groups, he has in a more fundamental sense concealed the real goal — getting judges who will ratify an ever-expanding scope of the power of the federal government and an ever-declining restraint by the Constitution of the United States.


This is consistent with everything else that Obama has done in office and is consistent with his decades-long track record of alliances with people who reject the fundamentals of American society.


Judicial expansion of federal power is not really new, even if the audacity with which that goal is being pursued may be unique. For more than a century, believers in bigger government have also been believers in having judges "interpret" the restraints of the Constitution out of existence.


They called this "a living Constitution." But it has in fact been a dying Constitution, as its restraining provisions have been interpreted to mean less and less, so that the federal government can do more and more.


For example, the Constitution allows private property to be taken for "public use"— perhaps building a reservoir or a highway — if "just compensation" was paid. But that power was expanded by the Supreme Court in 2005 when it "interpreted" this to mean that private property could be taken for a "public purpose," which could include almost anything for which politicians could come up with the right rhetoric.


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As for "just compensation," that is often about as just as "separate but equal" was equal. As for "empathy" for the less fortunate, it is precisely lower income and minority neighborhoods that are disproportionately bulldozed to make way for upscale shopping and entertainment centers that will bring in more taxes for politicians to spend to get themselves re-elected.


This process of "interpreting" the Constitution (or legislation) to mean pretty much whatever you want it to mean, no matter how plainly the words say something else, has been called judicial activism. But, as a result of widespread objections to this, that problem has been solved by redefining "judicial activism" to mean something different.


By the new definition, a judge who declares legislation that exceeds the authority of the legislature unconstitutional is called a "judicial activist."


The verbal virtuosity is breathtaking. With just a new meaning to an old phrase, reality is turned upside down. Those who oppose letting government actions exceed the bounds of the Constitution— justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas— are now called "judicial activists." It is a verbal coup.


Not only politicians like Senator Patrick Leahy, but also law professors like Cass Sunstein and many in the media, measure how much of a judicial activist a judge is by how many laws that judge has declared unconstitutional. Professor Sunstein, incidentally, is among those being mentioned as a possible nominee for a post on the Supreme Court.


When the Supreme Court in 1995 declared that carrying a gun near a school was not "interstate commerce," there was consternation and outrage in the liberal press because previous decisions of the Supreme Court in years past had allowed Congress to legislate on virtually anything it wanted to by saying that it was exercising its authority to regulate interstate commerce.


When the Supreme Court decided by a narrow 5 to 4 vote that carrying a gun near a school was not interstate commerce, it was saying something that most people would consider too obvious for words. But it was considered outrageous that the Supreme Court recognized the obvious and refused to rubberstamp the sophistry that allowed Congress to pass laws dealing with things that the Constitution never authorized it to deal with.


Incidentally, carrying a gun near a school was something that states had the authority to deal with, and the great majority of states had already banned it.


What is at stake in Supreme Court nominations is the power of the federal government. "Empathy" is just camouflage, a soothing word for those who do not look beyond nice-sounding rhetoric.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on JWR contributor Thomas Sowell's column by clicking here.

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