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The Constitution Is A Shield For Civil And Human Rights

Kay Coles James, President, The Heritage Foundation | 8/17/2018, 6 a.m.
“America was created to be an exception to the global norm that limited freedom, curtailed liberties, denied due process and ...

Whenever obstacles stood in the way— including segregation and other evil Jim Crow laws— it was the Constitution that cast them aside. Liberty? The Constitution grants it in its very first sentence. Slavery? It was abolished by the Constitution in its 13th Amendment. Citizenship? You can find that in the Constitution, too— it’s right there in the 14th Amendment. So is our right to vote, which is made clear for all to see in the Constitution’s 15th Amendment.

That’s why it’s absolutely crucial that Judge Kavanaugh— like all who do or may serve on the Supreme Court— is faithful to the Constitution.

Simply put, being true to the Constitution is the key to our democracy. It’s more important than any single issue, any political party, or any partisan interest. Indeed, there is nothing more important than upholding the document that established and secures our rights.

That’s why the Constitution grants judges the power to determine whether a law is constitutional— not the power to make or change it.

Good judges know this. They know they have to fulfill their awesome duty without ever overstepping it. Bad judges don’t. They inject their own preferences into the law, they pick favorite issues and sides, and they invent new reasons to rule the way they want.

Bad judges denied blacks equal rights in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857, I mentioned above. They banned interracial marriage in the 1883 case, Pace v. Alabama; and they institutionalized segregation with the “separate, but equal” doctrine in 1896 with Plessy v. Ferguson.

In each of those cases, bad judges put their own racist views ahead of the

Constitution’s protections. They were wrong— and that’s why, in each case, they were overruled by later Supreme Court justices who were faithful to the Constitution.

And it’s because Judge Kavanaugh has proven throughout his career to be 100 percent faithful to the Constitution that he has my total support. Not for his sake, but for ours.

Kay Coles James is the president of The Heritage Foundation. You can follow Kay on Twitter @KayColesJames.