PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Robert George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, discussed the philosophy of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and assessed what type of jurist should replace him.
George, during an interview with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, held Scalia up as example of an originalist who understood the limits placed on the court.
“His views were very close to those of Clarence Thomas. Both of them are originalists. They believe that the Constitution should be interpreted to give effect to the understanding of constitutional principles that was held by those who, by ratifying those provisions, made them part of the fundamental law of the land. That provided for a disciplined constitutional interpretation. It also enabled judges to respect the limits of their own authority under the Constitution and not legislate from the bench, not substitute their own judgments for the judgments of the people’s elected representatives. Scalia, like Thomas, believed that to do otherwise was simply to violate Lincoln’s great principle of government by the people.”
He said he doubts that Scalia would have approved of the type of nominee President Obama is expected to put forward to fill his vacancy.
“He would say that the President should appoint a true constitutionalist. A judge who would respect the limits of his authority under the Constitution, who would not legislate from the bench, who would give effect to the original understanding of constitutional provisions, he would certainly say that. I think, as a realist, he would say we’re very unlikely to get such a nominee from President Obama because President Obama doesn’t believe in those principles. He’s got a completely different view of the Constitution. I’m sure it’s sincerely held, but it’s diametrically opposed Scalia’s view. And, if the President does not send up to the Senate a true constitutionalist, the Senate should reject that person.”
George did state that he thinks a number of the Republican candidates for President would choose a nominee in the same vein of Justice Scalia.
“Having taught Ted Cruz when he was a student at Princeton in constitutional law and having supervised his thesis. He’s a man who knows what the Constitution says, what it means. He’s, himself, a constitutionalist. I’m sure he would make a very good appointment. Marco Rubio sounds to me like someone who understands the Constitution and understands the kind of jurist we need. I suspect that Governor Bush would be the same. I know Ben Carson personally. I know he’s got great devotion to the Constitution. I’m not singling anybody out here, but there are a number of candidates on the Republican side that I would have some confidence in. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same on the Democratic side. They have a very different view of the Constitution.”