My Favorite Amendment

Chris Bouneff

I'm not among those liberals worried about John Roberts. He's qualified and he's argued both sides of potential thorny cases that may come before the Supreme Court. This is just a gut feeling with no real evidence to back me up, but he's matured enough over the years that, once on the court, that he may become the next Sandra Day O'Connor.

Still, with all the crap being thrown around by the dorks (generally white males who find bow ties appealing) who call themselves constitutionalists that there is no right to privacy, or in fact no other rights than those enumerated in the Constitution, I've got some questions.

To those so-called purists, I point them to the exact words in the Constitution, to one of my favorite amendments that I hardly hear about, and ask: What the hell, then, does this language mean?

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

And I ask further: If the "people" referred to in the Second Amendment are individuals, as defined by conservatives, then why aren't the "people" in the Ninth Amendment we same individuals?

I read this beautiful amendment and think, "Damn straight I have a right to privacy." It's not absolute, but the government better have a compelling argument if it attempts to trump that right. And guess what? I have other rights that are still to be defined through the legal process. (Yes, that's right, the courts do have a legislative role. Hard to believe.)

So here's my salute to the unheralded Ninth Amendment, which gives me the right to tell the government to go screw itself. Hopefully, if he doesn't already, John Roberts will agree with me.

  • keyfur (unverified)

    good call on the 9th amendment! when i read your title i thought, "4th or 9th?" (for reasons in my past the 4th is my favorite, but the 9th is a close second.)

    while i am not totally opposed to judge robert's nomination, i'd like to see it fought out. i have fallen for the conservative roberts replacing the conservative rhenquist idea. the ideology of the court stays fairly stable in that instance. i am concerned about roberts' qualifications. he has only been a judge for two years. i keep meaning to look at the judicial backgrounds of other court members. maybe his experience is not as lacking as it seems on face value. but two years seems like an awful short time on the bench for someone to be a supreme court justice, let alone chief justice.

  • j.biddy (unverified)

    Your gut feeling? That is exactly the problem that we have with politics in America. You cannot go with your gut feeling. Would you decide who to vote for President based on your gut feeling? A lot of people tried that, and look at us five years later.

    Supreme Court Justices sit on that bench for life. For LIFE. This man has the power to extend Bush's domestic principles and policies for years to come, long after Bush has left office and you say your gut feeling says he's okay. No wonder Democrats are known for having no backbone.

  • Kent (unverified)

    Personally I just have a really hard time getting interested in this Kabuki Theater. This was all decided back in Novembe 2004. Bush is going to get his conservatives on the Supreme Court. Nothing the Democrats can do to prevent it. The only question is what their names and faces will be.

    As for Roberts. He certainly isn't the worst of the bunch. At least he seems intelligent. Personally I can't imagine Bush appointing anyone better. Just not going to happen.

    My own dissapointment with these hearings is all the focus on Roe. From my point of view, Roe is just chum for the social conservatives and a decoy issue for the real conservative agenda...the undermining of the Commerce Clause. I'd like to hear more about Robert's views on the regulatory powers of Congress and the executive branch, especially in the area of environmental protection.

  • individ (unverified)

    I am an anti-leftist libertarian, and a lover of the Second Amendment, and I want to stand up and say you are absolutely right about the 9th Amendment.

    The US Bill of Rights is NOT a laundry list of rights; and the Declaration of Independence tells us why - we possess unalienable rights. The Looney Europeans have published a long list of rights in their EU constitution - that is a methodology that is doomed to failure.

    Of course we have a right to privacy. Those conservatives who say we DON'T are as wacky as people who say I do not have a basic human right to have firearms for the protection of myself and my family. In fact, my right to do so is independent of the Second Amendment (SA). Note that the SA does not say that "the right is hereby granted"; it says that "The Right..cannot be infringed." Big difference. AND, that is, by the same logic, why the right to privacy does not have to be spelled out. Of course, for the brain dead, the 4th DOES say " The right of the people to be secure in their persons..."

    Peace, Individ

  • Aaron (unverified)

    I second that Kent and Individ.

    Roe vs Wade, the Voting Act and others; are "stare decisis". But I do have some pontential concerns of Judge Roberts.

    I like that he has stated that he is not going to state anything personal or professional about any potential cases that he might hear during this "Congressinal hearing process".

    Judge Roberts stated today--Congress can trump Supreme Court on eminent domain,--could shed some light on a new battle in Congress.

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    But Chris, isn't the implication of your analysis that any "right" that you create, invent, or simply claim falls into the category of "others"?

    I browsed around a bit and really can't find much support for your reading of the 9th amendment. I'm no Constitutional specialist, however. I poked around here , here , and here .

  • Sid (unverified)

    Doesn't W operate on "gut feeling" too?

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    Paul -- Thus, my comment: I have other rights that are still to be defined through the legal process. (Yes, that's right, the courts do have a legislative role. Hard to believe.)

    Also, you cite the site which appears to confirm my view.

    And for God's sake, people, lay off the gut feeling. I'm not W., nor am I someone who can vote to confirm Roberts. j. biddy, take a pill or something.

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    the supreme court has a long history of justices "turning". one on would have expected earl warren to have served as a liberal chief justice, but he did. few of the great modern liberals came to the court with those reputations. but honest, intelligent, thoughtful people are changed by the responsibilities of the robes. of course, the same history shows that those who come to the court with small minds, small hearts, and puny intellects (count among these on all 3 counts rehnquist, a pale shadow of those who held the seat of chief justice before him) only become entrenched in their ways.

    will roberts be a warren or a scalia? will he grow with the office and truly represent the entire nation as its chief justice, or will he, like his immediate predecessor, work diligently for a particular politic ideology? given his confirmation is all but given, i prefer to hope he will interpret the constitution more in the manner of marshall & jefferson than thomas and scalia.

  • Karl (unverified)

    Am I the only one worried about Roberts integrity? He was interviewing for the supreme court job with the white house at the same time he was deciding the Hamdi case. If his decision wasn't a quid pro quo, it certainly appeared like one. Why didn't he recuse himself?

  • jj Ark (unverified)

    I am not at all concerned with his integrity. If anything, I am impressed with his integrity, given the disctinct lack of integrity of those who nominated him.

    Bottom line is that BushCo won't be giving us a nominee we LIKE, so we might as well settle for someone who isn't horrible.

    Lastly, keep in mind that the role of the Senate in Supreme Court selections is one of "advice and consent". In other words, we Dems don't get to pick the nominee, but rather we get to gather information that the President may not have. Think Bork...think Clarence Thomas. Then we get to grant our consent. This isn't meant to rubberstamp every selection, but unless we find something heinous in his history, or he confesses to being controlled by aliens from the planet aruggula, the senate should offer consent.

    At least the guy says he believes in the validity of stare decisis. Works for me.

  • j.biddy (unverified)

    Did anyone actually listen to the answers he gave? When asked if he believed that there was a right to privacy found in the liberty clause of the fourteenth amendment, he said "I believe every justice on the court believes that, to some extent or the other."

    I think it's apparent that he's playing the same word games that the GOP has been playing for years. Dodging questions with half answers and allusions to other people's answers. Roberts is saying that everyone on the court believes in this liberty clause. So what if they all do? We see how Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia rule when it comes to this right to privacy. To which extent does Roberts believe in the right to privacy? He doesn't say! That's the point!

    Don't be distracted by the shiny lights and fireworks he puts in front of you while he takes away our rights. Just because he talks pretty doesn't mean he's the right guy for the job.

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    My favorite also! It's proof that originalist, or so call strict contructionist are nutjobs. The founding fathers knew they didn't have all the answers. They also realized it needed to be a living growing document.

    <h2>My question is with whom, where and when did this concept that appointees need not answer questions about law that they may later have to rule upon?</h2>

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