Blogs > Liberty and Power > CLARK, JUDGES, AND PRECEDENT

Jan 8, 2004 2:16 pm


I saw this piece from the Manchester Union-Leader on Wes Clark and couldn't help but notice this comment:

The retired four-star general said he will discern a prospective judge's position on abortion not with a litmus test, but by reading his previous decisions to ensure that the judge has never upset existing judicial precedent.

"I don't believe people whose ideological agenda is to burn the law or remake the law or reshape it should be appointed whether they are from either side,"; he said during an interview with editors and a reporter.

"I just want good, solid people with judicial temperament who respect the process of law that we have in America."

Does he really mean, abortion aside, that he'll only appoint people who never upset precedent? Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't a key part of a judge's job to discern whether new circumstance produce good reasons for new law? After all, precedents came from somewhere. Doesn't respecting"the process of law" include recognizing that sometimes precedent is wrong? Too bad the reporter didn't ask him if his view suggests that the judges who comprised the majority in Lawrence v. Texas should be removed from the bench! Seems to me this view of judges is itself a dangerous precedent.

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