I wrote on the topic of judges before. My bias towards constitutional interpretation by justices is for them to be strict. The constitution was written by very wise men who understood what would make a strong, democratic republic nation. They set up a system of checks and balances where the legislative branch made the laws, the executive branch endorsed or vetoed the laws, and the judicial branch made sure the laws were constitutional. For many years, the judicial branch always seemed to be the weakest of the three. Now, some within the judicial have turned it into almost a dictatorship. Take same-sex "marriage" as an example. Laws (passed by a significant majority of the people) prohibiting marriage from being redefined as applying to the relationship between two same-sex individuals, were overturned by justices who believed such laws were unconstitutional according to state constitutions. In each of the three states that allow same-sex "marriage", the laws were overturned on faulty logic and very liberal interpretations of state constitutions (I'm being generous to state that the judges were actually doing any sort of interpretation based on the state constitutions).
This new breed of judges are actively legislating, forcing states to redefine the word "marriage" to include same-sex couples. This now means that in order to overturn these unconstitutional rulings, state constitutions have to be amended by the people. It's like the judges are stealing from the people then requiring them to buy the goods back from them at grossly inflated prices. When some of the amendments fail to pass, same-sex "marriage" advocates tout that as a great victory for them - "See! Most people support what we do."
This breed of activist judge has usurped the power of the Constitution and given themselves the authority to create laws. Now they are in a position where redress against them is difficult because they hold most of the cards in the deck. They are unabashedly strangling our government - all in the name of tolerance and "fairness". They look down on the people of this country and feel that they have to make decisions for us because we do not know any better. Of course, the majority of judges in our country are honorable and good people. The problem is that we have a few in certain key positions who are abusing their power and there is little we can do about it, short of amending constitutions.
For this reason, I can not vote for Obama. In the past he's already made it clear that he wants judges selected on the basis of who can feel the pain of minority groups (it's an admirable quality but not something that should be the defining characteristic of judges) rather than who will be able to judge according to the law. Even though Obama states he is opposed to same-sex "marriages" he would do nothing to stop them. He also would appoint new Supreme Court justices and other lower-level judges who very loosely interpret the Constitution (especially since we will likely have a fairly strong Democratic majority in Congress). We need a president who will appoint strict Constitutionalists. We as citizens need to exercise our right to vote and vote in people who are willing to uphold the Constitution with their actions and their lives. We need elected representatives and officials who can provide strong moral leadership and who can act with integrity and honesty. We need representatives and officials who will stand up for traditional values - for the sanctity marriage, for family, for freedom of and not from religion, and for fiscal responsibility. We need leaders who will return America to its place as a standard on a hill and a candle on a candlestick so that it might be a light for all nations.
To quote Barry Goldwater: "We can be freedom's missionaries in a doubting world. But...first we must renew freedom's mission in our own hearts and in our own homes.... Those who seek to live your lives for you, to take your liberties in return for relieving you of yours, those who elevate the state and downgrade the citizen must see ultimately a world in which earthly power can be substituted for Divine Will, and this Nation was founded upon the rejection of that notion and upon the acceptance of God as the author of freedom.... It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression -- and this is hogwash." (Source).
We need freedom from tyranny abroad and at home. The judges who taken upon themselves legislative roles are acting as tyrants and we must not stand for it. We as Americans never have for any great length of time. It is time to stand up and say, "Enough! We'll have no more forcing the will and morals of a small minority on the will of the majority." We must reject activist judges and those who would appoint them; we must elect those who will strive for a stronger democracy and not a stronger aristocracy.
On July 17, 2007 Obama, speaking at a Planned Parenthood conference, revealed his views on how he would select Supreme Court Justices: "We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it's like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old. And that's the criteria by which I'm going to be selecting my judges." (Source). [Update - Here are more of Obama's comments]. While empathy is a wonderful quality - one of the greatest qualities a person can have - that's his criterion for selecting a judge? What ever happened to selecting people who will judge according to the law?
Alan Paton, a great South African writer, wrote of the responsibilities of judges: "Because the land is a land of fear [I'd say this applies to the U.S.], a Judge must be without fear, so that justice may done according to the Law; therefore a Judge must be incorruptible. The Judge does not make the Law. It is the People that make the Law. Therefore if a Law is unjust, and if the Judge judges according to the Law, that is justice, even if it is not just. It is the duty of a Judge to do justice, but it is only the People that can be just. Therefore if justice be not just, that is not to be laid at the door of the Judge, but at the door of the People."
Judges need to judge according to the law, citizens make the laws (or at least elect those who do). They need to be honest and incorruptible people. Again, while empathy is a desired quality, judges need to judge according to the law and Constitution and those qualities should take precedence over empathy. Besides, Obama said he just wants judges who have empathy for "young teenage mom[s]...[the] poor, African-American, gay, disabled, or old people." What about Hispanics, non-poor, Caucasians, non-disabled, average, unintelligent, intelligent, religious, non-religious, or any other group of people? I think Obama's criterion for selecting judges is severely lacking.