Fwd: RE: Conservative Court?
whoooo26505 at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 2 19:02:05 PST 2005
Ok, here is what I am confused about. The claim that started this is the claim that the Court is more conservative today because of party platform evidence. I agree that the term conservative arises out of an historical political context. But I do not agree that we are confined to the meaning of ideology by looking at historical documents like platforms when people are perfectly capable of using the terms intelligently without reference to these materials in the era in which we live. Here's my point: we don't need to use archeology. We're still here. We can rely upon ordinary language use.
I have an American Government text book right in front of me that defines liberalism. It's the same general idea that's been around for decades. You would not revise the definition in the event the Democratic party endorsed welfare reform. You would rather say that the Democratic party moved to the right on that issue. By the same token, if the Court begins to allow gay rights, our vocabulary would say it is moving to the left on that issue regardless of whether the republicans adopted the issue in their platform.
If what you said was true, we wouldn't be able to tell whether a Court decision was liberal until we first checked it with the Democratic party platform. I think we are confusing two concepts: (a) the policy priorities of parties for a given election year; and (b) the subject matter of American political ideology.
Cornell Clayton <cornell at mail.wsu.edu> wrote:
Forwarding this from Mitch Pickerill:
5. I don't believe Cornell suggested the term conservative can't be used, only that the meaning of such a label changes over time. Moreover, the larger point is that it is important to understand how values on the Court is how they are related to the values and preferences in the larger political universe, which clearly change over time. thus, the word conservative doesn't have any inherent meaning in the context of judicial decision-making - only meaning we attach to it based on how we understand it in reference to politics during a discrete historical period.
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